Friday, February 10, 2012

California Death Index, 1905 to 1939 on FamilySearch! has added the 1905 to 1939 California Death Records index to its historical collections as a "Browse Only" collection.  This is very good news for California researchers, whose choices for this information previously were limited to going to the FamilySearch Center to view microfilm, or had to subscribe to the VitalSearch databases.

Here is the California Death Index, 1905-1939 collection screen:

The collection wiki page description says:

"The collection consists of digital images of the death index located at the Office of the State Register, Sacramento, and the Butte County Courthouse, Oroville. The index is arranged alphabetically by the name of the deceased.

"The key genealogical facts the California Death Index record may include:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Initials of the spouse
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Date of death
  • Place of death or county of death
  • Place of Birth
  • Father's Place of Birth
  • Mother's Place of Birth
  • Occupation
  • Cause of Death
  • Father's Name
  • Mother's Maiden Name"
Clicking on the "Browse through 5,692 images" link leads to:

The page above indicates that there are two main sections for this database:

*  1905-1929
*  1930-1939

I chose the 1930-1939 and saw:

There are three surname ranges to this part of the Index:

*  Aubel, Arnold-Hetterman, John
*  Heslop, Nellie-Rzechtalski, Leon
*  Sa, Joseph-Z

I decided to search for "Seaver" entries, so I clicked on the Sa, Joseph-Z link:

The image above shows the first page of the FHL microfilm from which the images were obtained.

The death index is alphabetical by last name, first name.

From here, the user has to do a guess-and-guess again iteration routine to get to the page they want.  I found (eventually) the "Seaver" listings on Image #54:

The images in this database are of two pages in the death index, and there are two columns on each page.

The most important column is the County column, which is listed with a county code.  The County coe list is at

Thank you, FamilySearch!  This will make my research much easier to perform.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012.

Updated:  8 p.m. to add the county code.  Thanks, Leah!


Leah said...

Just FYI, even when zoomed in all the way, the record layout is difficult to read. I used this:

to decipher the different fields. CA County Codes are listed here:

Anonymous said...

I agree with Leah; even when you zoom in all the way, you can barely read the headings of the columns. I can just imagine how hard it will be for people to index these records through FSI.

CR said...

Can anyone tell me if the California Death Index will tell me where my grandmother is buried?? Have the Death index info for her but don't know how to find where she is. Find-A-Grave, etc, has turned up nothing... Is there another index in California that lists where people are buried? Or mortuary records? It makes me crazy that she has disappeared off the face of the earth....