Archive for the ‘Public Death Records’ Category

Birth and death certificates public record?

October 25th, 2011 1 comment

I have heard that birth and death certificates are public record yet its so darn hard to find them and when ya do you have to pay to see them. I dont want a copy sent to me i just want to see them. My boyfriend was in jail and his mother commited suicide. We have nol idea where she is buried or even the day she died. It must be very hard on him not knowing where his mothers body was laid to rest. I want to ask him about it but i know he is hurt over the whole thing. So does anyone know where i can find public records on a persons death online?

You must write in your request to the local state requesting birth and death certificates.

a family member of hers might be able to access this certificate but you’re not authorized.

government owned websites contain instructions on how to access these records. learn more:

Are death records public or are they private?

August 1st, 2011 3 comments

We got a call that my friend was dead. The family wouldn’t say how or why. We called the courthouse and they said only family is privy to that information. It has been a couple years and I’d like to dig for the information. I always thought circumstances of death are public record…but so far, since we are not provable family, we are unable to get information.

It amazes me how many celebrities die from drug overdoses, murder, auto-erotic-asphyxiation (INXS, David Carradine), DUI’s and other car crashes. We get to hear all the gory details when I’m sure the families would rather the information stay private. I’m not sure why I don’t have the same power as the media being a citizen of the USA.

If anyone has any tips on how I can get this information, please let me know.
I live in CA now but it happened in New York City where I used to live.

They are public information and you need to contact the county the friend died in to receive a copy of the death certificate.

BUT…as you said, families of the celebrities would like to have that information stay private. Please give the same respect to you friends family, whether you like them or not. Although it is public record, it it is still a private matter.

Where can I search for death records for FREE?

July 10th, 2011 6 comments

I have gone to several different sites but they all end up asking for money. I thought death records were public records and anyone should be able to search for a loved one but I’m hitting dead ends everywhere.

I put some links below. I wanted to deal with a common misconception first.

> I thought death records were public records

They are, and if you send the name and death date to the appropriate county courthouse, plus a check, which may be as little as $5 or as much as $35, you can get a copy. There isn’t any law that says a state or county has to spend tax money on a web site to make death records available for free.

By contrast, some records are NOT public; sealed adoptions records, and agreements hashed out between two parties in a civil lawsuit, for instance. You cannot get them no matter how much you pay.


These are all free. Some have ads at the top, which sometimes ask for a name and take you to a pay site, so be careful to distinguish between the advertisement and the input form. An index will have name, date and maybe something else; death records – 500 KB jpg’s of death certificates – are rare. Some of these say "Records" – I copied the page title – but are really indexes.

Social Security Death Index
1960ish – now; almost 90 million entries in November 2010.

53 million entries in November 2010, mostly the USA. Entries range; they may have one or more of:
Exact birth and death dates
A short biography/obituary
Links to the person’s parents’ graves and/or and children’s graves
Picture(s) of the person
The best ones have all of the above; the worst ones have just a name and year of death; "J. Smith, b. ????, d. 1912".

Arizona genealogy
Births 1855 – 1934; deaths 1844 – 1959. Real records, not an index. Number of entries not given.

California Death index
9,366,786 entries from 1940 – 1997

Kentucky Death Records
(Y!A only allows 10 links per answer, so I cheated. Change the "/ca/" in the URL for the California Death index to "/ky/" to get Kentucky.)
2,921,383 entries from 1911 – 2000

Maine Death Records
Change the "/ca/" in the URL for the California Death index to "/me/" to get Maine.)
401,960 entries from 1960 – 1997

Missouri Digital Archives
Real records; Year range 1910 – "50 years ago", so the upper limit changes by one every year. Number of entries not stated, but it too would grow over time. Not all counties are here.

Texas Death Records
Change the "/ca/" in the URL for the California Death index to "/tx".)
3,963,456 entries from 1964 – 1998

West Virginia Birth, Death and Marriage records
Real records; number of entries not stated. Years vary by county. Here are the first five counties, to give you a feel for it:

Barbour: 1853 – 1859, 1861 – 1969
Berkeley: 1871, 1875 – 1906, 1917 – 1970
Boone: 1865 – 1873, 1877 – 1883, 1885 – 1968
Braxton: 1853 – 1861, 1865, 1867 – 1969
Brooke: 1853 – 1860, 1862, 1865, 1867 – 1868, 1874 – 1880, 1885 – 1970

Human Rights in Nigeria: the Buhari/idiagbon and Abacha Situations Compared and Contrasted

April 18th, 2011 No comments

Wikipedia encyclopedia refers to human rights as “basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled.” This exists in the areas of civil and political rights and particularly describes the right to life and liberty, freedom of expression, and equality before the law, social, cultural and economic rights includes the rights to participate in culture, the right to food, the right to work and the right to education. This is expressly summed up by Article 1 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR as:

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

Although this article will not delve into the history of Human rights which covers thousands of years and mainly drawn from almost every department of life such as culture, politics, religion and economy etc, it will merely look into a certain period of military rule in Nigeria when Buhari/Idiagbon and the Late General Abacha were in power as the rulers of Nigeria. It will seek to some extent objectively compare and contrast these two regimes for the purpose of establishing human rights situation in Nigeria within the period under study.

However, it is very germane to add here that so many ancient documents which can be recognized as concepts of human rights have existed globally, but credit should be given the United Nations Organization for the shaping of International Human rights Law as we have it today.

Human rights is agreed to be violated when a state or non-state actor within the International Community breaches any part of the United Nations Human rights treaty. This is hard to hard as such state or non-state actor may constantly risk condemnation by vehemently denying the act, and consequently covering up these acts of abuses with several sets of further acts which may prove difficult to demonstrate, particularly in several parts of the African continent. 

General Mohammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon (now deceased) came to power on Saturday December 31, 1983 although the regime of this duo was too short to appraise but the regime reigned in what many people of Nigeria could at best describe as dictatorial, even the successor regime of this regime led by General Ibrahim Babangida described the regime thus:

“He was too rigid and uncompromising in his attitude to issues of national significance”.

No sooner did Buhari/Idiagbon ceased government than the infamous Decree Number Four (DN4) of 1984 was promulgated by the duo; Buhari/Idiagbon became famous for coming down heavily against the Nigerian press, making the report of truth a very serious offence in the country, not many will for get the terrible situation of Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor of the Guardian who were imprisoned for making a ca report on the Government.  The Buhari/Idiagbon regime would also executed Bernard Ogedengbe, Bartholomew Owoh and Lawal Ojulope for an offence committed by them as alleged by the regime after a national debate in spite of public pleas, the execution of these gentlemen were made possible by a retroactive decree courtesy of Buhari/Idiagbon regime.

Buhari and his Deputy would again promulgate another Decree called Decree Number two (DN2) of 1984 which made it possible for Tunde Idiagbon to detain anybody whether such person is a citizen of the country or foreigner, this decree stripped the court of law of the powers to depend the reason such person is being detained. In essence, the decree did not recognize the significance of the judiciary but was merely interested in achieving its aims of dictatorial tendencies. In what would later follow, the world became amused to hear the verdicts of 125 years imprisonments handed down to the regime suspects.

Buhari was also noted to have utilized excessive force in handling drug peddlers caught, as he issued death penalties to them in what political commentators believed should not have attracted death sentences, still death was the fate of several of these suspects in laws that resembled that of Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations.

The tactics of the Buhari/Idiagbon regime became too harsh for the survival of the people, with arbitrary creation of decrees to lead the regime but promulgated to harshly lure the Nigerian public into playing into the waiting ready-made hand of the regime. Victims who became preys of these draconian decrees were mostly detained and made to remain inside prisons for as many years as Buhari and Idiagbon pleased.

There are those have argued in favour of this regime, in that according them the regime came up with the famous War Against Indiscipline which re-awakened Nigerians to the social norms of the society and helped to maintain societal order and respect for the Nigerian society as a whole. But this is outside the human rights records of the time.

The regime of General Sani Abacha who lived from 20 September 1943-8 June 1998 and the de facto military leader of Nigeria between 1993 and 1998) suffered stiff opposition internally and externally because Pro-democracy activists made the regime unpopular. His regime was accused of gross human rights abuses both home and abroad. The heights of his human rights abuses was the arrest and detention of Chief Moshhod Kolawole Olawale Abiola, the man who won the 1993 Presidential election in the country, Abiola would later die in detention in a circumstance yet unclear till this day though this was not in the days of Abacha but his mere detention caused a global uproar as the appeals of several notable people from around the world to the Military leader to free Abiola was not heeded by him.

But the peak of the gross abuse of human rights in the country was ushered by the arrest, detention and hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa, an activist by the regime in what was globally condemned.

Some the activities that characterized his regime as a tool for the gross violations of human rights in the country were the trial in absentia of Prof. Wole Soyinka, charged for treason, and the arrest and detention of Olusegun Obasanjo also jailed for treason. Abacha was also notable for banning political parties, in what people viewed as a means of likely transformation of himself to the life president of the country, and the personal control of the press. Several human rights activists who opposed his policies whether from the military or civil society were either detained without trial or jailed. Many other persons, chiefly members of the press were also jailed. Allegations of coups and counter coups reined in this regime too. The regime abruptly ended when General Sani Abacha reportedly died of heart attack in June 1998 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.   

Having narrated the background of certain of the human rights violations of two military regimes Nigeria during the military era of the nation, this article will go further in comparing and contrasting the regimes in terms of human rights violations.

In the first place, both regimes were not democratically welcomed by Nigerians as power was ceased through fraudulent means, Buhari/Iidiagbon overthrew a democratically elected government of shehu Shagari , while Abacha ceased power from an interim government led Ernest Shonekan. It is also a known fact that Buhari, Idiagbon and Abacha all participated in the coup that overthrew the government of Shehu Shagari. Abacha and Babangida would further bring down the government of Buhari/Abacha.  

While the regime of Buhari/Idiagbon reigned for too short a period that any political analyst could valuably access, one can still point out that certain violations of human rights charter were committed that resembled the Abacha regime. One can not forget the incessant arrest and detentions of pressmen many of whom were jailed after trials too unconvincing to justify their offences. Buhari/Idiagbon shut down some media houses which was also a major feature of Abacha, in trying to personally control information and limit it to the whims and caprices of the regimes. Innocent pressmen who heard the names of Buhari/Idiagbon and Abacha fled for their dare lives and often abandoned their cameras and materials.

The two regimes also shared in the executions of persons globally thought innocent, especially after unconvincing trials, Buhari/Idiagbon executed Bernard Ogedengbe Bartholomew Owoh and Lawal Ojulope in yet a controversial circumstance, while Abacha executed Ken Saro Wiwa and his kinsmen, yet in another controversial circumstances. General sani Abacha operated with many of the draconian decrees set up by Buhari/Idiagbon administration, which both regimes used to try to gag the press and haul many innocent people into prisons.

Both regimes were tough on Nigerians, operating with draconian laws without recourse to the rule of law and legalities. This affected Nigerians negatively and brought sufferings to the people without correcting the anomalies both regimes claimed brought them to power. Again, it would seem that none of these two regimes announced a set date for the return of power to a democratically elected government.

 Both regimes continuously received harsh criticism from the civil populace, and in fact, however, while the overthrow of Buhari/Idiagbon was very surprising to the people, many Nigerians may have rejoiced over the exit of Abacha which they attributed to divine intervention, believing it to be welcome development.

Again, the attitude of Buhari in present time, has been described as a desperate one as he continues to express absolute ambition to once again lead the people of Nigeria, the extent he has pursued this to the Supreme Court level amidst the lack of interest attitude of his party has been used as indices to conclude that Buhari is power thirsty and may not have concluded his plans within himselve as the Head of State of the country to hand over power to any democratically elected government, a date he never mentioned until he was overthrown by Babangida. Abacha also never expressed any desire to hand over to civilians; in essence, both regimes had no plans for transiting to civil rule. Buhari/Idiagbon and Abacha were no democrats.

I have so far tried in some way to compare the regimes and shall now dwell on the area differences between the two regimes, Buhari/Idiagbon we may conclude was a not self-centered one, while that of Abacha was considered selfish with a lot of looting, accountability was not considered a responsibility to the people of Nigeria by Abacha while Buhari/Idiagbon felt they owe the nation regular accountability and transparency.

The major point of departure of these regimes was a more vocal international condemnation of Gen. Abacha which would further lead to the suspension of the country from Commonwealth in November 1995, when the regime hanged Ken Saro Wiwa and nine other persons believed to be enemies of the military regime in the country. This was with further condition “That if no demonstrable progress was made towards the fulfilment of these conditions (democratisation and respect for human rights/release of political prisoners) within a time frame (of two years), Nigeria would be expelled from the association.”

As we later observed Abacha bluffed this condition and the nation was made a pariah State, and in fact a leper-State not deemed fit for relations by other good nations of the world, Abiola would soon die in Jail still die in detention in a controversial State, it was partly as a result of this that the country failed to make it to a particular nations cup in South-Africa.

With the reported recovery of huge sums by the Obasanjo regime from Overseas which has implicated the deceased general and his family in a wholesale looting of Nigeria’s coffers and some $3 or $4 billion USD in foreign assets have been traced to Abacha, his family and their representatives, $2.1 billion of which the Nigerian government tentatively came to an agreement with the Abacha family to return, the Abacha is regarded as highly corrupt, another major departure from the Buhari/Idiagbon regime.

However, we conclude this article by stating that in spite of the differences highlighted here no military government is ever considered good by the people, and as they say, the worst civilian government is better than the best military government.

Emeka Esogbue

Public Records in Boston? Where can I access them?

April 16th, 2011 3 comments

I am looking for a public records database in Boston, Massachusetts ?I am looking for Death, Birth and Military records going back 40 years? are there any services that can provide this for me?

Here is where you need to go, as some records will always be outside of the Boston Jurisdiction –

Wills and Death Benefits is it Public Record.?

April 14th, 2011 3 comments

My Granddad past away in 1973, he worked for the Rail Road. How could I find out where his death benefit went to whom it may of been given. Also if there was a will at time of death. Would this all be public Record.

Wills are public records. Death benefits and beneficiaries of life insurance or annuities, are not.

Maximizing Genealogical Value of Obituaries

April 13th, 2011 No comments

Obituaries offer a wealth of information about your family. They have important facts about the deceased and important dates that you can use to piece together clues about the history of your family. Here’s how you can find details to research from obituaries.

We all think differently and we all have different ways of processing information, which makes genealogy and ancestry research very confusing. Different historians and different family members keep records in different ways so sometimes finding the facts you need to piece together a family history are elusive.

There are thousands of databases out there claiming to have the answers, but in reality if you are disorganized, those databases are only going to make the confusion worse. And to top it off repetition in names, facts and even certain dates can cause further confusion. To clear up the confusion, here is the basic guideline of what to look for in an obituary and how to keep it all organized.

Searching for Clues in Obituaries

An obituary is the final record of a person’s life, information is included that can lead you to some amazing discoveries about your family. When you look at an obituary it is important that you pinpoint those bits of information and make a note of them. First read the obituary through once or twice just to get an idea of the information included. Then underline the important pieces of information. Read it over again to make sure you underlined everything of importance. Here are the things you will want to look for in an obituary:

  • The deceased’s full name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Date of death
  • Place or City of Residence
  • Occupation
  • Military Service
  • Church Affiliation
  • Life events
  • Awards or Accomplishments
  • Names of survivors
  • Place where funeral or memorial service is held
  • Place of internment

Maximizing the Genealogical Value of Obituaries

Once you’ve read and reread the obituary and you’ve underlined the important pieces of information, the next step is to organize the information in a way you can access later and have a complete understanding of what it is you found important. You can download forms for free that can help you research genealogical clues from obituaries at

The first thing to do is copy down the information point by point. Then make notes about each point.

Questions to ask yourself as you go through each point are:

  • What information does this clue provide?
  • What public or historical records exist that will provide further information?
  • Where can I find those records?

The notes you make about each point can be anything related to genealogy research:

  • Personal notes – maybe you were reminded about a conversation you had with a relative about this point.
  • Family history notes – maybe another ancestor was a member of the same organization.
  • Notes about what you’ll want to research about this information – perhaps you want to look up how long this person was a member of this organization.
  • Where records that expand on this information might exist – make notes as to where you can find the answers to your questions.

Other notes might include tidbits of information from:

  • Phone book
  • City business directory
  • Internet
  • Church directory
  • School databases

Taking the time to go through obituaries carefully can go a long way to helping you find clues to your family history and connecting you to your ancestors and relatives. Names, places, and dates are just the starting point. There is so much to learn from obituaries, but you have to read between the lines. Not all the information will be there ready for you to see, you’ll have to do a little digging and a little research. Making notes and keeping your notes organized will help you get the information you are looking for.

Melanie Walters

Is there a place in the UK where one has to record a death certificate for public knowledge?

April 11th, 2011 3 comments

In the States, all death notices are recorded in our County Courthouses. Is there such a venue in the UK, London, Wales?

All deaths are officially recorded in the your council’s Births, Marriages, Deaths dept., which you will have to visit to get a death certificate for burial/cremation purposes.

That is the the ‘public knowledge’ you asked about.

where’s an honest website that i can go to to find all public records?

April 8th, 2011 5 comments

birth cert, death records, back ground checks, adoption records, etc? I’m trying to locate my nationality and where my family originated from and also trying to find my husbands real father as he was adopted. please help..I’m afraid to pay for the sites on here because a lot of them are scams or have no information in them…thanks for all of your answers…

I would recommend, they offer exactly what you’re looking for, an extensive public records database… for free! Good luck!

Confidential Address Programs: What Every Domestic Violence & Stalking Victim Should Know

April 5th, 2011 No comments

If you are a victim of domestic violence or stalking and you are considering using a state offered confidential address program or if you are considering an identity change, there is some information that you must know before you utilize these programs.


It is important that all victims of stalking and domestic abuse become informed of the pitfalls surrounding state offered privacy protection programs before making a decision that may jeopardize their safety and the safety of those that they love.


There are many victims of crime relying upon these programs living with a false sense of security.


These programs have their weaknesses and can be penetrated by abusers and stalkers- and they are often. Even experienced high-tech investigators and members of law enforcement fall prey to breaches of their privacy.

Surviving domestic abuse and stalking is challenging; however, being prepared and familiar with the resources available today regarding privacy protection makes the pathway to freedom much easier. 

There are 19 confidential address programs within the United States. California is one of the 19 that offer the confidential address program to victims of crime.


There are many misconceptions in regards to the programs privacy protection.  Victims and their family members should not rely upon the program as their only defense mechanism to protect their privacy.  Here are only a few of the reasons why.


1.      Confidential address programs do not allow for victims to have packages delivered to their private mail box accounts, this also includes certified mailings and letters. These types of packages will be returned to sender. This can be alleviated by opening a private mail box account with a UPS Store or similar mail receiving station because these entities will receive certified letters, packages and other deliveries that the state confidential address programs won’t.

2.      Utility records including water, gas, electric, cable bills will have the victims name, physical address location as well as the confidential mailing address on file. This is cause for concern because then the victim’s new “confidential private address” is co-mingled with the crime victim’s actual physical location which may allow for a breach of the victims privacy. Presently, California law makers are reviewing legislation that will provide for privacy mechanisms for victims of crime pertaining to utility accounts.  

3.      Property ownership records and related information is not private.  Victim’s utilizing the confidential address program must take caution and note that their real estate property ownership records are public records and available to anyone including convicted felons, stalkers and domestic abusers. Property records are compiled county by county state by state and many of these records are available on-line through the county recorder clerk’s office.  Victims of crime, law enforcement, prosecutors and other vulnerable members of the public should not have to live in fear. Legislation is presently being reviewed to help safeguard property records for these vulnerable groups.

These are only a few of the pitfalls involved with the use of the confidential address program.  A victim’s privacy is often a matter of life and death, that is why it is very important for victims and their loved ones to be informed of the pitfalls of these types of privacy protection programs before they rely upon them as there only source of privacy protection.


If you or a loved one is a victim of crime and would like to learn more about privacy protection programs contact Alexis A. Moore,  cyberstalking and privacy protection expert for more information on what you can do today to safeguard your private information from 3rd parties.


No one should have to live or work in fear!

Alexis A Moore