One of the main goals for genealogists is finding death information about their ancestors.
Over the past few decades, thanks to volunteers, librarians, and archivists (as well as the largest of them all – FamilySearch), a great number of indexes to death collections have been provided for free online. These searchable indexes provide specific death information, and sometimes scanned images of the actual death certificates themselves. These free online collections have hundreds of millions of records in them in total.
There are a great number of online and offline collections that may include death information that are not included in the lists below. For example, newspapers and obituaries have death info, but most times obituary indexes include the date of the obituary but not the date of death. To find out which types of other records may include death information, please see:
The lists below are specific death indexes and record collections that are available for free online for the District of Columbia.
Note 1: Many of the links listed below take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. In many cases there is a link to the digital collection in the middle of the page, but also near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. Please also note that I have listed below only BMD databases that are accessible digitally from your computer (or tablet/phone)
Note 2: I have included links to Free Ancestry records and indexes. You do not need a subscription, but do need an Ancestry account. Without a subscription, you can view indexes. If there is an image associated with a record, in most cases you will need a subscription, but the index does include very usable information.
(Updated May 2021; recently added links are in BOLD):
- Congressional Cemetery Deaths
- DC Area Death Index
- DC Deaths
- District of Columbia Deaths and Burials, 1840-1964
- District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1961
- District of Columbia Genealogical collection, ca. 1700-1900
- Federal Mortality Census schedules and Related Indexes: District of Columbia; 1850; 1860; 1870
- Glenwood Cemetery Records, 1854-2013
- Historical Court Records of Washington, District of Columbia
- Miscellaneous BMD Records by County
- National Intelligencer Extracts of Marriages and Deaths 806 – 1858
- Online Searchable Death Indexes
- United States Deaths and Burials, 1867-1961
- United States Korean War Battle Deaths, 1950-1957
- United States Social Security Death Index
- United States, World War I American Expeditionary Forces Deaths, 1917-1919
- Washington DC Church Vital Records (click on Folder Icon)
- Washington DC Death Records
- Washington DC Deaths
- Washington Post Deaths Archive
- Washington, D.C. Mortality Schedule 1850
- Washington, Historical Court Records – Death Record 1801 to 1878
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!
For other Free DC Links, click on the category of interest:
Probate and Wills