How to Find a Person's Date of Death

By Erin Carson

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You might need to find a date of death to fill in gaps in a family tree or to probate a will or other legal document. While locating a date of death for a long-lost ancestor can be a laborious process involving detailed genealogical research, finding this information for an individual who died within the past 50 years can often be quick and easy. Armed with the full name of the person you seek, you can use free government records to locate his date of death.

Step 1

Begin your search at sites offering access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). The SSDI contains the names of over 84 million individuals who possessed a social security number and whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Step 2

Go to or and follow the link for the SSDI portal. These sites offer free access to the SSDI server, but you can also find subscription sites, like, that allow you to search the database as well.

Step 3

Enter as much information on the individual as possible. While you can search the databases with only a first and last name, inputting a middle initial, the state in which they died, their maiden name or an approximate date of birth can help narrow down the results.

Step 4

Look through the results to see whether you see a record for the individual you seek. If you find her, the record should include her full name, birth date, death date and her last known residence.