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  1. #1
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    Verifying a Death (If you're a poor)

    Say that you found a listing in a state's online death registrar indicating that someone has passed away (which also gives you that person's SSN, a piece of info that seems to be readily available for those who have passed away), would you consider it strange that:

    - there are no mentions online of a funeral or memorial service, no obituaries, and no other mentions of the person being deceased, despite the deceased having an extended family?

    - that the Google "autofill" suggestions after typing the person's name into the search engine comes up as "death", "funeral", "obituary"....wouldn't that indicate that others are making those searches (although there's nothing to find)?

    I'm curious if sleuths would consider the above to be odd, or if they think it's normal. I understand that it's possible to purchase death certificates of others, though even there I'm not sure if you have to be a family member (I doubt it, though, as I'd guess one could also physically go to the person's place of death and be allowed to search death records there).

    Any info appreciated!

  2. #2
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    I don't know about the autofill in Google, but I know that we did not have a funeral, memorial or even place a death notice or obituary for my mother, so those things do not exist anywhere.

    She had dementia for a number of years and I've found, at least with that disease, many families do not have funerals/memorials and don't place obituaries because these people have been abandoned by almost everyone except for maybe a child or two or a friend.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by michmi View Post
    I don't know about the autofill in Google, but I know that we did not have a funeral...
    Understood, michmi, thanks. The particular deceased I'm looking into was in the prime of life, known by many, and supposedly died suddenly; based on the Google searches, people have tried to find info on the person's death (and may have been as puzzled as I was when they found none).

    Can anyone speak to whether a non-family member can access death certificate info (and how to do it)? Or any other methods to verify a death? Even, I suppose, how difficult it might be for someone to fake their own death, and if there's known examples of that being done in the U.S. Thanks.

  4. #4
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    I don't know about a death certificate, but for an autopsy report in NJ you need to be family or else have good reason. I don't know if it's much different for a death certificate, as there is sensitive info there. (SS# parents info , cause of death, etc.). You could try the vital statistics office in the county of death, and maybe they could at least verify for you.
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    make the sounds of thousands of angels instead
    tonight where you might be laying your head.
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  5. #5
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    Getting a death certificate really depends on where the person died.

    For example, in the county in Michigan I'm living in, anyone can order a death certificate.

    In Duval County, Florida, where I once lived, anyone can get a death certificate without the cause of death listed, but only immediate family, beneficiary with proof, or estate administrator with proof can get a certificate with the cause listed.

  6. #6
    Nevada has some strict privacy laws regarding fatalities.

    So really depends what state - and exactly what info you are seeking specifically. Gooogle is not the only search engine. Always a way to find info if you a name.
    ~Human Beings Are All Members Of One Body.
    They Are Created From The Same Essence.
    When One Member Is In Pain,
    The Others Cannot Rest.
    If You Do Not Care About The Pain Of Others,
    You Do Not Deserve To Be Called A Human Being.~


    A Quote From 13th Century Famous Persian Poet Saadi Shirazi

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilsPlayThing View Post
    Gooogle is not the only search engine.
    Geez, I absolutely hadn't thought about that (no kidding). I've been sleuthing a POI and have only used Google's search engine; which other ones have people had good results with?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by PreciousDust View Post
    Geez, I absolutely hadn't thought about that (no kidding). I've been sleuthing a POI and have only used Google's search engine; which other ones have people had good results with?
    Genealogy type websites. FindAGrave - Sometimes the main page if the person has an entry - or the comments section. Human search engines. Some that are not deep web would be spokeo - peeku or something like that. There is some social media type search - this twitter search to see all tweets about a person without having to have a twitter account. PACER will show if a person has any open civil - criminal - bankruptcy - appeals - etc.
    If so they are not dead if they have an upcoming appearance scheduled.

    More localized case lookup will show if the person possibly has been issued a speeding ticket or other citation - if you suspect they are not deceased. The Social Security Death Index will have the name listed if ever they were issued a Social Security Number. A family member or friend would possibly blog about the death of the person. Topix website message board local to the person might have a thread or two. The High School the person attended may have a somewhat unofficial In Memory Of Site - linked to the Reunion Page. Sometimes when arranging Reunions for each Class - they find a number of former classmates have died. And will memorialize them.

    It really depends on the age of the person and the state. And the type of person you are seeking out. How recently the date of death is suspected to be. And whatever leads you to believe this person is deceased - or possibly not deceased.

    New York has some pretty closed records. But not impossible to find if a person is living or dead if NY is area.

    That's all I got for now off the top of my head.
    ~Human Beings Are All Members Of One Body.
    They Are Created From The Same Essence.
    When One Member Is In Pain,
    The Others Cannot Rest.
    If You Do Not Care About The Pain Of Others,
    You Do Not Deserve To Be Called A Human Being.~


    A Quote From 13th Century Famous Persian Poet Saadi Shirazi

    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/signaturepics/sigpic72981_1.gif

  9. #9
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    Yes, Find-A-Grave may turn up something. For lack of anything else, I did put my mom's death there. So I can tell you for sure there is information there that is not anywhere else.

  10. #10
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    My cousin passed away in MO and while doing some genealogy my daughter was having trouble with finding anyone that had his death certificate. His mom and dad passed before he did, and the siblings don't have a copy of it. When I went to get a copy for her from the Health Department they said I had to be mom or dad. When I stated the parents had passed they said my mom could get one but not me, so that's what we did.
    If it's in MO and has been a certain number of years then you can go to the state website and search it for free.
    http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resou...es/#searchdeat


  11. #11
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    An idea

    The person you have described may be unclaimed. Sometimes when a person dies, the name and identity are known, but no family is known to the medical examiner. Some post their unclaimed on a website: claimus.org. But not all do.

    If you have a social security death index the person or someone using their identity has died. It usually gives the zip code where the person was when they died. I would contact the ME's office in that jurisdiction and see if they have any information about the deceased.

    I voluntarly research unclaimed here on Websleuths using my genealogy research skills.

    If I can give you any information or assist in any way, please private message me. Hope you find your answers. Nm

  12. #12
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    As far as the Google autofill, don't forget many people have the exact same names.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilsPlayThing View Post
    Genealogy type websites....
    That's a very helpful post stock full of great ideas - thanks!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PreciousDust View Post
    Say that you found a listing in a state's online death registrar indicating that someone has passed away (which also gives you that person's SSN, a piece of info that seems to be readily available for those who have passed away), would you consider it strange that:

    - there are no mentions online of a funeral or memorial service, no obituaries, and no other mentions of the person being deceased, despite the deceased having an extended family?

    - that the Google "autofill" suggestions after typing the person's name into the search engine comes up as "death", "funeral", "obituary"....wouldn't that indicate that others are making those searches (although there's nothing to find)?

    I'm curious if sleuths would consider the above to be odd, or if they think it's normal. I understand that it's possible to purchase death certificates of others, though even there I'm not sure if you have to be a family member (I doubt it, though, as I'd guess one could also physically go to the person's place of death and be allowed to search death records there).

    Any info appreciated!
    Most states restrict death certificates for about 50 years, some 25 years, and others restrict a whopping 100, 105, 125 years, only immediate family members can get the certificate: parent, child, grandchild, grandparent, spouse, sibling. A legal representative can get one with proper paperwork and proper reason to need it (sale of a house which is part of the estate, for instance). It depends on the state.

    Not everyone has a death notice/obituary published. I know an entire family who has passed away at different times and none of them had a published obit. So, in essence, they ended up having private funerals.

    There are online places, such as those connected to the funeral industry, which make small memorials for the deceased even without an obit. They use the death indexes available through the states and Social Security.

    Plus see possibilities from others above. There are many reasons why a person could be listed online but the death not published through the usual channels: the person was elderly and only survived by a much younger generation, or could be a young person and all the older relatives have died, the person may have family elsewhere and no reason to publish locally, or the survivors just didn't want to spend the money to have an obit in the newspaper (most are charging outrageous fees these days).
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PreciousDust View Post
    Google "autofill" suggestions after typing the person's name into the search engine comes up as "death", "funeral", "obituary"....wouldn't that indicate that others are making those searches (although there's nothing to find)?
    From what I've seen of Google, the autofill feature works two ways. If you've searched for a certain thing more than occasionally in the past, it will fill that in if the first few letters you type match. On the other hand, it also seems to do what you're saying -- fill in with searches that are common among the population as a whole, or are being searched by a lot of people recently.

    As far as the second of those goes, I think you can assume that others are searching for the same thing, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything beyond that. Right now, when I type "neil" into Google, it autofills to "neil armstrong death." And when I type in "eddie" it fills out to "eddie murphy dead." One is true, the other's a hoax. (Although Murphy's career has been dead for a long time, IMHO. )



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