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Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915

Robin Foster
by Robin Foster
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915

About This Collection

Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915.

You can search Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915 for your ancestor to see if it reveals that he or she moved from someplace else during the Great Migration. This collection is made of several types of records:

  • Death certificates
  • Death registers
  • Death records
  • Undertaker’s certificate
  • Registration of death
  • Burial certificate

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915.

What’s in This Collection

You can find out what information each record type contains by viewing the collection’s Learn More page here. With the type of records we are researching, we would not be interested in burial certificates because they were generated 1807-1860. Death records generated before 1860 would be of no use as well.

Death Registers and Inspectors of the Jail and Penitentiary House up to 1914 are bound volumes, and they can lead to interesting finds. Also, not every name in the collection is a person who died. According to the Research Wiki, some of the hospital records give the date of discharge for the living and their names are included in with the deceased. So, you could have a goldmine if you ancestor was not deceased but released from the hospital.

The undertaker’s certificate will lead you to the funeral home and cemetery. You can also look for US Census records with the names of your ancestor’s parents. City directories will identify them during the in between years.

Death certificates that were generated between 1904 and 1915 would be useful because they would confirm parents, former residence, and place of birth. It would show that your ancestor could have lived in a previous place and was born in a different place. The death certificate also reveals the undertaker and place of burial. That means you can find an obituary, funeral home, and cemetery.

Researching From This Collection

  • Use the information to locate funeral home, obituary or cemetery record
  • Use the information to find other vital records such as birth and marriage
  • Use the information to find additional family members in census records
  • Search for an obituary in a local newspaper
  • Search church records for additional information
  • Search for land and probate records

Example: Elouise Mitchell, d. 1914

Let’s look for Elouise Mitchell in her late twenties: I found a death certificate from 20 August 1914.

Death Certificate, Elouise Mitchell, 1914
“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6QT9-RD2?cc=1320976&wc=9F5Y-PTL%3A1073203702 : 16 May 2014), 004009380 > image 415 of 555; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Elouise Constance Mitchell lived at 1505 Christian St. in Philadelphia. She was a 28 year old domestic. She was born to Jonas E. Mitchell and Catherine Green of South Carolina. She lived with Jennie Mitchell the informant. Perhaps Jennie was a cousin or sister. Maybe the US Census would tell.

Other Death Records for Elouise Mitchell

Another thing that is interesting is Elouise was buried in Charleston, SC. We searched to see if her death or any related events were recorded in South Carolina as well. We searched the new FamilySearch collection South Carolina, Charleston City Death Records, 1821-1926 and found a record here of Elouise Mitchell’s death (please click on image to view larger):

Elouise Mitchell in South Carolina Charleston County Charleston Death Records
Elouise Mitchell in South Carolina Charleston County Charleston Death Records. Carolina, Charleston County, Charleston, Death Records, Death Registers, Return of Deaths within the City of Charleston 1913-1915 (Colored), 1 Jan 1913-1915, Entry for Elouise Mitchell, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9K1-M4RT?cc=3477663&personaUrl=%2Fark%3A%2F61903%2F1%3A1%3A4KP3-P56Z, accessed 18 Feb 2020.

Name: Eloise C Mitchell
Event Type: Death
Event Date: 20 Aug 1914
Event Place: Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Event Place (Original): Charleston, S C
Gender: Female
Age: 28
Race: Colored
Birth Year (Estimated): 1886
Burial Place: Morris Brown

Digital Folder Number: 100588400
Image Number: 00108

“South Carolina, Charleston City Death Records, 1821-1926”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:4KP3-P56Z : 11 December 2019), Eloise C Mitchell, 1914.

We also found a death record and transport record related to transporting the deceased to Charleston for burial:

South Carolina, Death and Transport Records Elouise Mitchell
South Carolina Department of Archives and History; Columbia, South Carolina; Year Range: 1900-1924; Death County or Certificate Range: Charleston. Ancestry.com. South Carolina, Death Records, 1821-1965 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: South Carolina. South Carolina death records. Columbia, SC, USA: South Carolina Department of Archives and History. South Carolina Death Records, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina, USA.

Elouise Mitchell Obituary Search

Our search for Elouise Mitchell in the FamilySearch collection United States, GenealogyBank Historical Newspaper Obituaries, 1815-2011 did not reveal an obituary for Elouise Mitchell, but your search for your ancestor in this collection may produce results.

Related Resources

For more resources go to the FamilySearch Wiki pages Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania Genealogy and Charleston County, South Carolina Genealogy. The FamilySearch Wiki page African American Resources for South Carolina contains a detailed list of resources for African American genealogy in South Carolina.

More Wiki Resources for African American Genealogy

Researching African American Genealogy provides step-by-step guidance for beginning your ancestor search, as well as links to online resources.

Quick Guide to African American Records contains information on beginning research tips, links to suggested guides for beginning your search for African American ancestors, overviews of major record sets, tips for finding the slaveholder, links to tutorials for African American genealogy in the FamilySearch Learning Center, and links to other online and offline resources.

Southern States Slavery and Bondage Collections will help you locate digitized searchable collections as well as digitized microfilms in the FamilySearch catalog related to slavery and bondage. The page is arranged by state. 

African American Genealogy provides links to Wiki pages for researching African Americans in each U.S. state.

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