How to Find Out the Birth & Death Dates of a Relative

Many people find genealogical research to be not only an enjoyable pastime, but also an engaging detective story. However, if you are just starting out, you may wonder how you go about getting some of the information, such as dates for the birth and death of a particular relative. As it turns out, you can pursue several avenues to find this information.

Gather all the information you can from relatives and others who might have information about the individual you are studying. Even if they don't know the exact dates you need, they may be able to get you to the right decade, as well as the correct location.

Access one of the websites that index the U.S. government's Social Security death records, such as or, and search using the name of the individual. Enter any information you can in the entries to narrow the search. Once you have the listed death record, it will show the county in which the death was recorded.

Contact the county and ask for a photocopy of the death record, paying the required fee. This certificate will almost always list the county in which the person was born, as well as the date. Request a copy of this record as well.