Looking Up Louisiana State Death Certificates

Louisiana has very strict privacy laws. As a result, Louisiana death certificates are sealed for fifty years before they are available to the general public. If you are looking for a death after 1970, you must be a direct relative of the person whose info you are requesting (son, daughter, spouse, parent, etc…) and go through the State Department of Health. For those deaths that happened before 1970, they are rather easy to get!

Now let me state here, death certificates were not required statewide until the mid 1910’s. Even then it is spotty. Country folk weren’t going to traipse into town just to let a government official know a loved one had passed, plus they handled the burial themselves without the use of a funeral home! When funeral homes were required to handle all deaths, then certificates were more widely used. If a relative died in New Orleans or even Shreveport, they are available much further back into the 1800’s.

Familysearch.org has abstracted deaths before 1960 here: https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1609793 . If you live near an LDS Family History Center, you can even pull up an image of the certificate! The abstracts they have list the date of death, place of death, parents and spouse’s names and age at death. If you are looking for cause of death and place of burial, you will need to get access to the certificate.

Another index, is on the Louisiana State Archives webpage. After the certificates turn fifty, they are released from the Department of Health and sent to the Archives. Their online index goes to 1969.

https://www.sos.la.gov/HistoricalResources/ResearchHistoricalRecords/LocateHistoricalRecords/Pages/LouisianaDeathRecords.aspx

Click on “Advanced Search”, then input as much or as little information as you like to see your results! The index gives the name of the person, date of death, parish of death, age and the certificate volume and number. If you will notice, each entry has a “Print Form” link below it written in light blue. If you click on that and fill out the online form with your info, it will create a nice filled-in printable order form to send off to the Archives and get a copy! They charge $10 for a copy or 50 cents to go to Baton Rouge and copy it yourself at their research library. They usually are very quick in getting the certificate back to you but I am sure COVID has caused some delays.

The Archives also has birth certificate records over 100 years old. If you want to see any younger records, you have to be an immediate family member and get them from the State Department of Health.

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