How to find a birth/death record
June 9, 2011 5:37 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a NJ birth/death record for a baby who only lived a short time during the 50's.

My dad recently found out that he had a baby sister who only lived a short time. They lived in New Jersey at the time. An uncle knows that the baby was buried in a cemetery and that it was a girl, but that's all he remembers. We know she was born between two other children, so that narrows the dates to between 1954 and 1956. I only have that and her parents' names, but no exact date or name. Any idea how I can track down more information on this baby?
posted by runnergirl to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's worth checking -- sometimes their coverage is a little spotty, but you can search by last name and state (and year(s) if you want) and see if any likely graves come up.
posted by katemonster at 5:53 AM on June 9, 2011

Have you tried asking the local registrar where the birth/death would have occurred if it is possible to search their records just by last name in a time range? Here is a list of the offices I've gotten death certificates from states when I only knew the year of death. I always had the full name though.
posted by interplanetjanet at 6:08 AM on June 9, 2011

The long-form death certificate should have burial information. If you ask for a certification (i.e., the record for family history purposes rather than for legal purposes) NJ Vital Statistics will search numerous years for you for an extra fee. Even though the site insists that they require100% complete name info, these sorts of offices get incomplete requests all the time from people doing genealogy research. (I've had success with similar requests in other states.) I think you have enough info to go on, if you supply everything you know on your records request. Good luck!
posted by philokalia at 6:11 AM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

I was able to find a death certificate for a stillborn sibling of mine, same era (1950s) but different state. As long as you have both parents name, and give the narrow year range you have, there should be no difficulty for the State to find this record.

If you do feel like doing a bit more investigating to get a date of death, there are two other public record indexes you can consult:

Social Security Death Index (SSDI) - this might not be a viable option if this child died before being issued a Social Security Number, but entering the family surname, state and approximate years you might get a 'hit' in the database that makes a close match

New Jersey Death Records Indexes points to a database at FamilySearch (which is an LDS Church database) that is free to search. Again, with a surname, state, narrow range of death dates, you might find an entry that is close.

Another approach could be to phone the cemetery where this child is buried and simply ask them if they have a full name for the child and a death date. If it not easy to phone them, a letter should suffice, and be sure to thank them for their assistance. I have had so many good interactions with cemetery offices over the years just by being very polite and recognizing they are busy (but ultimately helpful) people.

The bottom line is that it is easy to obtain this type of record, just be prepared to wait several weeks as this service takes a while (this is rather common everywhere)

Good luck in finding the information you seek.
posted by kuppajava at 7:42 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks to everyone for the help. Couldn't get the record through the State, though I think I do know where she is buried. That's my next step.
posted by runnergirl at 12:39 PM on September 21, 2011

« Older How long should ADA paperwork take?   |   Plants for pets. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.