Search for 3,500 Local Death Records Online

Bowling Green death record, 1891

Bowling Green death record, 1891

Kentucky did not maintain death records at the state level until 1911, but earlier records kept by municipalities can sometimes solve riddles for genealogists and other researchers.  In the case of Bowling Green and Warren County, WKU’s Special Collections Library holds a unique collection of almost 3,500 “Return of a Death” certificates dating from 1877 to 1913.

Submitted to the city clerk in order to obtain a permit for burial within the city of Bowling Green, the Return of a Death certificate was filled in by both an attending physician and undertaker.  Although many certificates are not complete in all respects, they offer information about the deceased including: date and cause of death, age, race, birthplace, residence, place of interment, and parents’ names (if the deceased was a minor).  If the death occurred elsewhere and the remains were sent back to Bowling Green for burial, additional documentation from the place of death is frequently present.

Besides supplying genealogical data that might not otherwise be accessible, these death certificates provide a fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking glimpse at the types of disease and injury that afflicted local citizens and the frequency of child mortality in families during the late nineteenth century.

A complete alphabetical listing of Bowling Green, Kentucky death records (1877-1913) in the collection can be downloaded by clicking here.  For further information (including how to receive a copy of an individual death record), e-mail mssfa@wku.edu.

9 Comments

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

9 Responses to Search for 3,500 Local Death Records Online

  1. nice information, this is an amazing article, who know about it before ?

  2. Hey – nice blog, just looking around some blogs, seems a pretty nice platform you are using. I’m currently using WordPress for a few of my sites but looking to change one of them over to a platform similar to yours as a trial run. Anything in particular you would recommend about it?

  3. I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles. You obviously know what you are talking about! Your site is so easy to navigate too, I’ve bookmarked it in my favourites

  4. Hello, I used to be researching the internet & I discovered your web site. Keep up the superb work.

  5. Bing is faster than google 10x times.

  6. Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.

  7. I like this website presented and it has given me some sort of desire to succeed for some reason, so keep up the good work.

  8. I love your blog theme, can you tell me the name of it or where you downloaded it? thx.

  9. I like this data presented and it has given me some sort of inspiration to have success for some reason, so keep up the good work.