This database is an index to death records for the state of Washington for the years 1940-1996. In addition to providing the name of the deceased, the index also provides the person's age, place and date of death, and sex. For those who died in 1960 or later, the person's place of residence is also given. For those who died in 1965 or later, their Social Security number is also given. The index was obtained from the Washington State Archives and was originally created by the Washington State Health Department.
Prior to 1891, Washington had no legislative provision for the recording of births and deaths. However, some counties and cities did record births and deaths prior to 1891. These records have been microfilmed, and copies are available at the Washington State Archives. Between 1891 and 1907, birth and death registers were kept on the county level. The state legislature in 1891 made it the duty of all coroners, physicians, and midwives to report all births and deaths under their supervision. The filing of marriages with county officials has been required by law since the creation of Washington Territory in 1853. Post-1907 vital records in the state office of Vital Records in Olympia are not open to the public for research.
Although not indexed, many birth and death records from 1891 through 1907 have been microfilmed by the Washington State Archives. Given the county of occurrence, the archives staff will search the records for a fee.
The mandatory recording of births and deaths on a state level began 1 July 1907 and marriage and divorce records on 1 January 1968. To obtain post-1907 vital records, specific information is required to initiate a search. For death records, the following is needed: (1) name at time of death, (2) spouse of the deceased, and (3) date and place of death. State records can be obtained by writing: Vital Records, P.O. Box 9709, ET-11, Olympia, Washington 98504-9709.
Taken from Washington, Ancestry's Red Book by Dwight A. Radford, edited by Alice Eichholz. (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, 1992).