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Texas Death Records: How to Perform a Texas Death Records Search

Texas Death Records: How to Perform a Texas Death Records Search
December 12, 2022

Death records in Texas are maintained and disseminated by the Vital Statistics Section of the state’s Department of Health as well as various county clerks. 

 

The registration of deaths in the state officially began in 1908, but some counties had been keeping records of deaths for some five years before that.

 

Death records in Texas only become public records 25 years after the death of the record subject. 

 

Until they become public records, Texas death records may only be accessed or obtained by people who meet certain eligibility conditions.

 

Requesters may access Texas death records officially in person, by mail, or via online order. 

 

Online Texas death record lookups are unavailable; the state’s Department of Health does not maintain or provide an online database of death records in the state.

a hand stamping a sheet of paper


How to Access Texas Death Records Online:


As earlier mentioned, the Texas Department of Health does not offer online Texas death record lookups. 

 

People who want to quickly confirm the existence of a death record in the state for any reason must submit an application with the DoH in person or via mail.

 

Third-party websites, on the other hand, let interested members of the public perform quick Texas death record searches on their platforms. 

 

Quick Texas death record lookups are available on request through these websites.

 

If your interest in a Texas death record is purely academic, or you simply want to avoid the hassles of going through official channels, third-party websites may be a great option for you. 

 

Not only are these platforms quick and convenient, but they also let requesters from all over the country access Texas death records.

a finger pressing a 3D illustration of a search bar


Who Can Access Texas Death Records?


Death records in Texas are confidential and unavailable to members of the public for the first 25 years after the death of the record holder. 

 

Members of the public who are interested in accessing death records before the expiration of the period of confidentiality will be issued a death verification letter in lieu of the death record.

 

Verification letters are documents that attest to or confirm the death of the person listed on the record. 

 

These documents provide information about the decedents, including their names, the circumstances surrounding their deaths, and the county where they occurred. 

 

Verification letters cannot be tendered as official documents.


Conversely, qualified requesters may access and obtain certified copies of Texas death certificates within the 25-year confidentiality period. 

 

Qualified requesters, according to Texas state laws, include the decedent’s family members, or the funeral director listed on the record.

 

Regardless of this status, qualified requesters are still required to provide identifying documents and their social security numbers. 

 

Furthermore, they will be required to provide a document that proves their relationship with the decedent.


How to Obtain Texas Death Records


The Vital Records Division of the Texas Department of State Health Services is the official repository of death records in the state. 

 

While some counties began to keep death records in 1890, the Department’s records start in 1903. 

 

Requesters looking for earlier records may find them in the county where the death took place.

 

Requesters typically need to provide a valid, state-issued form of identification, such as a driver's license or other state-issued I.D. numbers, as well as payment. 

 

A certified Texas death record costs $20 and $3 for each extra copy.

 

Death records in Texas may be obtained through online orders, in person, or via mail. 

a drawer full of folders

 

You can order a death certificate or verification letter online using the Get Online portal on the Department's website. 

 

Requesting a death record online is the easiest way to do so. The entire process of processing and delivery takes 20 to 25 business days.

 

It used to be possible to obtain Texas death records in person at the Austin office of the state’s Department of Health. 

 

However, that option has been put on hold temporarily due to the pandemic. 

 

Requesters may, however, obtain Texas death records from the local office of the Texas Department of Health closest to them. 

 

Only records of people who died in a specific county can be accessed in these offices. Interested parties may need to contact the local office in question beforehand.

 

For mail-in requests, interested parties must download the Mail Application for Death Record, fill it out, and submit it along with any necessary supporting documents, a notary seal, and their application fee to this address:

 

Texas Vital Statistics Department of State Health Services,
P.O. Box 12040,
Austin, TX 78711-2040

 

Orders submitted by mail can be handled by normal or expedited service.


How Long Does a Texas Death Record Search Take?


Process times for death certificates will vary based on the type of order. For mail-in orders received online and via expedited delivery, the processing time is approximately 10 to 15 business days following receipt. 

 

For traditional mail-in requests, the processing time is approximately 25 to 30 business days. 

 

Processing time does not include shipping and delivery times. Requesters may visit the Processing Times webpage to stay up-to-date on processing times.

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