G U I D E    T O    G E N E A L O G I C A L    M A T E R I A L S     
in the New Orleans Public Library's Louisiana Division & City Archives     

          D E A T H   Records

Guide to Genealogical Materials Home
Selected Books
Louisiana Library Connection Databases
Note on Vital Records
Birth Records
Death Records
Burial Records
Marriage Records
Civil Records (Parishes other than Orleans)
Census Records
Orleans Parish Civil Court Records
Slavery, Free People of Color & Freedmen
Immigration Records
Naturalization Records
Hospital & Insanity Records
Church Records
Military Records
Land Records
Voter Registration Records
Employment Records
New Orleans Police Department Records
Records of Correctional Institutions
Additional Sources
Appendix A: Ordering By Mail
Appendix B: Genealogical Periodicals
Appendix C: Soundex/Miracode System
Appendix D: Orleans Parish Civil Courts

Death Certificates | Coroner's Records | Miscellaneous Death Records

Note: Check the “Selected Books” section of the guide for additional sources on deaths and burials.

Note: Information on our holdings in Orleans Parish probate records (wills, successions and inventories) can be found in the section on Orleans Parish Civil Court Records.

Death Certificates

New Orleans (La.) Board of Health. Index to Death Records, 1804-1916.
This index to Orleans Parish death certificates, arranged alphabetically within each year, was compiled for the New Orleans Health Department by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. It includes very few entries prior to 1819 (only one page of names, mostly of people whose deaths were recorded retroactively) and comparatively few prior to the mid-19th century. mf FF650i.

  This index is available at the Orleans Parish page of the U.S. GenWeb Project (free). It is also available (extended to 1949) online at     www.ancestry.com (subscription only) and at Ancestry Library Edition, accessible in all NOPL facilities.

New Orleans (La.) Board of Health. Death Certificates, 1804-1915.
Their form varies over the years, but death certificates from all periods record the same general information: name, place of birth, age, profession, date (and sometimes time) of death, and place of death. After about mid- 19th century, the cause of death is usually noted. Earlier records sometimes list the names of parents or spouse of the deceased, the nativity of parents or the deceased’s marital status; the name of parents is almost always given if the deceased was a child. For earlier records, since the person making the declaration of death is often a close relative of the deceased (a spouse or parent), some evidence of family line can sometimes be obtained from these records. During the antebellum period, deaths of free blacks are recorded (though sometimes in separate books for the earliest years). After 1864, "all" deaths are recorded, regardless of the deceased's race. mf FF650

Below is a list of sections devoted specifically to free people of color:
v. 2 July 15, 1819 – May 19, 1832 (pp. 1-178)
v. 4 May 20, 1832 – November 30, 1835 (pp. 1-292)
v. 6 December 2, 1835 – May 24, 1840 (pp. 1-384)
v. 10 May 26, 1840 – October 10, 1851 (pp. 1-880)
v. 14 October 15, 1851 – July 29, 1859 (pp. 1-600)
v. 22 August 10, 1859 – July 20, 1864 (pp. 1-764)

New Orleans (La.) Board of Health. Deaths of Males and Females Received at the Board of Health Office, 1927-1929.
These lists, covering only three years, record the deceased's name, place of death, age, sex, race, nativity, and address. The list was sent by the Board of Health to the Voter Registration Office to allow the names of deceased registered voters to be removed from the voting rolls. Notes beside names indicate whether the deceased was registered to vote. The records are arranged chronologically and are indexed in the Louisiana Division's Louisiana Biography and Obituary Index as "Board of Health Registers." mf FF420

New Orleans (La.) Board of Health. Death Index, 1957-1968.
This index, compiled by the Health Department, gives the same information as the records above, but has no link to voter registration. The records are arranged alphabetically and contain the death certificate number. mf FF420

Louisiana. Division of Public Health Statistics. Louisiana State Deaths: Death Indexes, 1900- 1949.
Indexes deaths statewide for Louisiana. mf SARS-13

  This index is available online at www.ancestry.com (subscription only) and at Ancestry Library Edition, accessible in all NOPL facilities.

  See also the Louisiana State Archives' index to Louisiana Vital Records.

Louisiana. State Department of Health and Human Resources. Vital Records Office. Index to Death Certificates, State of Louisiana, 1971-1976.
Alphabetical indexes to all deaths in the state. Records name, cause of death (by International Classification of Diseases code), sex, age at death, volume and certificate number, date of death, parish of death, and residence. (For convenience sake, we have retained this long-used call number; they are not, however, records of the New Orleans Health Department.) mf FF420

Jefferson City. Register of Deaths, 1868-1870.
Jefferson City, bounded by the River, Toledano Street, Freret Street, and Joseph Street, was incorporated in 1850 as part of Jefferson Parish and annexed to the City of New Orleans in 1870. Arranged by date of death, the volume, covering Aug. 1, 1868 to February 27, 1870, gives the name of the deceased, cause of death, age, nativity, sex, and race. "Remarks" sometimes includes the place of burial or place of death. [Filed under call number mf II LM430 1841-1849]

Note: The microfilm target incorrectly identifies this record as Vol. 1 of the Jefferson City Cemetery Records.


Coroner’s Records

Although the Coroner is not an official of the New Orleans municipal government, the City Archives has accepted records from this office on deposit. Over the years, the Coroner has been responsible for receiving bodies of persons who died under "unusual" circumstances. The historical context of "unusual" has changed since the office of Coroner was first created in 1805, and an exact definition of what constituted a Coroner's case at a given point in time is lacking. One can expect, however, to find records relating to accidental deaths, to murders and suicides, to dead persons discovered in public places, and the like.

Record of Inquests and Views, 1844-1904.     Finding Aid
Manuscript volumes showing the date of each inquest or viewing, name of the deceased (if known), sex, race, place of birth or national origin (irregularly), location of the body when viewed, cause of death, and the names of the citizens acting as the Coroner's jury. Free persons of color and slaves are identified as such, but very few of the latter are included in the records. In some cases statements have been added to the effect that the Coroner provided for the interment of persons who died without funds to pay for their own burial.

From time to time there are gaps in the record, notably for August, 1844 to March, 1846; May, 1847 to July, 1848; and June to November, 1851. Indexes exist for several of the record books. Between 1868 and 1881 there are separate volumes for the two Coroners provided for by the Legislature in the former year. mf TH420

Record of Views, 1887-1904.
Manuscript volumes of short printed forms with entries for date of record, name, and address of the deceased, date and cause of death, place of birth, occupation, age, marital status, sex, color, length of time in the city, and place where the Coroner viewed the body. Each form also includes certification to the effect that the Coroner ruled a formal inquest to be unnecessary. mf TH425

Autopsy Reports, Proces Verbaux, 1905-1968.
These manuscript volumes identify deceased persons by name, sex, color, age, height, weight, residence, occupation, place of origin, and length of time in New Orleans. They also include the date, time, and medical cause of death, along with a description of any wounds to the body. The records are almost exclusively limited to crime-related deaths (homicide) or to accidental deaths caused by some sort of violence (e.g., suicide, automobile accidents, drowning, etc.) Note: Microfilm from this series is labeled “Autopsy Reports.” mf TH240

Record Book Journals, 1905-1969.
Records all cases referred to the Coroner and lists name, date, age, sex, race, marital status, cause of death, whether or not an autopsy was performed, and the funeral home and/or cemetery. Some autopsies conducted in area hospitals are also referenced. Most volumes are indexed. mf TH430


Miscellaneous Death Records

Louisiana. Civil District Court (Orleans Parish). Employers’ Liability Agreements, 1915-1944.
The agreements record the workers’ compensation settlements made by New Orleans employers when their workers were injured or killed while performing work-related duties. In the case of deceased workers, the agreements record date of death and information relative to spouse and children. VT660 Unfilmed

  An index to the agreements made by the survivors of deceased workers is available online at
new orleanspubliclibrary.org/inv/vt660.htm.

New Orleans (La.) Civil Service Department. Records of Deceased Personnel, 1944-1949.
Among the forms filed to notify Civil Service of the death of an employee of city government is the "Personal History Record, " which includes date of birth, marital status, education, veteran status, length of residency in New Orleans, last three employments, promotions, and comments. The film is arranged by date of death. mf AI851

Employees’ Retirement System of the City of New Orleans. Ordinary Death Files, ca. 1949-1976.     Finding Aid
Includes Personal History and Service Claim forms or Personal History and Prior Service Claim forms and status change forms (or equivalent). The records are arranged in alphabetical order. mf AGR495