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Connecticut Death Records

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Are Death Certificates Public in Connecticut?

No, death certificates are not public records in Connecticut. Connecticut death certificates are protected like other vital records kept in the state. Thus, only specific individuals - defined as those who have a direct relationship with the deceased - can access death certificates from local and state public health statistics offices. However, these certificates are given at a fee to anyone over 18 under section 7-51a. For ease of access, the decedent's spouse or next of kin must already present the social security number on the certificate.

The vital statistics/records offices are responsible for maintaining and issuing death certificates in Connecticut, including other vital records, i.e., birth, death, marriage, and divorce records.

The department can also issue uncertified copies of death certificates if the death occurred less than one hundred years ago. According to section 19a-25, the same goes for issuing uncertified copies to researchers for marriage, birth, and fetal deaths over a hundred years ago in occurrence to state and federal agencies.

What Shows Up on Death Records in Connecticut?

Death records in Connecticut are official documents of deaths within the state’s boundaries. Recording death events and their causes provides insight into the problems with the Connecticut public healthcare system. Before the statewide recording of death, towns in Connecticut registered cases of deaths in their localities. By 1897, however, Connecticut began collating deaths at the state level, and the State Vital Records Office was tasked with maintaining all Connecticut vital records. New Hampshire death records and all other United States death records are created in conformity with the U.S. Standard Death Certificate, which implies that they contain the following information:

The Vital Record Office is a division of the Connecticut Department of Public Health. The following information is entered on a typical Connecticut death record:

  • Name of a deceased person
  • Decedent’s date of birth
  • Date of death
  • Decedent’s place of birth
  • Place of death
  • Decedent's Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Parents’ names
  • Decedent’s marital status at the time of death
  • Name of decedent’s last spouse
  • Cause of death
  • Physician’s certification

In Connecticut, death records are public records and can be obtained by any member of the public aged 18 years and older. Interested persons must, however, provide some information about the decedent to obtain death certificates. Including decedents’ SSNs on death certificates became conditional with increased fraud cases involving identity thefts. The state restricts access to such information to only certain persons. In Connecticut, death records are required by named beneficiaries to process descendants' insurance benefits.

How are Death Records Created in Connecticut?

Connecticut law recommends that deaths must be filed with the local Registrar within five business days if filed manually by paper. Electronic filing of a death event takes a shorter time of three calendar days. After filing death records with the Registrar in Connecticut, interested persons can obtain copies upon request.

How to Find Death Records Online in Connecticut

In Connecticut, interested individuals can look up death records registered between 1867 and 1969 online via the Connecticut State Library's Connecticut Death Records Index. The information available for death records on the index is scanty. However, such information can be used to obtain certified copies of death certificates at the State Vital Records Office as it confirms death registration. Connecticut also partners with third-party vital records vendors to execute online death record applications. Such private service providers receive applications online and forward the requests to the State Vital Records Office to process and issue requested records.

Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional and government sources and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for specific or multiple records. To gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:

  • The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
  • The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.

While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government-sponsored entities and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.

Death Record Search by Name in Connecticut

Connecticut's public health statistics offices do not maintain online databases where individuals can search for a death record by name. Connecticut death records are primarily restricted records. Hence, individuals must usually submit an application, valid identification, and a fee to access records.

However, someone seeking a Connecticut public death record may contact a city/town clerk's office, local public library, or the State Archives Genealogical Research Center to determine if a death record search by name is feasible. Additionally, one may find a Connecticut death index (or United States death index) on a library or independent public records provider's website, which can usually be searched by name to find Connecticut records.

Death Record Search by Address

When carrying out death record searches to find Connecticut death records, the primary keyword required for a successful inquiry is a decedent's last or first name. Other details (like the decedent's place and date of death) may also be required to find a record.

These search criteria are typically standard when seeking United States death records in general. Requesters do not normally need to provide a complete address to find current death records at state vital records offices or obtain public death records from the sources that provide them.

How to Find Death Records for Free in Connecticut

Certified copies of death records are not free in Connecticut. However, Section 7-74(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes makes provisions for persons who are intimately related to deceased veterans to obtain one free certified copy of their death records. Requesters seeking to explore this waiver must submit their applications with valid photo identification documents and proof of relationship to such veterans. They must also indicate the status of the decedent as a veteran in their requests to benefit from the one-time waiver.

Interested persons can obtain certified copies of death records in Connecticut from the State Vital Records Office of the Connecticut Department of Public Health. They can equally do so at the Vital Records Offices in each of the 169 towns in the state. Requesters should complete a Request for a Certified Copy of a Death Certificate Form and attach photocopies of one of the following valid identity documents:

  • Driver’s license
  • State-issued identification card
  • Current military ID
  • Passport

Alternatively, an applicant can tender any two of the following secondary identification documents if they do not possess a valid ID:

  • Social security card
  • Medical Insurance card
  • The requester’s current utility bill indicating the name and address
  • Voter’s registration card
  • Car registration showing name and address
  • Valid government-issued trade or professional license
  • Valid government-issued firearm permit
  • Probation documents issued by the court or other government agency (if applicable)
  • Any letter from a government agency issued within the last six months before the request that confirms the identity
  • Military discharge paper
  • Valid school or college photographic identification
  • A government-issued photo ID that expired not more than 12 months before the request

The State Registrar may require a requester to submit more than two of these secondary identity documents if unsatisfied with the two IDs tendered for an application. Completed applications and applicable fees can be submitted in person or by mail.

How to Obtain Death Records in Connecticut

Applicants seeking to obtain certified copies of death records or any vital record in Connecticut (birth, death, marriage, and divorce records) can do so at the State Vital Records Office or the Vital Records Office in any town. To obtain a copy of a Connecticut death record from the State Vital Records Office, an applicant should submit a Request for a Certified Copy of a Death Certificate in person or by mail at/to:

CT Department of Public Health State Vital Records Office 410 Capitol Avenue First Floor Hartford, CT 06106

The Office processes walk-in requests between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for public holidays. Requesters can contact the State Vital Records Office at (860) 509-7700 for further clarifications. All mail requests should be enclosed with applicants’ self-addressed stamped envelopes and proof of payments.

Also, persons interested in obtaining death records in Connecticut can submit completed applications at the Vital Records Office located in the decedents’ place of death.

Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Death Certificate in Connecticut?

No. Death records are not publicly available in Connecticut. Anyone who has an interest to obtain certified copies can do so only if they can provide primary information about the decedent. However, certain parts of the information on Connecticut death certificates are only released to specific persons. Death certificates for deaths occurring after July 1, 1997, no longer bear the decedents’ Social Security Numbers (SSNs). Further restrictions are placed on Connecticut death certificates for deaths occurring after December 31, 2001, as additional information is now redacted. The entire “Administrative Purposes” section on the certificate containing the following information is no longer public:

  • The decedent’s SSN
  • Decedent’s occupation, business, or industry
  • Decedent’s educational level
  • Race
  • Hispanic Origin

However, no information in a Connecticut death certificate is concealed from specific persons. Such persons include:

  • Immediate family members of the decedent (Spouse, child, or parents)
  • Executors of the decedent’s estates
  • Parties specified on the death certificate, such as informants, funeral directors, or certifying physicians. These people must show proof of authorization from the decedent’s immediate family. However, they must order certified copies of a death record within 60 days of the death event to the entire information on the record.
  • Other persons authorized by the Connecticut Department of Public Health

How Much Does a Death Certificate Cost in Connecticut?

It costs $20 to obtain a certified copy of a death certificate in Connecticut at the State Vital Records Office and those that operate in Connecticut towns. Death certificate applications through third-party vital records vendors attract additional costs to cover shipping and processing fees. Connecticut also issues death certificates for fetal deaths. Such requests can only be filed with the State Vital Records Office. The Office charges $30 for a copy of a fetal death certificate.

Requesters can pay by cash or money orders for in-person applications. Credit cards and personal checks are not authorized as means of payment by the State Vital Records Office. Requesters should make money orders payable to the Treasurer, State of Connecticut, for mail-in requests to the State Vital Records Office. Money orders for applications to any of the 169 Vital Records Offices in Connecticut towns should be paid by any means advised by those offices.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Death Certificate in Connecticut?

Connecticut death record requests submitted at the Vital Records Offices in the towns are processed faster compared to the State Vital Records Office. The usual waiting time for death record requests at the State Vital Records Office can be up to 12 weeks. The Vital Records Offices in the towns fulfill death record requests between four to six weeks after the receipt of applications. Some towns offer expedited services for mail-in requests sent through overnight postal service. Such requests are processed and returned on the next business day, provided the applicants provide pre-paid envelopes with the correct return addresses.

How Long to Keep Records After Death

Connecticut recommends the maintenance of descendants' records for some years after death. Some records and the number of years they should be kept after the owners’ death include:

  • Medical records - The Connecticut Public Health Code recommends that all parts of a patient’s medical records be retained for three years after death. Specific medical records are kept for a longer period.
  • Business and financial records - A decedent’s business and financial records are kept for a minimum of seven years. This is to allow for the passage of the three-year statute of limitation placed on the IRS to audit the decedent’s financial records.

How to Expunge Death Records in Connecticut

Expungement is the court-ordered erasure of all or parts of a person’s record. In Connecticut, expunged records are not publicly available. The state does not have any provisions for death record expungements.

How to Seal Death Records in Connecticut

At present, Connecticut does not seal death records.

How to Unseal Death Records in Connecticut

There is no reason to unseal death records in Connecticut since there are no provisions for sealing them in the first place.

How to Use the Connecticut Death Registry

Typically, a United States death registry or index carries information about deaths registered by the public health statistics departments. The Connecticut death registry lists decedents' full names, dates of death, places of birth, and ages at death, and often serves as a finding aid for persons who want to verify where someone died or identify the government office with a physical copy of the death record.

In Connecticut, death indices are organized by year, with each year containing details about people who died within that period. Connecticut index allows record seekers to research the location, name, and date of death for anyone who died between 1897 through 2001 in Connecticut. The details from this index can also be used when one wants to request a copy of a death certificate from the City Clerk listed in the search results. Many Connecticut death indexes are also arranged by year and in alphabetical order by surname. For this reason, they are often searchable with a decedent's first or last name.

Interested individuals can search a Connecticut death index at a vital records office or public library. Online access to such indexes may be offered on a public library's website or a third-party public records provider's website. One may also find indexes to Connecticut death notices (paid newspaper announcements of deaths) at a public library.

Note that local and state vital records offices do not provide access to Connecticut registries or indexes online, nor do they allow ineligible people to search outside the state's genealogical years (less than 50 years of a date of death). Furthermore, the registrars do not provide other United States death registries to requesters.

How to Find an Obituary for a Specific Person in Connecticut

Record seekers on the search for an obituary in Connecticut should have some information about the deceased person to simplify the search. For example, the decedent's full name, place of birth/death, date of death, the publishing newspaper, and the obituary publication date. Obituaries act as an official form of notification when someone passes away.

Obituary searches are hardly easy to find unless you know every detail about the decedent. In Connecticut, newspapers and public libraries carry detailed and extensive information about obituaries for interested persons. On the other hand, online databases contain as much detailed information concerning obituaries for individuals. All the record seeker needs are to add the following details to facilitate the search.

These indexes may bear the following information about a decedent:

  • Full name
  • Age at death
  • Birth parents' names
  • Date and place of death
  • Date and place of birth
  • Place of residence
  • The obituary publisher's name
  • The obituary publication date and page number

Some newspapers also provide databases or listings to aid free obituary searches online. However, they may charge a small fee to retrieve a copy of an obituary.

Local libraries are usually more beneficial and contain more information for obituary searches than state libraries. Online databases are usually the fastest ways to search than physical libraries.

How to Conduct a Free Obituary Search in Connecticut

In many instances, an individual will not have to pay to conduct a free obituary search in Connecticut. Public libraries, which happen to be one of the more preferred places to perform obituary searches in Connecticut usually provide free obituary lookup websites to the members of the public who cannot search records in person. Moreover, several local newspapers, funeral homes, and historical societies publish obituary listings on their websites, which can be examined for free.

Where one may be charged is if they require paper copies of an obituary from a source or if the search requires more effort from staff because it goes further back than the accessible years. Notwithstanding, some sources (like the Connecticut State Library) require payment to release their compiled obituary records.

What is Considered a Death Notice in Connecticut?

A Connecticut death notice is paid notice placed in a newspaper or another publication to officially announce someone's death. This notice, prepared by family members or the funeral home and submitted to newspapers, typically carries the following information:

  • Minor biographical information about a decedent (name, age at death, place of death)
  • Funeral or memorial service arrangements
  • Charity or donation information
  • Predeceased and surviving family members

What is the Difference Between Death Notices and Obituaries?

Death notices and obituaries are the only official means of informing the community of a person’s passing. The difference is that obituaries are longer and contain more information than death notices. For instance, obituaries contain details of the decedent's surviving family, their professional life, and the reason for death. In fact, any standard obituary tells the reader about a decedent's life, accomplishments, and legacy - the aim is to give the reader an idea of how a person lived.

Obituaries are also typically written by news reporters or editors. In these cases, a family member can request or suggest information that should be included in the obituary, but the newspaper decides whether to write it.