Michigan death records public and available for anyone to reference, via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The State of Michigan has death records have recorded deaths as far back as 1867 and these can be easily researched online through public record websites. You will need to have the full name of the person you are researching, including their middle name. Then you can proceed with your MI death record lookup by entering the full name of the person into the search field and searching. Once your results have displayed, it is possible that you will have multiple listings since many people that have died in Michigan have the same first and last name. It will also be helpful to know their age at death, birth date or the year they died, which will help you identify the right record for the correct person.
Why Run a Michigan Death Record Search?
Whether you are tracing your ancestry, researching something historical, or handling a loved one’s estate after they have died, public record repositories and the State of Michigan makes it easy for you to research MI death records. The United States is one of the few countries where public records are so accessible and the state of Michigan has a multitude of public record resources that you can access online. These types of public records are classified as vital records, which basically means it’s a recorded life event that is publicly documented. A person’s birth record and marriage record are also considered vital records.
What You Can Find on a Michigan Death Record
A Michigan death record can include important information about a person’s public identity, vital records, circumstances about the death, and immediate family. Some information may vary depending on what was recorded and what is publicly available. The following list outlines what you might find online:
- Full name of the deceased
- Date, and possibly time of death
- Location of the death, county and state
- Address and residency at time of death
- Birth date, time and location
- Age, Gender and Ethnicity
- Marital status and spouse’s name
- Education level, academic degrees
- If they are a veteran or served in the military
- Occupation or what industry they worked in
- Full name and maiden name of mother and father
- Birthplace and DOB of parents (not always listed)
- The cause of death (not always listed)
- Medical examiner, coroner or the medical physician
- Place of rest, burial or cremation
Official Michigan Death Certificates are maintained by the state and only immediate family can access the actual death certificate however, the information contained on this certificate is part of a person’s public death record that can be viewed online for reference and research by anyone. It is also important to note that some of the MI death record information may vary depending on the county or jurisdiction it was reported in and what information was available about the death.
How to Get a Michigan Death Certificate
A certified copy of a Michigan death certificates are available for immediate family or court order only. They are official government document that must be obtained directly from the state. When applying for a Certified Copy of a Michigan Death Certificate, it will contain an official seal and can be requested from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. You can visit their website and make a request online or via mail for a nominal fee. They are the managing state agency that archives and indexes these records. They offer access to MI death certificates and records from 1867 to the present. You will need to verify your identity and relation to the deceased in order to obtain an official certificate of death. Processing times may vary, and the physical certificate of death will be mailed to the requestee.
This type of record is necessary when you are reporting a loved one’s death to the Social Security Administration, banks, insurance company, or other lenders, etc. It serves as a proof of death. A MI death certificate will also hold much more information about a person’s death, such as cause of death, the medical examiner or coroner, and a more detailed account of a person’s family. Unofficial death records that are only useful for research may include obituaries, copies of wills, photographic evidence of a tombstone, or cemetery records.
Accessing Michigan Death Records Online
There are a few options when researching Michigan death information online. Many people want to know more about their family history and want to lookup older death information, while others may want to verify a recent death of a friend or relative. Below are a few ways to access the vital records you are interested in:
- Public record websites: You can quickly research most any public record of death in Michigan with a simple name search. These third party public record resources offer fast results and anonymous searching. You can often find a lot more information though these resources than state run agencies. The only caveat is how far back you can search, some online public record resources only have records for the last 50 years, so you will want to determine how far back to go
- Genealogy websites are great for access historical information to build a family tree. These website often also have immigration information, naturalization information and vital records that go back hundreds of years.
- The Michigan Vital Statistics Office is a good resource if you are looking for death records from 1948 through present day, you can search records yourself online for free through the Michigan Vital Statistics web portal, provided by the State of Michigan. It is a simple website that includes search tips to help you, and it can be searched with as little as a last name. You can however only request a certificate of death if you are immediate family or you were given permission by the court.
- The Michigan Department of Human and Health Services is another good state run agency that offers access to much older vital records from 1867- present day, there is a fee for the search and retrieval of the record you wish, and the initial fee only covers searching within one death year, so you will want to be certain of that information when you begin. When you are ready with the information and your valid driver’s license or state ID, you can make the request through the Michigan Department of Human and Health Services, and pay with credit or debit card online. This resource is mainly used for people wanting to obtain an official Michigan certificate of death.
Obtaining Michigan Death Records In Person
Requesting a death record in person is also an option, and this can be done by visiting the Vital Records Office, located at 333 S Grand Ave, Lansing, MI. The office is open Monday through Friday 8:00am-5:00pm, but you must present your request by 3:00pm to receive same day service. There is a fee for this service, and you will be required to show proof of identification. For additional information prior to your visit, you can visit their website or email them.
Michigan strives to respect the Freedom of Information Act and make death records available. The State of Michigan Vital Records Office provides easy to follow instructions for your security and ability to obtain the records you need.
Top Causes of Death in Michigan
Many people want to know the cause of death when researching MI death records however, this is not always available. There are circumstances where the cause of death was inconclusive and it was not recorded on the certificate of death. This can be because an autopsy was not performed or the medical examiner could not conclusively figure out the event that led to the person’s death. According to the State of Michigan Health Statistics, the following are some of the leading causes of death in Michigan for 2021:
- Major Cardiovascular Disease
- Heart Diseases
- Various Forms of Cancer
- Ischemic Heart Disease
- Vehicle Related Accidents
- Cerebrovascular Diseases
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Respiratory Disease
- Diabetic Disease
- Influenza, and pneumonia
- Chronic Liver Disease