What are Death Records in New Jersey?
A New Jersey death record is defined as a vital record that serves as evidence for a death that occurred within the state. A death record also referred to as a death certificate, details events surrounding death such as how, when, and where it occurred. Examples of information contained in a New Jersey death record include:
- Deceased’s full name
- Place of death
- Last place of residence
- Date of birth and death, including age
- State file number
- Social security number
- Parental and marital information
- Deceased’s biodata, including sex, color or race, etc.
- Informant’s details and signature
- Funeral director’s details and signature
Death records can be used when prioritizing medical and health-related research efforts, public health interventions for genealogical research, health-related funding, processing motor vehicle transfers, pension claims, bonds, stocks, and life insurance benefits. New Jersey death records are vital documents required to close bank accounts, transfer real and personal property titles, track death trends, and provide end result data for research studies. Government agencies also use death records to update electoral registers, passport records, government benefits paid, etc.
How are Death Records Created in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, a death record is created based on the information gathered and documented by a licensed funeral director after a death that occurred within the state. A licensed funeral director coordinates the death registration process. It must be completed and filed within the time range prescribed by the local registrar where the death certificate is obtained. A death certificate may be filed electronically with the “New Jersey Electronic Death Registration System,” “NJ-EDRS,” or non-electronically at the local registrar’s office. The NJ-EDRS was designed and maintained by the State registrar and can be used to complete a certification of death or fetal death record that is authorized.
The creation of a death record in New Jersey involves three steps:
- Completion of the deceased’s personal and statistical information.
- Determining and filing the cause of the death.
- Registering the information generated with the local registrar
- Completion of the deceased’s personal and statistical information
Here, the licensed funeral director in charge of the death case obtains necessary information on the deceased’s, including the deceased’s personal and statistical data required to complete the certificate of death. The funeral director gets the information needed from a qualified informant who gives accurate information on the deceased.
- Determining and filing the cause of the death
Medical certification is required to determine the cause of the deceased’s death. This process is usually completed by the physician responsible for the patient's care before the death or a licensed medical examiner in the state. The information on the cause of the death is then filed with the NJ-EDRS electronically or non electronically with the local register
- Registering the information generated with the local registrar
When the funeral director, attending, resident, or covering physician, medical examiner completes their part of the death certificate, it is filed with the local registrar for certification. After which, it can be issued to eligible applicants.
What is the Difference Between a Death Certificate and Other Death Records?
There are various documents relating to an individual's death, including death certificate, obituary index, burial and reburial records, cemetery records, transit and disinterment records. All these documents contain important information about the deceased relating to the type of burial, the location where the decedent was buried, etc.
The difference between New Jersey death certificates and other death records is their significance. For example, the death certificate is the most comprehensive death record. It contains specific information about the deceased, the demography of the deceased, and the method of disposition of the body. The death certificate is the only valid official information that a death has occurred as it bears the pronouncement or certification of death by a professional. Other records rely on this confirmation provided by the state death certificate.
Are Death Certificates Public in New Jersey?
No, death certificates are not public in New Jersey. Certified copies can only be accessed by people that are related to the deceased such as
- Spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner
- Legal guardian/legal representative
- A state or federal agency for official purpose
- Pursuant to a court order
- A bank, title, or insurance company for official purposes
However, the individual requester must show proof of relationship to the deceased when requesting the death certificate. This relationship evidence can be submitted in person or via email. Individuals must note that original copies of evidence must be provided when submitting in person.
On the other hand, uncertified copies of death certificates are available to the public in New Jersey based on request and the payment of the specified fee.
How to Find Death Records Online in New Jersey?
The Office of Vital Statistics and Registry of the New Jersey Department of Health does not maintain an online registry where individuals can look up death records. These records can only be accessed when they are ordered online. However, the New Jersey State Archives provides access to a searchable database where individuals can look up death records. The database indexes death certificates filed with the New Jersey Department of Health between June 1878 and December 1900. Note that only the deceased’s basic information can be looked up for free. An individual will be required to pay $10 to access the full record. The accessible information includes the deceased’s name, age, sex, race, location, death date, and citation. Interested persons may search the database by combining first and/or last name, gender, county, race, and/or years.
Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional, 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 a specific record or multiple records. In order 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 New Jersey
Most death records search in New Jersey are done via the state vital records office. The searches are by name and address. Individuals interested in the record will provide the deceased's full name and the last address in the record request form- the application form to be submitted to the agency maintaining the record. For instance, the application form for death record search in New Jersey is usually sent to the New Jersey State Archives, specifying the names and addresses of the deceased.
On the other hand, most online third-party search tools do not index the location where the deceased died. It is, therefore, mainly through names that death records are looked up.
Death Record Search by Address
When conducting a death records search in New Jersey, it is required to mention the deceased place of death. However, when trying to search out if a death has occurred in a particular house or home, the only way to do that is to search by the address where people that have stayed in that home died.
It should be noted that searching by address, in this case, underscores the fact that the name of the deceased is already known. Some specific websites offer this service, but their search only covers a fraction of the volume of deaths that have occurred across the United States
How to Find Death Records for Free in New Jersey?
Death records at the Office of Vital Statistics and Registry of the New Jersey Department of Health are accessible only upon the payment of a nominal fee. However, authorized persons can request one free copy of a veteran’s death certificate via mail only, but any additional copy of the veteran’s death certificate requested will be subject to the normal statutory fee.
Individuals can view abridged versions of death records on the New Jersey State Archives’ searchable database. The database contains records of deaths that occured between June 1878 and December 1900. Although a $10 fee will be required to access a full record, the abridged versions contain necessary information about the deceased, including the deceased’s name, age, sex, race, location, death date, and citation.
Where Can I Get Death Records in New Jersey?
A requester can obtain a copy of a New Jersey death record at the state’s Department of Health’s Office of Vital Statistics and Registry. The Office of Vital Statistics preserves and provides access to death records dated from 1919 to the present. Persons interested in older records can query the New Jersey State Archives, as records of deaths that occured between June 1878 and December 1900 can be obtained there.
The Office of Vital Statistics and Registry provides access to certified copies, certifications, and records with an Apostille Seal. When obtaining a death record, the information required includes the full name on the record, the city or county where the death occurred, and the year the death occurred. A requester may write and mail an application with the required fee, necessary documentation, requester’s proof of relationship to the person listed on the death record being requested (only if requesting a certified copy), and a valid ID to:
Office of Vital Statistics & Registry
NJ Department of Health
P.O. Box 370
Trenton, NJ 08625-0370
Note that if a relationship to the deceased can not be verified, a certified copy will not be sent. Instead, the requester will be sent a non-certified document containing the person’s name, death date, parent’s’ name, and place of death only. Social security numbers and cause of death will be withheld. Note that an uncertified copy cannot be used for legal purposes.
The Office of Vital Statistics and Registry encourages requesters to use the Online Request portal to request death records as it is considered faster than mailing a written application. A requester can verify which documents need to be uploaded by using the Document Selector. To complete an online request, a requester will need:
- Credit card or debit card
- Valid driver’s license or 2 forms of alternate ID
- Proof of relationship, change of name and/or address, if applicable
Online orders will be shipped via the requester’s selected method. Online orders are not available for pick up at the walk-in office. When a requester places an order, the status of the order can be checked on the Status of Online Order portal with the requester’s confirmation number.
For questions and inquiries regarding ordering online, call (609) 528-9316.
Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Death Certificate in New Jersey?
Anyone can get an uncertified copy of a New Jersey death certificate. However, a certified copy will only be accessible by the deceased’s immediate family such as a decadent spouse, parents, child, brother, or sister. Certified copies have the raised seal of the office issuing the record and are usually issued on State of New Jersey safety paper. Certified copies may be used for official purposes as they are legal documents. They can also be used to establish identity, unlike uncertified copies that are basically informational and are not considered legal documents. Uncertified copies do not contain the deceased’s Social Security Number or the Cause of Death medical terminology.
How Much Does a Death Certificate Cost in New Jersey?
The costs associated with a New Jersey death certificate include:
- First copy of death certificate - $25.00
- Each additional copy of same record - $2.00 for each one
- Identity Verification Fee - $5.00
- For genealogical applications only, additional years can be searched at a fee of $1 for each additional year.
- Additional names or counties can be searched at an additional fee of $25 each.
For online requests the following additional costs are incurred:
- Standard Processing Fee - $5.00
- Online authentication fee - $5 (non-refundable)
- Shipping fee via UPS carrier - $12.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Death Certificate in New Jersey?
Currently, it takes between 8-12 weeks to process a New Jersey death certificate request. Delivery time varies depending on the shipping options, which could be USPS First Class or UPS Next Day Air. Selecting the Next Day Air mailing option does not reduce the processing time. The orders will only be shipped after the standard processing time.
Note that the COVID-19 pandemic is also taking a toll on the processing and delivery of the records. For instance, international shipping is presently suspended which makes international orders take longer than the normal 20-day shipping spans.
How Long to Keep Records After Death
It is required that a death record is kept as a permanent legal document serving official purposes, such as evidence to prove the date of death. The IRS statute of limitations for a tax return audit is three years. Consequently, the IRS is authorized to randomly audit the deceased's tax returns for the first three years after the death. The deceased's death record will be required to carry out the audit. It is advisable to retain in possession all financial records for at least seven years after the death before discarding them.
How to Expunge Your Death Records in New Jersey?
Expungement refers to a court-ordered process involving the removal of a record under a court’s authority. Typically expungement helps delete off traces of an event that occurred in the past. It is advantageous to the record’s subject as it helps keep away any record that the record’s subject wishes to keep confidential. New Jersey does not statutorily provide for the expungement of death records.
How to Seal Your Death Records in New Jersey?
New Jersey does not statutorily provide for the sealing of death records.
How to Unseal Your Death Records in New Jersey?
New Jersey does not statutorily provide for the unsealing of death records.
How to Use the New Jersey Death Registry
Death records in New Jersey are indexed in different platforms such as New Jersey State Archives and New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics and Registry.
The New Jersey State Archives keeps death records from 1931-1960. Individuals who want death records between this year must visit the New Jersey State Archives office in person to carry out a search. The reason for the in-person search is because vital records are not public records in New Jersey. Therefore, they cannot be subjected to an online search.
Also, the New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics and Registry maintains death records from 1931. Individuals who needs the death records for this year can check with the local vital records office in the county where the event occurred.
How to Find an Obituary for a Specific Person in New Jersey
Conducting a New Jersey obituary search is relatively more straightforward because of the availability of various online resources. These online databases include many newspapers, third-party agencies, and websites of funeral homes.
Anyone interested in conducting a New Jersey obituary search for a specific person can begin from any newspaper, especially anyone in the town or city where the deceased lived or died. One can check for new obituaries or search the archives of those newspapers for older obituaries.
Likewise, individuals can search the databases of the many third-party agencies offering obituary search services to locate the obituary of a specific person in the state or visit public libraries in the town or city where someone died or lived. Many of these libraries subscribed to the local newspapers, which may have been used to publish the obituary of such a person in New Jersey.
How to Conduct a Free Obituary Search in New Jersey
Free obituary lookup in New Jersey can be done online using the websites of local newspapers. Alternatively, one can carry out a free obituary search at the public libraries in the state. Often, these public libraries house the newspaper archives. Hence, individuals can visit the public libraries in person to carry out a comprehensive search. However, individuals may pay a copy fee.
Also, the New Jersey State Archives is a good place to perform free obituary lookups in the state. One can easily locate old records and newspaper issues containing obituaries in the state archives.
What are New Jersey Death Notices?
New Jersey death notices are announcements made by the deceased family to inform the public of a person's passing. These announcements are usually published in local newspaper and requires a fee payment.
What is the Difference Between Death Notices and Obituaries?
The major difference between death notices and obituaries is in its purpose. The main purpose of death notices is to give an announcement or information to the people regarding someone's death while the main purpose of obituaries is to give detailed information about the death and the deceased life. It goes far beyond an announcement.
Also, obituaries tend to be lengthy while death notices are short. As a result, obituaries are more costly than death notices.