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How do I get a Death Certificate?

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texasvet

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Hello All,

My wife's brother was killed in Vietnam and she would like to get a copy of his Death Certificate.  Her dad is still living at 94 and he does not have one, nor does he remember getting one.

She contacted Ft. Sam Houston, where his gravesite is, and they had no record.  She contacted Bexar county and they no record.

Any advice on where I could start?

Thanks,

Texasvet 

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I would start with other family members.  A  94 year old's responses, tho we sure love em, are not always that useful, and his memory may not be all that reliable, either.  

Some people record the dd214 with the local county, but most dont do that anymore for reasons of identity theft.  

It would not hurt to check.  

And, you can possibly check with his county clerk and recorder.  Not your's, but the county and state he was in when he entered military service.  

It may take some legwork, and, Im not sure of your reason's for wanting this death certificate, but it may or may not be worth it for you to do this legwork.  

If you know the "unit" he was in that may help.  In particular, his social security number, which could well be in family records.  If you are an heir, and you could be, its possible there is life insurance money available that has never been paid.  It would not be the first time it ever happened.  

If he had a will, the will should/would specify a executor of the estate,and this person should have a copy, and more information.  

You could try asking your 94 year old in law's for tax returns..his social secuirty number may be one one of the older returns.  

I have no idea if its important enough to you to go through this, it could well be worth it if the life insurance has not been cashed it.  

I seem to recall that troops have $250,000 worth of life insurance but I dont really know.  Hope this helps.  

 

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On 8/23/2023 at 4:14 PM, broncovet said:

I would start with other family members.  A  94 year old's responses, tho we sure love em, are not always that useful, and his memory may not be all that reliable, either.  

Some people record the dd214 with the local county, but most dont do that anymore for reasons of identity theft.  

It would not hurt to check.  

And, you can possibly check with his county clerk and recorder.  Not your's, but the county and state he was in when he entered military service.  

It may take some legwork, and, Im not sure of your reason's for wanting this death certificate, but it may or may not be worth it for you to do this legwork.  

If you know the "unit" he was in that may help.  In particular, his social security number, which could well be in family records.  If you are an heir, and you could be, its possible there is life insurance money available that has never been paid.  It would not be the first time it ever happened.  

If he had a will, the will should/would specify a executor of the estate,and this person should have a copy, and more information.  

You could try asking your 94 year old in law's for tax returns..his social secuirty number may be one one of the older returns.  

I have no idea if its important enough to you to go through this, it could well be worth it if the life insurance has not been cashed it.  

I seem to recall that troops have $250,000 worth of life insurance but I dont really know.  Hope this helps.  

 

I should have put the reason that my wife wants a copy of her brother's death certificate in my OP.  She would like to get Gold Star Family plates to honor his memory.  As far as I know, Gold Star plates in Texas don't come with any special privileges, it's just something that she has seen on vehicles through the years and she has decided to pursue getting them.

 

texasvet

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If you know when he died, you can likely find an obituary in the paper.  And, that should/would likely list the funeral home.  

Contact the funeral home and ask for a copy of the death certificate.  

I will reiterate the life insurance.  Troops have life insurance..automatically.  While this may not be about money, money may well solve the problem and a few more, too.  

Its peculiar that the county "has no record".  That can happen for several reasons:

1.  Your mother asked for records of his nickname vs an "official name" on his birth certificate.  My brother was "always" called Corky, but his official name was George.  

2.  The county employee may not have been skilled enough, or too lazy, to look it up.  It would help, again, to have the date.  Not too many things are recorded on a given date in a county, and browse through those.  Remember, the record could have been filed weeks, or even months after the date of his death.  In my county, you can ask to see the public records..often they are on Microfilm/Microfiche if they are older records.  An employee should be able to show you how to use the microfilm/fiche reader in the event these records have not been digitized and put on computer.  In the late sixties and 70's (Vietnam war era), many clerk and recorders used microfilm to store records.  It would cost a lot to digitize all the county records, and there may or may not be funding to digitize (computerize so they are easily searchable) all the county's records.  So, ask another employee, and try again.  Show up at the county courthouse, phoning that in may not be productive.  

      Another way is to check with "funeral homes" in that area, especially those who have been in business since the 1960's and ongoing.  If you get a copy of the death certificate from the funeral home, surely you could take that to the county to get an official one, if necessary for proof.  The county clerk and recorder can make "certified" copies of records that are generally considered legal evidence.  It may cost a few dollars to have the county clerk "certify" the document.  

 

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I'd check the social security death list, for where he died.  I'd also check with his home of record state, ie; where he entered the service.  The question doesn't say if he entered from TX.  jmo

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