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Wyoming Vital Records: Death

Need a Wyoming birth or death certificate? Perhaps a marriage or divorce record? Wondering what to expect in it? Find out here.

Documenting Wyoming Deaths Since 1909

WSA Meyers Neg 4266, Gordon Lathan at grave site of wife Ellen R Lathan, Cheyenne, Wyoming, ca 1916

Pre-1909 Deaths

Though the State of Wyoming did not begin to keep track of deaths until 1909, a death record may still be available

  • Delayed Death Certificates: These are issued by the Department of Health for deaths that happened long before the certificate was issued (ex. issued in 1940 for a death in 1910). This was not usually done unless it was needed as legal proof of a death. In most cases, other records sufficed. 
  • Local Death Registers: Some communities registered deaths at the local or county level prior to 1909. Most of these have been transferred to the Wyoming State Archives and a listing of names is available on-site or by request.

- Albany County: deaths beginning in 1899

- Laramie County: deaths from 1896 to 1900

Stillbirths and Miscarriages

Most miscarriages were not issued certificates unless they were nearly full term. Some early stillbirths were issued either birth or death certificates or both. Today, if no heartbeat is detected nor a breath taken at birth, Vital Records classifies the event as a fetal death and issues a fetal death certificate. If a heartbeat is detected or breath taken after birth but the child does not survive, both a birth and a death certificate are issued.

Regardless of the form used to register a fetal death, the information becomes an open public record 50 years following the event and may be requested by any member of the public.

Where can I order a copy?

Was the death UNDER 50 years ago? 

The certificate is not yet an open public record. Contact Wyoming Vital Statistics.


Was the death OVER 50 years ago?

The certificate is an open public record. Contact or visit the Wyoming State Archives.


Are they available online?

No, not at this time, though there is a partial database available on the Wyoming State Archives website for pre-1939 certificates.

Anatomy of an Death Certificate


Death certificate for Eleanor Pruitt Stewart, author of Letters of a Woman Homesteader. (Wyoming Vital Records death certificate #1665, 1933)

Death certificates contain a wealth of information about an individual, including:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause(s) of death and length of illness
  • Deceased's home address
  • Demographic information (sex, age, race, marital status, etc.)
  • Deceased's occupation
  • Name of parents and their places of birth
  • Date and place of death and burial

Some of this information is only as good as the informant's knowledge and memory, so be sure to check for corroborating evidence when using a death certificate in genealogical research.

For more information on using a death certificate in genealogical research, check out this article on the Wyoming State Archives' blog, Wyoming Postscripts. 

Additional Resources

For more information on a death, or to find corroborating records, look for:

  • Obituary, death or funeral announcements in the local newspaper
  • Funeral records at the family church
  • Funeral home records
  • Coroner's Inquest files (suspicious or unattended deaths)
  • Probate case files (court records)
  • Cemetery records
  • Family bibles

Why 50 years?

Death certificates and the information they contain is very useful to identity thieves. To better protect Wyomingites, the Wyoming Department of Health has restricted these records for 50 years and require an application and proof of identity to view those created less than 50 years ago. After that time has passed, the certificates become open public records, available to anyone without an application.

Is This A Primary Source?

Maybe. Portions of death certifications contain primary source information, including:

  • Date of Death
  • Place of Death
  • Cause of death
  • Place of burial

Some of the information is based upon the informant's knowledge of the deceased. This information would be considered a secondary source and may not be correct, especially if the informant was not close to the deceased.

  • Deceased's full name
  • Birth date
  • Place of birth
  • Parent's names and places of birth

While this information may give you a place to start looking, it is always good to look for other corroborating documents.

Citing a Death Certificate

Citations are an important part of documenting your search and add credibility (and reliability) to your research.

[Name of person], [year/certificate number], death certificate, Vital Statistics Unit, Wyoming Department of Health, [repository].

For Example:

Eleanor Pruitt Stewart, 1933/#1665, death certificate, Vital Statistics Unit, Wyoming Department of Health, as on file at the Wyoming State Archives.


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