SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — FamilySearch™, in conjunction with the Genealogical Society of Utah and the Utah State Archives and Records Service, announced today that the state’s free online index to death certificates is now linked to original images of the historic documents.

The integration of the index with free digital pictures of the death certificates issued from 1905 to 1954 by the state will open doors to additional information for family historians and genealogists with Utah ties.

To search the index and view the certificates, users need to go to http://historyresearch.utah.gov/indexes/index.html.

The online index to 250,000+ Utah deaths was created by the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics and has searchable information limited to the name of the deceased person, his date of death, sex, and where he died.

The Utah State Archives turned to FamilySearch to help them get the digital images online. FamilySearch digitized the images and provided the technology to link the images of the certificates to the state’s online index. The linking process was completed incredibly fast for a project of this nature and magnitude — a few weeks. The names of Utah’s deceased are now very much alive, searchable, and viewable online — and for free.

“There is so much more information of family history importance that can be found on the certificate itself,” said Glen Fairclough, processing and reference archivist for the Utah State Archives. Before the certificates were viewable online, Fairclough said patrons had to order copies through the mail for a fee or visit the state archives office in person.

“The value of viewing the image of the original death certificate is that it saves you time, money, and provides rich genealogy data for the family historian,” said Paul Nauta, manager of public affairs for FamilySearch. Captured on a death certificate are the names and birth places of the deceased person’s parents, place and date of the decedent’s birth, marital status, occupation, permanent residence, place and date of burial, time of death, chief cause and contributory factors of death, and if applicable, where illness was contracted and the duration of the illness.

Users merely need to type in an ancestor’s name who died in Utah between 1905 to 1954, and they will be directed to a brief summary of the ancestor’s death certificate with a link to view the original image. Users need to simply click on the certificate image to see a larger, high quality view of the original death certificate.

For more information about the FamilySearch digital image linking technology or services, record custodians should contact Brad Wilkes, wilkeswb@ldschurch.org.

FamilySearch is a nonprofit subsidiary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It maintains the world’s largest repository of genealogical resources with vital records from over 110 countries, territories and possessions. FamilySearch promotes family history (genealogical) preservation and access efforts through the services of FamilySearch.org, the Genealogical Society of Utah, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and more than 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.