Many early Americans headed out to the "wild West" as the country was first being settled, meaning many of us have ancestors from these western states. Counties have their own death records from 1887 until around 1909 after which the state began to keep state-wide records.
If you are looking for an Arizona death record where the death took place more recently than 50 years ago, you will have to prove that you are an immediate relative of the deceased in order to get a certified copy of the certificate. You will need to be the child, parent or spouse of the deceased, and over 18 years old in order to apply.
For very recent certificates (newer than 2008) you can pick up your records at most county health offices, providing you have an application filled out and the fee ready. Older records (but still more recent than 50 years ago) can only come from the main state office. Mail your completed application to the State Office of Vital Records, PO Box 3887, Phoenix AZ 85030 USA along with a credit card number or money order. They do not take personal checks for fee payment.
You can get a current application from the Arizona Department of Health Services (http://www.azdhs.gov/vitalrcd/pdf/DeathCertApp.pdf) which has a list of the fees and all the office addresses where it can be mailed. The application will require the deceased's name, date of death, social security number and place of death. Also include your own information along with any necessary proof of your relationship to the deceased. Wait time for mailed-in applications is around 3 or more weeks.
For Arizona death records more than 50 years old, they are considered to be public record and can be found without an application or fee.
The easiest way to find these records is through the genealogy website setup by the Arizona Department of Health Services ( http://genealogy.az.gov). There you can search for any specific record from around 1878 until 50 years from today. The images are taken from micofilm records, and you can print them out whenever you wish. Handwriting can be a little hard to read sometimes, depending on the quality of the image and the original record.
If you do not have adequate Internet access to search this way, you can also visit the Arizona State Library in Phoenix. Their Arizona State History and Archives Division also has access to the microfilm records and they are freely accessible to the public.
The specific information included in an Arizona death record will vary by county, usually including the person's name, date of birth, date of death, residence, cause of death, physician's name and sometimes burial details as well.
For other kinds of death records, you can also search through old Arizona newspaper archives for death notices and obituaries. Older records can sometimes be found at local county courthouses as well, if you know the county where your person of interest died.
To request Arizona death certificates, you will need to:
Download and complete the Arizona Death Certificate request form.
Fully complete the form and return along with a copy of your government-issued ID and appropriate fee. Your county's fees can be found on the Department of Health Services website under the fee schedule link.
Return the application along with the appropriate fee to the Department of Health Services. Requests can be made in person or by mail. Requests made by mail should include a self addressed stamped envelope so that your record can be returned to you.
For more information regarding Arizona death records, you can contact the office below:
Arizona Department of Health Services
State Office of Vital Records
1818 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Requesting a Copy of Arizona Death Records
Since Arizona is a "closed record" state, only certain individuals are able to access Arizona death records. If you are eligible to receive a copy of these records, then you will need to file an application with the Arizona Department of Health Services by mail or in person.
Retrieving Arizona Death Records
A copy of Arizona Death Records can be made in person at the Department of Health Services or by mail. In some cases, deaths that occurred within 30 days will have records available through the county health department in the county where the death occurred.
Closed Restrictions for Death Records
Because Arizona death records are not considered public information, only certain people are authorized to receive a copy. In order to request Arizona death records, you must be a spouse or immediate family member of the deceased or a qualified attorney. In some cases, third parties, private investigators, and genealogical researchers can obtain Arizona death records if they meet certain qualifications set up by the state.