If you are doing research into Kentucky death records, you will have little difficulty finding them for the years after 1911 (which when the state began to keep official records). There are no privacy restrictions, and you can request a copy of a death certificate regardless of the time of death or your own relationship is to the deceased. Even records prior to 1911 can be found if you search through the local library and archives, which will be explained further below.
To access the main state collection of records, you just have to fill in an application and either mail it in or drop it off in person. You will get while-you-wait service if you go to the Frankfort office, otherwise, there will be about a month's wait time for mailed requests.
The address is the Office of Vital Statistics, 275 East Main Street 1E-A, Frankfort KY, 40621 USA and they have regular office hours if you choose to visit in person. As long as you arrive before 3:30pm, you should get your records before you leave.
You can get the proper form to request a Kentucky death record from the Department of Health Services website (http://chfs.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/6EDD691B-9399-460A-BDEA-7823BE5694D9/0/vs31Rev0210.pdf). Its only one page long and easy to fill out, requiring only basic information about the deceased. You need to indicate their name, date and place of death, and age at the time of death. You also need to include your own contact information so your record can be mailed once found.
As well as the completed form, you also have to include a $6 USD fee for each record you are searching for. These fees do change periodically so always read the form to make sure you are paying the right amount. You can pay by either check or money order, made out the the Kentucky State Treasurer. If they can't find your Kentucky death record, you won't get your money back so make sure you've given all the information you can.
That's the best way to get a death record for any deaths after 1911, but there are a few other sources of information for events prior to that year. From around 1852 until 1911, the counties did collect death information and you can always contact the registrar's office to see if they have additional records that the state does not. Also, some cities have their own records collections from these years. Louisville has death records from 1866 and Newport goes back to 1884, for example.
Contact the Kentucky Historical Society if you are still having trouble. They know more about old records for this state than most, and they have their own indexes for the years between 1852 and 1878. If you are in the Frankfort area, the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives also has a large collection of early Kentucky death records, or at least their indexes. Their archive is open to the public but there is no way to search except in person.
How to request Kentucky death certificates by mail:
To start a request, you will need to download and complete the Kentucky Death Certificate application.
You will need to know the full name of the deceased, exact death date, and the county where the death occurred. You will also need to include your contact information with the request.
Include a check or money order covering the $10 search fee and mail in your request. Applications take approximately 30 days to process by mail.
For more assistance on accessing Kentucky death records or for questions, you can contact the Department below:
Kentucky Department of Public Health
Office of Vital Statistics
275 E. Main St. 1E-A
Frankfort, KY 40621
How To Access Kentucky Death Records
If you need to access Kentucky death records for personal or genealogical reasons, you can make a request through the Kentucky Department of Health. Kentucky death records have been maintained by the state since 1911, but can only be accessed by the public by making a formal request with an application and the appropriate fee.
Ways You Can Order Records
Kentucky death records can be ordered in multiple ways. If you do not need the death certificate immediately, you can send in a completed application by mail. Records can also be accessed online and by phone, though an additional fee will apply. You can also visit the office in person to make your request.
Who Can Request Death Records?
In order to request Kentucky death records, you will need to prove your relationship to the deceased. Otherwise, you will need to provide the appropriate documentation demonstrating your legal need to access the record.