Most counties started collecting Minnesota death records in 1870, with the state collection beginning in 1908. You can even go back to 1867 in Benton county but that is not the norm. You can contact the county registrar's offices to access their archives and see how far back their records go.
Early records right up to the present can be researched for free at the Minnesota Historical Society website (http://people.mnhs.org/dci/) though only the index can be searched this way. It does help narrow down your search so you can make an accurate request from the Vital Records office later.
You can only request a copy of a Minnesota death record if you are an immediate relative of the person on the record. You can have access to records as long as the deceased is your own child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, spouse or sibling. Legal representatives can also have access.
The forms for a request are on the Department of Health's website (http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/osr/certdeath.pdf) and they are fairly extensive compared to other states. You will need to include the completed forms along with documentation of your own identity and relationship to the deceased, the required fees and your signature must be notarized.
Fees for a Minnesota death record are currently $13 USD each, with additional copies costing $6. For mailed-in applications, you can pay the fee by check or money order made out to the Minnesota Department of Health. If you wish to pay by credit card, you can also fax your forms instead. In the case that the record you want is not found, no refunds are issued. Instead, you will get a notice of "files not found".
The forms will need you to name the deceased person's full name, where they died, the date of death and either their date of birth or estimated age when they died. You also have to indicate what your relationship is to the deceased and provide proof of that.
Mailing address for the entire package is the Minnesota Department of Health, Central Cashiering - Vital Records, PO Box 64499, St. Paul MN, 55164-0499 USA. Most applications will take between 4 and 6 weeks to get back to you with your records. You can speed the process up somewhat by faxing to 651-201-5740 (only when paying by credit card).
You may also order a non-certified copy of a Minnesota death record, which is just a plain paper transcript of the record itself. This may be a good choice as you do not need to prove a relationship to the deceased. You can get the form for this (http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/osr/noncertdeath.pdf) at the same website, and the fees are still the same and you will still need a notarized signature.
Not all counties recorded their death records the same, particularly in the earlier years. The records you get will include the deceased's name, date of death, date of birth, location of death, as well as possibly their occupation, marital status and parent's names.
How to request Minnesota death certificates by mail:
To make a request by mail for Minnesota death records, you will need to complete a Minnesota Death Certificate form.
This form must be notarized and any supporting documentation included in order for the request to be processed.
Include a check or money order covering the search fee. A fee schedule is listed on the application, and requests start at $13.
For more information on how to access Minnesota death records and for all questions, contact:
Minnesota Department of Health
Central Cashiering – Vital Records
P.O. Box 64499
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0499
How To Request Minnesota Death Records
For access to Minnesota death records, you will need to contact the Minnesota Department of Health. The Department maintains all the death records for the state and processes all requests for copies.
Ways You Can Place Your Order
The easiest way to order Minnesota death records is to place an application by mail. Simply complete the application as directed and mail along with the appropriate fees. Requests can also be made by faxing in your application along with a credit card number.
Must Demonstrate Tangible Interest
Minnesota death records are considered confidential in many cases, which means that you will need to be able to demonstrate tangible interest in order to receive a copy. This includes being a direct relative of the deceased or a legal representative. You may be asked for documentation to prove your interest in the record.