“I think my house is haunted. Can you see if anyone died or was murdered in my house?”
Believe it or not, this is a popular question at a library reference desk. I thought about this subject quite a bit when I saw Jennifer Holik’s house history presentation last year. Before the advent of modern hospitals and nursing homes, most natural deaths occurred at a family or individual’s place of residence. This is still a trend today, as seen with at-home nursing services.
I haven’t found a definitive way to search for a death by way of address. My ‘go to’ resources will allow for searches by city, township, county, state, or any of those combinations together. This has limited genealogists, as there is not a definitive way to search for everyone who has died at a specific address. In the instance of family members with differing last names who may have resided/died in a home, researchers are limited to searches for known individuals. Inevitably, people fall through the cracks.
Which brings me to diedinhouse.com. For a search fee of $11.99, the website and their researchers will find death records by address. I was suspicious of this, as modern deaths may not be a problem, but finding deaths prior to 1990 may be an issue. Sure enough, the site cannot guarantee search results prior to the 1990s due to a lack of digitization records. There is an indication that records may be available from the 1940s onward, but information is limited in the FAQs of the site.
I don’t see this site as a golden ticket to genealogists, or most people looking for solutions to a haunted house, but it brings up an intriguing concept: When will genealogists have an opportunity to search for records by address? When? I ask, WHEN?
Would address death searches be useful to you? Post your response today!
See you at the Library!