Bowling Green, Kentucky – Death Records, 1877-1913


Death certificates were not required by state statute in Kentucky until 1911. Prior to that, some municipalities did collect information related to deaths. In Bowling Green a “Return of a Death” certificate was completed to attest to the death of an individual. Completed returns were filed with the City Clerk in order to obtain a permit for burial within the City of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The returns consist of two parts: 1) a Physician’s Certificate Preparatory to Burial, which states the deceased’s name, sex, race, age, marital status, date of death, cause of death, and duration of last illness; and 2) an Undertaker’s Certificate in Relation to Deceased, which states the deceased’s occupation, place of birth, residence, length of residence, parent’s names (if a minor), place of intended interment, and date of intended interment. Note: many of the death returns are not complete in all of the above details. In addition, where the death occurred outside the county and the remains were returned for burial, additional or substitute documentation from the jurisdiction where the death occurred may be present.


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