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Oregon State Archives


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Portland Death Records

The records document deaths in the City of Portland. Prior to the passage of legislation that required the recording of deaths at the state level, the City of Portland passed a local ordinance that required the recording of deaths within the city. Although there are a few records that record deaths that occurred earlier, the bulk of the records begin in March 1881. The records end with deaths recorded in September 1917.

The record may include the following information:

Name of deceased (in cases where the deceased was an infant the parent's name may be included in the name field);
Age at the time of death (listed as years, months, days, or hours);
Cause of death;
Volume number.

In many instances an actual death certificate does not exist, but there is an entry in the register created by the city as the records were filed. If there is a volume number indicating no certificate exists then the information is taken from the register.

Because the requirement to file death records was by local ordinance, deaths occurring in areas outside the city's boundaries will not be found here. Linnton, St. John's, Albina and many of the areas now part of Portland were annexed into the city in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. Some people did come from outlying areas to Portland because of access to more advanced health care, so there are instances of deaths occurring in Portland when in fact the family resided outside of the city. Additionally there are some deaths recorded that occurred outside of Portland but the burial occurred in Portland.

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