The proverbial phrase 'last but not least' applies well with death records. Although it is by nature the last records started on a person, it is just as significant in content as other public records if not more. They can include obituaries, death notices and certificates, cemeteries, burials and funeral matters. Personal particulars like name, age, residence, spouse and other surviving family members, cause of passing and so forth are also set within.
Death records are one of the vital records, along with birth, divorce and marriage. They are typically maintained at a government agency within the locality of where the death takes place or the capital city of the state of residence of the deceased. Being public records, they are made available for public access. Restrictions apply, but essentially, anyone can pull out the death records of anyone as long as procedures are followed.
There are different ways of accessing death reports. One can write in, walk in, telephone, fax, or log in online to the respective government offices or commercial information providers. Expectedly, the most widely employed method is by logging in online via the internet. It is fast, easy and convenient, the information age being largely propelled by digitization, so why not?
There are basically two versions of online death documents, free and fee-based. Government sources are predominantly free, with some charging nominal administrative fees but there don't seem to be any established standards or guidelines as they can be quite varied in many respects. Non-government sources can be free or paid.
There are some websites which provide reasonably decent information free-of-charge but they are likely to have strings attached. A common tactic that is used by commercial information brokers to entice sign-up for their fee-based subscriptions is by offering free search or teaser information. Then again, there's no force involved and free will is retained. Some of them actually deliver very good value for money and thanks to them, Death files won't be dead.