Pathfinder for Death Records

Stewart Bell Jr. Archives
Handley Regional Library
Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society

P.O. Box 58, Winchester, VA 22604
(540) 662-9041 ext. 17

Revised October 2019

Virginia did not begin recording vital statistics (birth, marriage, and death records) until 1853. Even after this date, the process for collecting information was uneven with data either not reported or not forwarded to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. There was also a break in reporting from 1896 to 1912 when Virginia did not require recording of vital statistics.

Although official death records do not exist until relatively recently, it is still possible to find information about these events from other sources. This pathfinder is designed to help researchers locate these sources in the Archives.

Published Sources for Frederick County
Compilations of death records taken from cemetery records and other sources are available on the open stacks in the Reading Room. Look for the following call numbers:

929.36 Fre for death records
929.5 Fre for cemetery records

Newspaper Obituaries

The Archives holds a number of local newspapers, both in print and on microfilm. The Winchester Star (formerly the Winchester Evening Star) is available on microfilm for the years 1896-2018. The years 1896 to 1915 have been indexed: Index to Obituaries in the Winchester Star, 1896-1915 (PDF)

For a list of other available titles see the following indexes:

Shenandoah Valley Newspapers Microfilm Collection (PDF)
A list of the historic newspapers published in the Shenandoah Valley between 1817 and 1935 and available on microfilm in the Archives Reading Room. Please note that series are incomplete. 

Winchester Newspapers on Microfilm (PDF)
A list of the historic newspapers published in Winchester between 1797 and 2018 and available on microfilm in the Archives Reading Room. Please note that some series are incomplete. Selected titles are also available online through our Advantage Digital Newspaper Archive.

Obituaries and Death Records in Manuscript Collections

Cartmell, Thomas K. Papers, 164 WFCHS, Scrapbook, Miss Mary E.R. Cartmell 1846-1892. Indexed

Henkel, Alfred D. Collection, 162 WFCHS/THL, Scrapbooks 1- 5. Indexed.

Family Bible Records, 1693 WFCHS/THL, Miscellaneous files with manuscript and photocopy excerpts from family Bibles belonging to individuals and families from the Winchester-Frederick County area. Several other collections contain family Bible records and may be found by searching for “Bible Records” in the Handley Library Catalog.

Parrish, John. Journals, 306 WFCHS, Journal, 1875-1885 Birth and Death Abstracts.

Marbert, Lois. Collection, 990 WFCHS/THL, Carper, Edgar W., Notes for obituaries and funeral cards for local residents, 1876-1953, indexed.

Rees, Jonah L. Collection, 370 WFCHS, Scrapbook, Mary Rees 1888-1914. Indexed.

Ritter, Ben Collection, 12 WFCHS, Box 4 Miscellaneous Notes; incomplete index of Winchester newspapers and other sources, 13 folders arranged in alphabetical order.

Sencindiver, Lucille Collection, 1451 WFCHS, Scrapbook. Indexed.

Wayland, John Walter. Papers, 26 WFCHS, Several volumes of tombstone inscriptions from various families in the Winchester-Frederick County and surrounding areas, as well as copies of Bible records. These volumes are also available online through our digital collections.

Funeral Homes (now closed)

*Funk and Ray Records, 984 WFCHS, Funeral Service Records, 1901-1927. Indexed.

*Kurtz Funeral Home Records, 985 WFCHS, 1867-1937. Indexed.

*Parlett Funeral Home Records, 114 THL, 1924-1947.  Indexed

Samsell Funeral Home Records, Stephens City, VA, 1528 WFCHS MMF, 1906-1941. Extracted and indexed.

Shanholtz, Jugertha L. Funeral Records, 1648 WFCHS,  1898-1931. Indexed 

*These records are recorded on CD: Extant Funeral Records of Winchester—Frederick County, VA
929.5 Fre                                                                           

Current Funeral Homes

Note: Virginia State law only requires funeral homes to keep records for 3 years.

Cartwright Funeral Home
232 E. Fairfax Lane Winchester, Virginia
Phone: (540) 662-5282
No dates available for records

Enders & Shirley Funeral Homes & Crematory
5095 Main St., Berryville, VA 22611
Phone: (540) 955-1062
Records kept from 1930 to present

Jones Funeral Home & Crematory
228 S. Pleasant Valley Road, Winchester, VA 22602
Phone: (540) 662-2523
Records kept from 1991 to present on microfiche

Michael R. Phelps and Associates Funeral Directors
5095 Main Street, Stephens City, VA 22655
Phone: (540) 869-6549
Records kept from Sept. 1, 1998 to present

Omps Funeral Home & Cremation Service
1600 Amherst St., Winchester, VA 22601
Phone: (540) 662-6633
Records kept from 1936 to present

Winchester-Frederick County Area Cemeteries

Note: The Archives has some records for the following cemeteries. Researchers should contact the cemetery directly for details of internments.

Catholic Cemetery, Office of Sacred Heart Catholic Church
1717 Amherst Street, Winchester, VA 22601
Phone: (540) 662-5858
Records kept from May 4, 1854 to present
Location of cemetery: Corner of N. Loudoun and Pall Mall

Orrick Cemetery
Phone: (540) 662-9763
Location of cemetery: Valley Avenue
See also, Orrick Cemetery Records, 250 THL

Mount Hebron Cemetery
305 E. Boscawen St., Winchester, VA 22601
Phone: (540) 662-4868
Gravestone inscriptions are available on the cemetery website:
Records kept from 1844-1876 to present (incomplete, includes Reformed, Lutheran, and Stonewall Cemetery)
Microfilm records at Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, 1843-1976.
Index available for 1844-1976
See also, Mount Hebron Cemetery Collection, 84 THL

National Cemetery
Central Office, 305 U. S. Ave., Culpeper, VA, 22701
Location of cemetery: Berryville Ave., Winchester, VA
See also, National Cemetery Collection, 1502 THL

Shenandoah Memorial Park
522 South Paper Mill Rd., Winchester, VA 22601
Phone: (540) 667-2012
Records kept from 1957 to present
Location of cemetery: Off of Front Royal Road

Additional Resources not at Stewart Bell Jr. Archives

Death certificate, 1912-1954, available on microfilm at the Library of Virginia. Reels can be acquired through interlibrary loan). Index online at

Division of Vital Records, Virginia Department of Health, has death records from 1912. Some materials are indexed: has newspaper obituaries from the U.S. and Canada.

Find a Grave has records collected from cemeteries across the U.S.