One responsibility of U.S. consulates is to report deaths of American citizens occurring within their districts to the U.S. Department of State. This record collection in Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) contains those consular death reports for the years 1835 through 1974. These records were compiled in order to provide satisfactory proof of the death of American citizens abroad, as that information would likely not have been obtainable elsewhere. It does not include the deaths of active duty military personnel, which are reported to the Defense Department rather than the Department of State, or the deaths of individuals whose citizenship status was unknown.
Information regarding the deceased individual was generally hand written prior to 1900, and generally typewritten after that date. Forms used can vary depending upon time and place of death.
It is possible to find details about the deaths of historically significant individuals such as author Sinclair Lewis and banker J.P. Morgan, both of whom died in Rome, Italy. There are also records for Amelia Earhart, and for Americans (passengers or crew) who died on the Titanic or in other maritime disasters.
You may use Ancestry LE at Central Library or any of our branches.