Posted by Web Operations on November 21, 2013 in Births, Content, Deaths, Famous Faces

Nearly 100 years of Texas birth and death records now available online, including key figures who investigated the death of JFK and reported on the events in the days that followed. 

This week we released 6.5 million new birth and death records from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Spanning nearly a century (1890-1980), the collection includes the state’s entire public archive of death records, including a newly-rediscovered certificate for President John F. Kennedy, as well as those involved in  the investigation and reporting of his assassination, which shocked the world 50 years ago this month.

The president’s death certificate describes the weapon used, injuries inflicted, location of injuries, and duration before death, which is noted as only “minutes.”


Evelyn Lincoln, the president’s personal secretary, is listed as the informant – the person responsible for positively identifying the body of her former Commander-in-Chief.

The newly-released Texas database also provides new levels of insight regarding key figures surrounding the death of the nation’s President on November 22, 1963, including:

Lee Harvey Oswald – the 24-year-old sniper responsible for the assassination, was shot two days after the death of JFK. His death certificate notes he was “shot at close range while officers were in process of transferring him from city to county jail.”

Oswald was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital, the same hospital JFK was taken to.


Jack Ruby was later sentenced to death for the murder of Oswald.  Three years later, Ruby died of a “pulmonary emboli as immediate cause of death secondary to bronchiolar carcinoma of the lungs” (lung cancer).

Ruby died at the age of 55 at Parkland Memorial Hospital – the same hospital JFK and Oswald were taken to.


Other key figures include:

  • J.D. Tippit – Tippit, an on-duty police officer, died from “gunshot wounds to the head and chest” by Lee Harvey Oswald when Tippit stopped and questioned Oswald about 45 minutes after the assassination.
  • Abraham Zapruder – Famous for filming the only known footage of the assassination, Zapruder would pass away nearly seven years later at the age of 65 from “carcinoma of stomach” or stomach cancer.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson – Vice President of the United States, Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President on Air Force One two hours and eight minutes after the assassination. The document lists his cause of death as “acute myocardial infarction” due to his “coronary atherosclerosis” which he had for the last “18 years” of his life.
  • G. Thomas Shires – As Chief of Surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Shires issued a statement that Kennedy was dead on arrival. Shires would also unsuccessfully operate on Lee Harvey Oswald two days later.

The new death records include information such as: cause of death, details on accident or surgery, burial location, occupation, informant’s name, and death date, time and place, as well as parent information for the deceased.

Also included in these new records are approximately thirty years of Texas birth records from 1903-1932. These 3.2 million records are also from the Texas Department of State Health Services and include the following information: name, sex, race, birth date and place, number of children born to the mother, and the names, occupations, residence and ages of the parents.

Stories can be gleaned from every record we put on Ancestry, whether it’s an ancestor’s personal story, or an important moment in history.

Share your ancestors’ story with us on our Facebook wall or in the comments below.

This blog is protected by Dave\'s Spam Karma 2: 582 Spams eaten and counting...