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Old 06-10-2009, 07:31 PM
Kimmy_Gibbler Kimmy_Gibbler is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 3,712
Originally Posted by Claire Beauchamp View Post
It could be that it's public in that anyone should be able to SEE it, but only certain people can obtain a COPY of it.
I don't think it is public at all. I think it is just a record filed with the government, you know, like your tax return.

Actually, a similar question came up a while back concerning death records in the state of Wisconsin. They will be released some fifty or seventy-five years after the date of death. Morbid curiosity is not a FOIA classification yet, I'm afraid.

As far as codes in the obits, if the family really doesn't want the public to know, and I would suppose that would be the usual case, they can just write "A.B., 38, beloved husband of C. and son of D. and E. (nee F.), died Saturday, June 1. He is survived by his wife and parents." They don't have to include any details, encrypted or otherwise.

Finally, if this is the brother of a (former) friend, one traditional way of discovering this information is to tender your condolences to the surviving relative and offer your assistance during this sad time.