Fact Check

Does County in NC Give Option To Request Death Certificate for 'Myself'?

A widely-viewed screenshot prompted jokes about ordering one's own death certificate prematurely.

Published May 24, 2022

Updated May 24, 2022
Close up of senior woman hands on laptop (Getty Images)
Close up of senior woman hands on laptop (Image courtesy of Getty Images)
An online death certificate request portal for Mecklenburg County in North Carolina includes a button allowing the requester to select "myself" as the deceased.

Fact Check

In February 2022, a tweet went viral that contained a screenshot of what appeared to be an online portal to request death certificates for a county in North Carolina. The portal gave the option to select "myself" as "the person listed on the Death Certificate," prompting jokes and questions about whether the screenshot was real:

The screenshot is real, however, the website shown above has since been updated.

A closer inspection of the screenshot shows there is a name in the upper right corner: "Fredrick Smith." Smith is the Registrar for Mecklenburg County in southwest North Carolina, home to the city of Charlotte.

A search of internet archives shows that, at least as of August 2020, the portal through which one would request a death certificate in Mecklenburg County did have a button marked "Myself," but it's unclear if that was an actual option (i.e., whether the button actually worked).

Regardless, if one goes to the same portal now (in May 2022), the "Myself" option is no longer there. The only options available now are for relatives or legal representatives of the deceased to request death certificates.

The image prompted levity online, with one person quoting a comedic character played by Billy Crystal in the 1987 film "The Princess Bride":

Text, Letter

Another person joked they would order their death certificate in advance to read the cause and avoid their own demise.

We reached out to Mecklenburg County asking whether the option to select "myself" was a bug or a mistake that was fixed on the website, and if so when it was fixed.

Tonya Goodman, chief assistant register of deeds for the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office, explained in an email to Snopes that the landing page where the "myself" button was located, was created by a vendor who provides such landing pages to various public agencies across the U.S.

The "myself" button, though visible, was grayed out and therefore wasn't an actual option when requesting a death certificate. Goodman further stated:

Nonetheless , to prevent confusion, several months ago the vendor reformatted their Death Certificate request page and the disabled “myself” tab was altogether removed from the upwards of 400 websites they provide for agencies across the country.


Updated with further information and comments from the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

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