Newspaper obituaries are mini biographies

June 13, 2012

Newspaper obituaries are mini-biographies. By this I mean there are many things about a person’s genealogical record that can be learned from them. I began searching newspaper obituaries back before there were online records of a person’s death.


Whether you’re entering information into a genealogy software program or taking notes on an index card, here’s what you need to record.

*Full name of deceased
*Full name of spouse
*Parents full names
*Place of birth
*Place of death
*Funeral home in charge of arrangements
*Person delivering eulogy
*Place of burial
*Full names of brothers and sisters
*Church attended
*List of immediate family members who died before the deceased.
*Children (this is an excellent way to learn a female child’s married name)

Obituaries have evolved over the past decade. Now they often mention the cause of death, activities the deceased was involved in, hobbies and sometimes even the name of a favorite pet.

Many people now write their own newspaper obituaries and leave them with a family member to post. More and more obituaries also have a photo of the deceased.

Many sites charge for obituary viewing. is the best free site I’ve found to search for obituaries. With the legacy site an exact date match isn’t necessary. Simply enter what information you have on a family member and the site will pull up several matches.

I hope this information will open up new doors for those readers who are searching for deceased relatives.


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