Obituaries

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Because they are such a valuable genealogical asset, it is worth singling out obituaries for separate consideration. Newspaper obituaries were commonplace during the 20th century, less so in the late 19th century, and rare before that. Obituaries, while not always completely accurate, are often a genealogical jackpot.

They sometimes provide the date and place of birth of the deceased (especially valuable for immigrants), parents’ names, and/or the names of siblings and other kin.

This information can be used to track descendants of your ancestors (hence, your distant cousins) who may hold other pieces of your common genealogical puzzle.

More recent obituaries also frequently mention the occupation, last residence, military service, or social and church affiliations of the deceased. The funeral home or cemetery and other details that can lead you to additional records may also be included.

Due to their widely recognized value to so many genealogists, more and more obituary resources are appearing online, often in conjunction with cemetery records.

More Info at FamilySearch Wiki

Almost always include:   
•  Name of deceased
•  Date of death
•  Place of death

May also include:
•  Names of surviving relatives
•  Residence of deceased
•  Date and/or place of birth
•  Length of residence in that community
•  Name of hospital, funeral home and/or cemetery
•  Funeral details
•  Church, social, political, ethnic and other affiliations
•  Occupation
•  Cause of death
•  Names of parents or siblings
•  Military service
•  Life highlights (i.e., favorite hobbies, overseas travel, etc.)
•  Characterization of the deceased
•  Details about death of spouse, if predeceased

1)  Counties or Towns — write a letter requesting a copy of the person’s obituary from the local newspaper, which most libraries keep on microfilm. (To get the address for the library nearest the place where your ancestor died, use the Internet or go to the county library and ask to see the Directory of Libraries.)

2)  Internet — some obituary records are online.  Go to http://www.cyndislist.com or http://www.usgenweb.com and check your location.

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