The value of obituaries and death notices

Some of the best family history leads I’ve ever uncovered have come from obituaries.


Obituary source

While checking the FamilySearch blog for news about their indexing event (a big success – 116,475 participants indexed 10,447,887 records), I picked up an intriguing piece of advice.


Obituary errors

Over time I’ve come to value obituaries more than many other family history sources. Obits usually tell the full story of a life: place and date of birth, parents’ names, spouse and children, professional accomplishments, personal interests, etc. I particularly enjoy reading older obituaries, the ones that go into detail about how the person died […]


One of my latest research projects was to locate surviving family members of several WWII veterans. Once I found a date of death, the most reliable way to confirm I’d found the right person – and to identify any survivors – was to search obituaries of the deceased veteran and/or his wife. Looking back, some […]

Obituaries to be Indexed by Volunteers

Last week, in commemorating October as Family History Month, FamilySearch and GenealogyBank announced their joint initiative to make historical obituaries searchable online.


Today’s Obituaries Still Helpful

I read the obituary page, and I bet you do, too. People’s stories are intriguing to us family history buffs whether we knew the deceased or not. An obituary in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune brought an unexpected item of interest.


Black & White – and Read All Over

Remember the old riddle: “What’s black and white – and red (read) all over”? The answer: Newspapers, of course!

I first used newspapers in family history research to look at obituaries, but I’ve also found many other interesting “tidbits” using this resource. Here are a few of my favorite newspaper sources, although admittedly my experience […]