Genealogy, Obituaries, and Family Histories

"To understand just one life, you have to swallow the world."
- Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children

Obituaries from the past can be an important part of present day genealogical research. Genealogy has become an increasingly common pastime for many, and - of course -  is greatly aided by the Internet. Genealogy is one of the more common online searches. (Be careful not to search for the misspelled "geneology.")

Searching the obituaries of our ancestors can lead not only to knowing the facts about their lives and something about their stories, but also the names of relatives, the place of interment, and more. Read closely - the names of mourners and pallbearers, for example, could provide new clues to family relationships.

Writing more accurate and complete obituaries today will make searching for our family histories better in the future. In that vein, remember to include what seems obvious today, but may not be in the future, for example, the year of death, the place of residence, or the place of interment.

Resources and Links

Amazon.com's Genealogy / Obituary Bookshelf  Search results of Amazon.com for genealogy / obituary.

Ancestry.com  Access the world's largest family history collection, with billions of records. Subscription based  - free 14-day trial.

Ancestry.ca - Canada  Subscription based  - free 14-day trial.

Ancestry.com - Historic Newspapers Online  Search millions of pages of historic newspapers from the US, Canada, and the UK dating back to the 1700s. Subscription based - free 14-day trial.

Ancestry.com - Obituary Collection  Search 9 million obituaries from the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, and Australia. Subscription based - free 14-day trial.

Family Genealogy and History Internet Education Directory  The aim of this website is to "promote scholarly educational access to all key worldwide Internet genealogical and family history databases and resources."

Newspaper Obituaries on the Web  Access to databases of archived obituaries on the Internet – 6 million free newspaper obituaries in the United States.

Obituary Central  This website is an obituary database for finding obituaries and performing cemetery searches.

Obituary Lookup Volunteers  An all-volunteer web site and mailing list that provides obituary lookups all over the world. Volunteers from many locations could be able to help in your obituary research. 

Obituaries (Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet)  The Obituaries section of this comprehensive guide to genealogy resources.

Obituaries Help  Resource for online and newspaper obituaries archives and genealogy research.

Your Surname in History  Ancestry.com can compile a 98 page book on your surname: where people with your name came from, emigrated to, where they live now, and other details. Information on nearly 300,000 names - just click on the link and then enter your surname after "Name in History:" in the search box.

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See Also:

Memoir Writing: Ten Tips

How to Write a Life Story

Six Words To Describe A Life?

A Family History Writing Workshop





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