Obituary Guide

How To Write An Obituary – Tips and Ideas

Welcome to the Obituary Guide.

This website has tips and ideas for those who need to write an obituary for a friend or family member, or who wish to write their own obituary. The aim is to help you write an obituary that is accurate, lively, and memorable.

Most people are not famous or fortunate enough to receive the attention of a news obituary in the newspaper. That is where this website comes in. You may find yourself needing to write an obituary for someone else. Or you may wish to get a head start on writing your own obituary.

This Guide has obituary writing suggestions and ideas, including: obituary writing tips, a sample obituary template, delicate questions to consider, pitfalls to avoid, writing your own obituary, and other resources. 

At a minimum, an obituary is a notice in the newspaper of a death and funeral arrangements. But it can be much more: a record of the extended family – both living and dead, a thank you to those who helped out, a request for memorial donations.

Most importantly, an obituary can be a compelling story of a life.

In addition, an obituary can be the background or inspiration for a funeral eulogy, the start of a longer memorial on the Internet or elsewhere, a piece of a family history or genealogical research.

Starting to write your own obituary could be the spark to begin a fuller memoir.

Writing better obituaries is part of a trend to more fully accept, describe, celebrate, honor, and make the most of life and death.

Your questions, suggestions, and ideas are welcome. Please contact this Guide and share your thoughts to help make this website as useful as possible.

Here is what you will find on this website:

Obituary Writing Tips   How to get started when writing an obituary, including how to write an obituary that is accurate, complete, lively, and avoids identity theft.

Obituary Template  The basic format and points to take into account when writing an obituary – in a sample checklist / template.

Obituaries – Delicate Questions  Here are some delicate questions to consider when writing an obituary.

Obituary Writing Pitfalls  How to write an obituary while avoiding pitfalls, such as using clichés.

How to Write Your Own Obituary  Thinking of getting a head start on writing your own obituary? Here are some ideas on why it is a good idea, and how to get going.

Write a Life Story  Writing a short life story can be an alternative to writing an obituary in advance. When the obituary is needed, all the facts of the life are already at hand.

Write and Give a Eulogy  How to write a eulogy and present a eulogy before an audience.

Genealogy and Obituaries  How the obituaries of the past can help in today's genealogical and family history research. Better obituary writing today can help tomorrow's findings.

Resources and Links  Here are some suggestions of websites, books, and other resources available that are related to obituaries and obituary writing.

News and Reviews  News and reviews of books and other resources on obituaries, obituary writing, and associated topics, including Obituaries in American Culture and also Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Stories, as well as “Most Obituaries are Downright Inspirational.”

Privacy Policy  This website's privacy policy.

More From Obituary Guide:

Books You May Find of Interest:

Not Quite What I Was Planning: 
Six-Word Memoirs

Six-Word Memoirs

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Writing an Obituary Worth Reading:
A Guide to Writing a Fulfilling Life Review

Writing an Obituary

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Find the Good:
Unexpected Life lessons From a Small-Town Obituary Writer

Find the Good

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Having the Last Say:
Capturing Your Legacy in One Small Story

Last Say

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Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People Who Led Extraordinary Lives


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For All Time:
A Complete Guide to Writing Your Family History

For All Time

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The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder


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