How to Find an Obituary

There are many ways to find an obituary, whether recent or old, which can be a meaningful process to reconnect with family history or gather essential information. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to find an obituary using various methods like online searches, print archives, libraries, and newspapers.

Obituaries are often a valuable part of family history, offering insights into a person’s life, including the date of death, family members, career achievements, and more.

From death notices in local newspapers to online obituary databases, the options for finding an obituary for a specific person are vast and varied. This post will guide you through the many ways to locate recent and older obituaries.

How to find an obituary online

Search engines

  • Google search: Using Google and other search engines with keywords like the full name, birth date, and location can lead to news obituaries.
  • Keyword search with specific details: Adding keywords like cause of death, date of death, or religious affiliation can refine the search.

Legacy websites

Social media platforms

  • Facebook and other platforms: Searching by the person’s name, high school, or other details may reveal posts by family members or old friends.

Utilizing print archives and libraries

Local newspaper archives

  • Local newspapers: The most common place to find an obituary. Contacting them directly or visiting their archives can uncover older obituaries.
  • Community rules: Some community-based papers may have specific rules for accessing archives.

Public libraries

  • Local library resources: Your library may have an obituary lookup system or access to old newspapers.
  • Library card access: A library card may be required to access full-text databases.

Genealogical research centers

  • Family history resources: These centers may provide access to census records, death records, and other essential data.
  • African American research: is a comprehensive genealogy resource for African Americans and includes obituaries and death notices.

Other resources to find an obituary

Funeral homes

  • Connection with funeral director: Funeral homes keep records and may have specific details about the person’s death.

Social security death index

  • Social security administration: A valuable resource for information like death date and location of death.

Family connections

  • Family tree and history: Delving into family tree research can reveal connections and help find obituaries.

Tips for efficient search

  • Gather comprehensive information: Full name, last name, date of birth, social security number, and other details can narrow down the search and help you find an obituary.
  • Use online and offline methods: Combining online searches with visits to libraries and newspaper archives can be the best way.
  • Consult the experts: Professionals in genealogical research or librarians specializing in local history can assist in the research process.

Finding an obituary, whether for genealogical research or reconnecting with an old friend, can be a profoundly personal journey. By exploring online obituary indexes, print archives, public libraries, and more, you’re likely to uncover a wealth of information.

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