Many people are confused about where to find obituaries. More and more newspapers are no longer publishing them. People are left wondering where to find recent newspaper obituaries as well as old obituaries archives.
What is an Obituary?
An obituary is a notice that announces the death of someone with a description of the person's life and list of family members. An obituary is a valuable tool for genealogists and family tree researchers because it contains clues about the deceased and the deceased's family. The obituary is often written by the funeral home or mortuary, but many people choose to write an obituary for their loved one that is published in the newspaper and included in the funeral program.
Online Obituary Search
Genealogists prefer online obituary search for family tree and ancestry search when they have no previous knowledge of the deceased. If they don't know where to begin, the large databases available online can help to narrow the search down to specific geographic locations or archives. You can find what you need, but it will take some time. Many obituaries and death notices from state vital records have not been uploaded online yet so you may have to continue your search through traditional means, including libraries, city archives, and public records.
Online Obituaries Search of databases
- Newspaper Obituaries Resources you might find helpful:
- Free Family Tree Templates - Over 20 pages of professionally designed family tree templates to download
- Free Genealogy Forms Downloads - Everything you need to organize your ancestor search
- Genealogy Resources - Genealogy Search Sources that lead you to lost ancestors
- Free Ancestry Records - Secrets to finding completely free ancestry records
- Meet Ancestors Online - Online Resources for people search and family ancestry search
- Census Forms - Create your own census form for research using our many examples
If you are researching obituaries for genealogy and family tree research, a good place to start your search for obituaries is on the Internet. There are several free and commercial databases where you can find death records and newspaper obituaries. Most of the commercial databases have reasonable fees that cover costs of security, and reliability.
Where to begin your search for Obituaries Online?
Even though obituaries seem to be disappearing from your local newspaper, the best place to start your online obituary research is in Newspaper Obituaries. Many newspapers publish obituaries online but not in their paper editions. They have online databases of recent, current and archived obituaries. In some cases you have to have a membership, but most of them are free, you just have to sign up.
Free Databases of Old Archived Obituaries
There are several databases out there dedicated to keeping genealogy free. They are hard to find and are often not the first place people look. They are archived obituaries and death notices, and old newspaper obituaries, and old obituaries archives. Many of these archives are free to search and have been accumulating data for years. If you have a little bit of information about where to look and the family name you'll have access to a huge free database.
What do I need to know before I start searching Obituaries?
You will have the most success if you know a bit of information about the person or people you are researching. Online searches can bring up thousands of search results if you enter information that is too vague or incomplete.
- Last Name
- First Name
- City and state where deceased lived
- Birth Year
Free Archive Obituaries and Death Notices and Ancestry Search Advice
Many public records and obituaries databases charge a fee to search their archives. You have to buy a membership that lasts for a certain length of time. But the same information is often available for free; you just have to know where to look for it. To sort through some of the confusion, start your search at ObituariesHelp.org. This website offers advice and help identifying what you are really looking for and if you really need to purchase a membership or if you can find the obituaries you need for free.