Searching for Obituaries

by Christine Sievers

This article continues on with your search for the death certificate of the first dead male in the line that you are researching. This sounded like an easy task, but you may have run into a stumbling block that you didn't expect. You checked out where in your relative's state the death certificate is supposed to be filed, and you sent the necessary information; but they have no record of your ancestors death. It wasn't there.

You may know where your grandfather lived, where he is buried and even have the death date. What went wrong? The first place to start is, again, with your relatives. Because it is the first dead ancestor in your line, you are in luck. There is bound to be one relative who remembers a part of the story that is missing. Just where did this ancestor die? You may find out that his death occurred when he was visiting out of state.

Now your search becomes a bit more complicated, because death certificates are usually filed where the death occurred. If no one remembers where he died, you are still not out of luck. Find out if anyone may have an obituary buried somewhere in their mementos. It may mention where the death occurred, or give a sold clue like "John Smith died while he was visiting his son Tom."

Obituaries contain helpful resources for your family research, providing the names of siblings, children and other relatives, including the hard-to-find married names of females. Beware, they often contain errors. I found that from my own experience of providing an obituary for my mother. When printed in the newspaper, I was horrified to see some of the misspellings. And, I thought I had been very clear about the spellings. Nevertheless, they are worth finding for the clues they provide and the color they add to the life of your ancestor.

If no relative has a copy of the ancestor's obituary, you might still be able to obtain one by searching online sources or contacting the local newspapers and libraries where your ancestor lived. Start your online search for the obituary at the USGenWeb Project State Pages. Go to the state and county of your ancestor and look for the obituary links. Also, note if there are volunteers who do obituary look-ups. If you do not live close to your ancestor's city, this can be very helpful.

Then, an extensive site, devoted to obituaries is found at << Where's MY Family Tree?

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