How To Find An Obituary For A Specific Person (2024)

This page may contain affiliate links. If you choose to interact with or purchase from another business, we may receive payment. Learn more.

It can be difficult to find an obituary for a specific person who has passed away, especially if they passed away a long time ago or you know very little information about them other than their name and general age. The good news is there are many free resources available online, as well as offline, that can help you find the obituary you’re seeking. In this article, you'll learn a few different ways to find an obituary, as well as what type of information is required or helpful when searching.

How do I find an obituary for a specific person for free?

When it comes to find an obituary for a specific person for free, there are a few steps to take. Before you get started, it's important to gather as much information as possible about the decedent, as it'll make your search a lot easier. The following information will provide you with a great foundation when beginning your obituary search:

  • First and last name of the decedent
  • Date of death
  • City and state of death (or last residence)
  • Hometown
  • Surviving relatives
  • Name of funeral home, cemetery, and/or cremation company
  • Age at time of death

With this information in hand, you're ready to start your search. Here are suggestions on how to find an obituary for someone who has passed away:

  1. Search online for an obituary finder. The best way to find an obituary is by conducting a search online. (There are many free resources available, including databases of obituaries or archives from newspapers and funeral homes, but you may not even need to go this far.) If you aren't sure how to find old obituaries, the internet is a wonderful place to start.
  2. Use keywords. When conducting an online search, be sure to use keywords that will help you find the specific obituary you're looking for. This can include the person's name, the city and state where they lived, or the date of their death. Some examples of useful keywords include: "John Smith obituary", "John Smith San Francisco, CA obituary", "John Smith San Francisco Taylor Funeral Home obituary", "John Smith San Francisco, 89, obituary". If you're wondering, "How do I find an obituary in the United States (US) by name?", simply put the city and state you last knew the person to live in or one that they lived in at some point in their life. If you're trying to find an obituary for a specific person in the UK, the same theory applies, just put the last known location and their name into your search query.
  3. Narrow your search parameters. If you're having difficulty finding the obituary you're looking for using keywords, try narrowing your search parameters or switching up the keywords you're using. This can include specifying the date range during which the person died, or the newspaper where the obituary was published. Simply relying on finding obituaries by name can end in you having an unfruitful search and spending a lot of time looking at the wrong obituaries. Even if you're not an expert at how to find obituaries, narrowing your search will help you drastically reduce your search load.
  4. Conduct a search offline. If you're unable to find an obituary online, you may want to try searching offline in local newspapers or funeral home archives. If you know the hometown or last residence of the deceased, contact the local newspapers or funeral homes in their area to see if an obituary was submitted or to see if they have any archives you can search through. The internet isn't the only method when it comes to how to find an obituary for free.
  5. Ask for help. If you're still having difficulty locating an obituary, don't hesitate to ask for help from a friend or family member of the deceased, no matter how long ago the person passed. Relatives or extended family members may know exactly where the obituary was published or at least be able to provide you with useful information to aid you in your search.

A tip for searching online

How can I find an old obituary online? Well, if an obituary has been posted online, there’s a good chance you can find it by entering in the name of the individual into Google, or another search engine. Here are some search terms that might help you narrow down the results, just replace the placeholders with the information you have on hand:

  • [First Last] obituary
  • [First Middle Last] obituary
  • [First Last] obituary [location]
  • [First Last] obituary [location]
  • [date of birth] - [date of death]

Find an obituary

Other places to check

Try checking social media
When someone passes away, next of kin and other family members can sometimes gain access to their social media accounts. If they were able to do so, they might post an obituary or a notice to the account that the person has passed away. If the obituary isn’t posted on the account of the deceased, you may be able to find related content by looking through the comments section or the about section of the page you’re looking at. Family members may link to the obituary or mention where the obituary is posted in the comments, so be sure to keep an eye out for those. If there aren’t any comments referencing an obituary, consider posting a comment and asking for more information on where you can find the obituary.

Visit your local library
How can you find someone's obituary? It may surprise you to learn that local libraries often have copies of local media, especially of local newspapers. You can also find archived versions of local newspapers that contain older obituaries. Visit your local library and ask to browse their archives to locate an older obituary. Knowing the date of death will be immensely helpful here, since you’ll be going through archived documents.

Visit the funeral home’s website
If you know the name of the funeral home that handled or is handling the services, there may be an obituary posted on their website. Some funeral homes offer online obituary posting as a service and will list the obituary on their website. While there might not be a search tool available, you can usually browse recently published obituaries in their obituaries section. You can even give them a call and simply ask, "How can I find someone's obituary?" and they may be able to point you in the right direction.

Try to contact old friends or family members
This may seem obvious, but contacting a family member or old friend can be an easy way to find an obituary. An old friend may have seen the obituary posted in the paper at one point which can help you then identify the name of the paper, which can lead to their archives. If you happen to get in touch with a family member, they may be able to point you to a printed or online obituary as well. Don't be afraid to reach out!

How do I find an obituary for free?

The above searches online will be excellent at getting you started if you have a good amount of information to go on, but they're not very useful if the obituary itself was never published online in any form. If you're searching for how to find an old obituary for free and have already tried the above searches and tips, it's time to look elsewhere. If you're looking for an older obituary (one that was submitted before the internet was popular), you'll likely need to work a little harder than others. So, how do you find old obituaries? Here are some steps to take when searching:

  • Contact the historical society in the area where the person died. They may also have old newspapers on microfilm or be able to direct you to another resource. They may even be able to help you find the obituary by name -- if they can't they may be able to point you to an old obituary finder or space to check. If you aren't sure of the full name of who you're looking for, you can consider asking them how to find an old obituary or even, "How do I find local obituaries?" and they can get you started on local places to look.
  • Check newspaper archives. Obituaries were historically posted in the newspaper so that members of the local community could be alerted of the death and read about the life of the deceased. While many families may lean towards posting the obituary online, older obituaries were likely to be published in a print newspaper. You can find the top publications of the area the person you’re looking for lived in by doing an online search. Most newspaper websites have an obituaries section that you can browse through online. If they do not, they may have an obituary department that you can contact with questions.
  • Check social media to find extended relatives. You may be able to find out more information about the person who passed by simply trying to get in touch with their extended relatives on social media, such as Facebook. Getting in touch and asking for information about the deceased can help you gain useful information and set you in the right direction on your search.

How to access newspaper obituary archives

Part of hunting for older obituaries includes looking through newspaper obituary archives, but if you've never accessed a newspaper archive before, it's good to know where to start. Here's how to access a newspaper's obituary archives:

  1. Determine the name of the newspaper.
  2. Search for the obituary archives on the newspaper's website.
  3. Search for an obituary using the name of the deceased and the city and state where they lived.
  4. Try searching for an obituary using keywords like the city, state, or hometown of the individual who has passed.
  5. Contact the newspaper's obituary team or support team for additional information.

How do I find an online obituary for a specific person using obituary websites?

Performing a nationwide obituary search is another excellent way to easily find out if an obituary has been posted online. There are a handful of platforms that will help you search through obituary archives for free, including:

  1. Ever Loved
  2. Public Libraries
  3. Ancestry
  4. Find a Grave

To find an online obituary for a specific person using these websites, simply enter in the information you have on the individual into their search tools to find relevant information and obituaries. You may need to dig a little and change your search terms to find what you’re looking for, so don’t lose hope if you don’t find the obituary on the first try. (If you're trying to find an obituary for a specific person in Canada, consider one of the following obituary archives:

  1. Ever Loved
  2. MyHeritage
  3. Ancestry
  4. Canadian Obituaries
  5. Canadian Obits

Why can't I find an obituary?

To find obituaries for free, there first has to be an obituary to find. There could be several reasons why you're having difficulty finding an obituary. The person you're looking for may not have had an obituary, the newspaper that published it could have gone out of business, or it could have never been saved or digitized.

Can't find what you're looking for? [Consider getting help from AI to write an obituary( An obituary doesn't have to be long or detailed, and it can be a good way to share information about your loved one with others. You may also find comfort in writing and sharing your own obituary for a deceased family member or friend and it may help others in their search for the same thing. Ever Loved obituaries are free, easy to use, and stay online as long as you'd like them to.

Publish an obituary

Want to see more articles like this?
Like us on Facebook:

Obituaries and funeral announcements

Last updated March 31, 2024

Rate this article

How To Find An Obituary For A Specific Person (2024)


How do I find obituaries in the US by name? ›

Many funeral homes publish obituaries on their websites. These can usually be located with a Google search on the person's name. Local genealogical and historical societies, public libraries, and some newspaper publishers maintain clipping files of obituaries.

How do you find out when it's someone's funeral? ›

In most cases, you're likely to hear the news directly from close family or friends of the deceased. If not, you may find out through an announcement in the local paper. There are also online platforms that publish details of recent deaths.

Why can't I find my friends' obituary? ›

There could be several reasons why you're having difficulty finding an obituary. The person you're looking for may not have had an obituary, the newspaper that published it could have gone out of business, or it could have never been saved or digitized.

How can I find if someone has died? ›

7 ways to find out if someone has died recently
  1. Confirm with a mutual acquaintance. ...
  2. Check social media. ...
  3. Search for an online obituary. ...
  4. Online death indexes. ...
  5. Check with their house of worship. ...
  6. Local courthouse. ...
  7. Digital archives.

How do I find the exact date of death for a person? ›

Funeral home records vary in format and content, but they can all be valuable for determining someone's death date. Check genealogical and historical societies; state, county, and local libraries; and municipal archives for possible holdings.

Is there an app for local obituaries? ›

As funeral homes across America post obituaries to their respective funeral home website, The Obituary App organizes them all into particular cities. Now, a user can look at all the obituaries posted by multiple funeral homes in one place.

How do I find an obituary for a specific person in MA? ›

Obituaries in Massachusetts and other parts of New England can generally be found in the local town or county papers. Many obituaries for Boston and the surrounding area can be found in: Boston Athenaeum. Index of Obituaries in Boston Newspapers, 1704-1800.

How do I find an obituary for a specific person in Texas? ›

Ancestry is a handy source for those researching and preserving a family tree. The website will help you complete a detailed search for obituaries published from 1930 to current times. Additionally, you may be able to find the Texas obituary you are looking for by looking at other users' family trees.

What is the most comforting thing to say at a funeral? ›

4 simple, sincere and brief things to say

I'm struggling to find right words to say. Just know that I care. I am so sorry for your loss. We've been thinking about you.

How long after a death is there a funeral? ›

Most American funerals take place within one week or less from death. With the help of a funeral home, a week is typically enough time to make arrangements and contact loved ones. Historically, funerals had to take place after just a matter of days, because of decomposition.

Do funerals get recorded? ›

Most people choose to record or live stream a funeral because some family members or friends cannot attend in person. Having a video allows them to share an important moment in their lives, while allowing the healing process to begin. For anyone who wasn't able to attend, having closure is a longer process.

Can I find out if a friend has died? ›

Some of these ways include online research, checking government records, searching genealogy databases, and scouring newspapers in the person's hometown. In some cases, a combination of these methods may be used to find out if someone died.

Is it disrespectful not to have an obituary? ›

You are under no legal obligation to take out a death notice or obituary. Think of the latter as a final gift to your loved one—a celebration of who they were and the legacy they created. The former is more of a courtesy to give people information so they too can honor and memorialize the dearly departed.

Do obituaries list cause of death? ›

The first paragraph of the obituary should include the deceased person's full name, including any nicknames they may have used, their age, date and place of death. Some people choose to include cause of death, but this is optional depending on how much information you would like to share.

Can I access the Social Security death Index? ›

The SSA provides an extract from its file for distribution through the Department of Commerce's National Technical Information Service. Because this extracted file deals with deceased persons, the information is considered to be in the public domain.

How do you check up on someone after their death? ›

Keeping in touch
  1. Continue to call, or check in with them, after the funeral too. ...
  2. Stick to any promises you make. ...
  3. Thoughtful gestures such as inviting them for coffee, or to go for a walk, or just sending a text to say you're thinking of them, can really help.
Nov 8, 2022

How do you find out the cause of death of a person? ›

A death certificate is a permanent public record of the disease or injury responsible for the death (the cause of death) and the explanation of how the cause arose (the manner of death).

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated:

Views: 5491

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.