United States Obituaries (2024)

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    • 1 Online Resources
      • 1.1 United States Newspapers
    • 2 State Obituary Pages
    • 3 Overview
    • 4 Sources for Obituaries
    • 5 Additional Published Obituaries
    • 6 Search Strategies for Locating Obituaries

    Online Resources[edit | edit source]

    Church Obituaries

    Germans from Russia

    United States Newspapers[edit | edit source]

    State Obituary Pages[edit | edit source]

    Obituary collections specific to a state will be found on the State Obituary page.

    Overview[edit | edit source]

    An obituary is a published or unpublished death announcement. A particular obituary may be a simple two-line death notice or an elaborate biography of the deceased. Obituaries may be a good source of information about a person and may also include information about family members. Obituaries usually give the name of the deceased and the death or burial date. They often do not contain the death date and you will need to "figure it out" from other information such as the date and day of the week that the obituary was published. They may also contain information such as the birth date, marriage date, names of parents and spouse, children, occupation, education, and the location of living family members at the time the obituary was written. Obituaries are usually printed in a funeral program, a newspaper, or in a local history. And remember, in addition to the local paper in the area where the person died, obituaries are often published in newspapers in the town or towns where the person lived or grew up.

    Sources for Obituaries[edit | edit source]

    Obituaries have only been specifically indexed online for the past few years. You will find that obituary indexes will usually only date from the late 1960s or 1970s. However, many obituaries have been published in newspapers and the number of online collections for newspapers is growing. You may wish to see United StatesNewspapers.

    For additional sources you might try the following:

    • The Library of Congress Chronicling America, Historic American Newspapers. This site also contains the US Newspaper Directory, 1690 to Present, with the locations of the repositories of most of the newspapers published in America.
    • Public Libraries links to obituary search engines in all states and the United States Virgin Islands and has search tips and suggestions by locality.
    • Cyndi's List contains many links to obituary-related sites. Scroll down and click the topics Obituaries or Newspapers.
    • Use a Google search to look for online obituaries. To do this you need to find the name of the paper in the location where you think the death took place. Websites Newpapers- USA and Worldwide and News and Newspapers Online help you see if there was a paper near the locality. Once you find the name, type the name of the location and the word newspaper or obituary.
    • 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. Printed abstracts of obituaries can also be found in various published sources, such as genealogical periodicals. A bibliography of published sources is:
    Jarboe, Betty M. Obituaries: A Guide to Sources. Second Edition. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1989. WorldCat 19372997FS Library 973 V43 An appendix describes obituary indexes available at major libraries.

    Additional Published Obituaries[edit | edit source]

    The following suggestions can help you locate other published obituaries.

    Some obituaries are published in local genealogical and historical society Websites. Go to the USGenWeb Project or the at WorldGenWeb Project to learn more.

    Other sites host large collections of obituaries arranged by geographical locations. GenealogyBuff.com has a large data library with hundreds of thousands of obituaries from varying timeframes. There are two large user-contributed obituary forums, one for the United States and the other for Canada.

    An obituary index, the Obituary Daily Times (ODT), is hosted on RootsWeb. Founded in 1995, ODT has more than 13,000,000 indexed obits, and the list is increasing at the staggering rate of 2,500 a day. It is entirely supported by volunteers, numerous submitters, and a host of moderators.This free index is among the largest in the world, and searching is easy. You can also subscribe to the related Obituary Daily Times Mailing List for a regular index update. Instructions for subscribing are on the web site. As this is an ongoing project, one would want to check it periodically.

    A Funeral Home may also help in locating an obituary. For assistance in locating a funeral home, Parting.com, may help in locating a particular funeral home within a given State.

    The FamilySearch Library has some obituaries. Go to the FamilySearch Catalog to find book and film numbers for them. The following instructions will help you find records for a specific locality using the Place Search:

    1. Go to www.familysearch.org
    2. Click and search for individual names
    3. Click FamilySearch Catalog
    4. Click Place Search
    5. Type the locality that you want to search, and click Search.
    6. A list of matches will appear. Click on the locality that most closely matches the one you want.
    7. Click Keywords search, enter Obituaries or Newspapers to view the record holdings.

    For Mennonite obituaries in the U.S., visit Online index to United States Mennonite Newspaper Obituaries, starting 1864. If your family is from Pennsylvania, Illinois or many eastern states this article may be useful.

    There is also a Mennonite Obituaries Index 1930-2001 online. Index is from The Mennonitische Rundschau. Index covers the world and includes the following:
    • Surname
    • Given Name
    • Maiden Name
    • Birth Year
    • Death Year
    • Place of death
    • Country
    • Issue
    • Page

    Ancestry.com (a subscription site) has good search capability for their obituary collection for the United States and Great Britain.

    Search Strategies for Locating Obituaries[edit | edit source]

    Because obituaries are written at or soon after the death of the person you should search under the name by which he or she would have been known at the time, i.e., search using married names for married women. When searching websites or by using Google, start with the longshot and search by first and last name (Steven Jones) you probably will not get instant results but it is well worth the time saved if you get lucky. If you do not get any returns, follow up by casting a broad net and search by surname only. Then slowly narrow the search by adding additional search terms such as first name, a nickname, or a location. You can even search by using the name of a family member that might have been mentioned in the obituary. Remember that sometimes the obituary for a married woman gives her name as "Mrs. [husband's name]" and may not even mention her first or maiden name. You might need to get creative using only initials or just a middle name - use your imagination - and use wildcards on those websites where they are permitted.

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    Links to United States-related articles
    United States Obituaries (2024)


    How do I find an obituary in the US? ›

    Use a Google search to look for online obituaries. To do this you need to find the name of the paper in the location where you think the death took place. Websites Newpapers- USA and Worldwide and News and Newspapers Online help you see if there was a paper near the locality.

    How do you find out if a person passed away? ›

    1. Start an Online Search. Arguably the best way to find out whether or not someone you know has passed is to begin an online search. ...
    2. Check Social Media. ...
    3. Use Word of Mouth. ...
    4. Read The Paper or Watch The Local News. ...
    5. Go To An Archive Facility. ...
    6. Review Government Records.

    What is the largest obituary website? ›

    Legacy.com hosts obituaries for more than three-quarters of the 100 largest newspapers in the U.S., by circulation. The site attracts more than 30 million unique visitors per month and is among the top 40 trafficked websites in the world.

    How do I find an obituary for a specific person on Ancestry? ›

    With a name and general publication date, you can start searching obituary records like the Newspapers.com Obituary Index: 1800s to current on Ancestry now.

    Is there an app for local obituaries? ›

    MyObits: Obituary Listings on the App Store.

    Is it okay to go to the funeral but not the wake? ›

    Likewise, it is totally acceptable to attend the funeral service but not the reception. If you have to miss the function, try to say a quick goodbye to the family after the service and let them know you are unable to join them afterwards.

    How to search 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 to find out if someone is deceased for free in the USA? ›

    Places to look for Death Records
    1. Church records of deaths and burials.
    2. City and County civil registrations.
    3. Family Bibles and personal histories.
    4. FamilySearch in the Catalog Search, Records Search, and Historic Books.
    5. Google and other website search sites, and don't forget to search Google Books.
    Aug 11, 2023

    How to verify a death? ›

    Confirming death:
    1. Identify the patient.
    2. Check for response to painful stimuli.
    3. Check if pupils are fixed, dilated and unresponsive to light.
    4. Look, listen and feel for breath sounds and respiratory effort for 2 minutes.
    5. Look, listen and feel for central pulse and heart sounds for 2 minutes.

    Do people still publish obituaries? ›

    Obituaries are not required by law , so the deceased's family might have chosen to forego publishing one. Publishing an obituary can be expensive , and the funds may be unavailable. The deceased has few family members or friends , so there might have, unfortunately, been no need for an obituary.

    What to say when an old person dies? ›

    What do you say when someone dies?
    • "I'm sorry for your loss. I'm here for you."
    • "My condolences on your loved one's passing. May their memory bring you comfort.“
    • “I extend my deepest sympathy to you. ...
    • "Thinking of you, sending love and support.“
    • "We're saddened by the news. ...
    • "Heartfelt condolences. ...
    • "You're not alone.
    Aug 3, 2023

    Do most people write their own obituary? ›

    Most people don't have the luxury of writing their own obituary, but, as a summary of a person's life from the other end, they offer an overview of the things a person found most important, as well as what others felt about the contributions the deceased person made to those around them.

    How to find out the day someone died? ›

    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.

    How do I find relatives of a deceased person? ›

    How To Search For and Find Possible Living Relatives – Research...
    1. Facebook and LinkedIn. ...
    2. Obituary. ...
    3. Online Phone Directories. ...
    4. City Telephone Directories. ...
    5. PIPL People Search Database. ...
    6. Google. ...
    7. Conclusion.

    How do I find pictures of deceased relatives? ›

    Tips & Resources To Find Old Family Photos
    1. Local and state archives. Archives often have photographs and your ancestors could be among them. ...
    2. Yearbooks. ...
    3. Church Directories. ...
    4. DeadFred.com and orphaned photo sites. ...
    5. Online auction sites. ...
    6. Family history books. ...
    7. Online Family Trees. ...
    8. Perform a Google Search.

    How do I find an old obituary in SC? ›

    However, many of the county libraries in South Carolina have special indexes for obituaries from local newspapers and may have the newspapers on microfilm. See the LibGuide at statelibrary.sc.libguides.com/sc-obituary-resources for information on how libraries help users with information in this field.

    How do I find an old obituary in New York? ›

    New York Public Library subscribes to many databases that can help researchers locate obituaries and death notices. The most useful are our newspaper databases. Oftentimes obituaries can be located by entering a person's name and week of death into the newspapers databases.

    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 old obituary in Ohio? ›

    1. Ohio Obituary Index at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library.
    2. Ohio Genealogical Society Obituary Index at Ohio Genealogical Society.
    3. Ohio User-Contributed Obituaries at Genealogy Buff - index and abstracts.
    4. 1795-2021 Ohio Newspaper Archives, 1795-2021 at GenealogyBank.
    Apr 12, 2024

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