How do I find an old DEATH NOTICE?

by admin on August 24, 2009

A question was posed to me the other day. It was “How do I find an old death notice”. The answer depends on how close you are to the deceased or whether you know them or not. For a famous person like John Wayne, it is easy. There are people that still love and admire this movie star and can tell you his birthday or the day he died which was June, 11 1979.

If the person is a part of history, most history books can help like Abraham Lincoln. He died on April 15, 1865. This of course is one way, or just use any search engine on the internet. If the person you need or want to find a death notice for is not famous but a relative then the family bible can be a valuable source. Most families record not only deaths, but births, wedding and even some divorces nowadays.

If the person is not so famous and not a relative, then the local library could hold the key. But this path would require you to know approximately the right date and where this person of interest died.

Luckily today there is a large listing of over 1.14 Billion articles and over 3.42 billion names that have appeared in old newspapers organized all on one web site, Newspaper Archive, and is the most complete source of old newspapers on the internet. With a search engine that can narrow down your search to region of the country or countries, date or range of dates, this site makes looking up death notices easy.

How do I find an old death notice, I go to the web site that has the history written on old newspapers, the newspaper archive.  This is a subscription website but the cost is minimal compared to the amount of historical research you will be able to do.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Phyllis Corbitt 10.15.09 at 8:40 am

I am trying to put together my family tree My family has been torn apart by death

admin 10.15.09 at 10:02 am

Oh my how tragic. Newspapers are a great resource and we recommend you join a genealogy society near you as those people are all just about the kindest in the world and will help you get started. A couple of other good resources are the Mormon website at http://www.familysearch.org and all of the US county GenWeb sites that you can locate by going to http://www.usgenweb.com and drilling down to the state and county you need. Both of these sites are free. If you need any help with newspaper research please ask and I will help you. Good luck.

fj 04.25.10 at 3:02 pm

Thanks for the 2 websites. Very helpful

Evelyn 10.13.10 at 12:00 pm

I’m trying to find a man and a little girl that has been seen at my grandmas old house she just moved out. we have pitchers of them and i just want to know who where they, i have no name,or date of birth just the address were they are last seen. they both apere to be from the 1900 or so the way hey are dressed. they are Ghost and not no joke please help if can.

admin 10.13.10 at 1:07 pm

Hello Evelyn, Yes this sort of search is possible but it involves standard genealogical and historical research first. If there are street directories for your area, you could research the street address and see who lived in the house at the time of the Federal census, the newest available in 1930, and then work backwards through 1920, 1910 to 1900. Perhaps you will be able to estimate their ages and pick out some possibilities. There is a Genealogy guide available on this website which will give you ideas on how to do the research. Once you get someone lined up as a possibility then you could come back here and look in the old newspaper articles for their names and see if you can find any stories. Good luck. Rich Hill

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