The reason to look at old death notices varies from person to person. One fact does remain the same and that is they are historical records of people that have lived and died.
Since the end of the Civil War, obituaries have included a more detailed account of a person’s life and death. This has transpired into a historical record of a person’s life. In some cases, it is the only written document of their life.
In the past 150 years, the obituary notices in the newspapers have started to include more than just a person death. This brief notice has expanded to where they worked, their spouse, and surviving family members. For those individuals that are searching their ancestral past, this is a wealth of information.
Further information has also been included, in many cases, to indicate where the person was born and who their parents were. This data can also be used to trace the migration path of a family across the country. Since many death certificates were not issued from the civil war until the 1930s, the death notices in the local papers are the only specific evidence of the mass migration that occurred with the opening of the west at the turn of the last century.
Genealogist in the past had a difficult time tracing the family tree because many of the records were only kept in local libraries. Luckily, there was an effort to transfer all paper documents to microfilm 50 years ago. This compressed many of the old local papers and saved them from being lost to time.
Today, the microfilm has been digitized and made available on the internet. Some papers have their editions that date back to the 1700s, available for all to review online. This includes the old death notices that the modern genealogist find as an irreplaceable resource for their research.
Take advantage of the Free Trial offer by clicking HERE or the banners on the right. You will have instant access to many millions of death records online.
If your university or school subscribes to LexisNexis Acedemic then you will be able to search for old death notices or obituaries on their system by using it at school.
Please expand and view in HD! This tutorial will show you the best way to find a death notice or obituary in LexisNexis Academic.
For an easy method to search for obits at home you will need a subscription to Newspaper Archive, which you may subscribe to here. See free trial offer above.
- Santa Clara County Library Genealogy Resources (santaclaracountylib.org)
- Class will make taking on the past seem less overwhelming (troyrecord.com)
- ‘A Death Notice for Obituaries?’ Or an opportunity for entrepreneurs? (stevebuttry.wordpress.com)