Obituaries Searches – Clues between the lines

Obituaries Searches

Genealogists, family historians and others doing obituaries searches for a deceased person and their families often find clues while reading between the lines.   These clues can point to other sources of evidence to help you find more information about the family.

The types of information and clues that you may find when doing obituary searches include:

  • Name and age of the person who passed away
  • Photograph
  • Date, location and sometimes the case of death.  (clue – Sometimes the details revealed as a result of obituaries searches will mention an organization to which the mourners may make a charitable donation This could give you a hint as to how the person died although not necessarily).
  • Where they lived
  • Names of immediate family members – parents, siblings (clue – spouses names can provide new avenues to research).
  • names of children and other descendants
  • names of and comments about deceased relatives (clue – you may find spouses names)
  • Place and time of birth
  • If the deceased was an immigrant – from where they came and when (clue – sometimes port of entry is mentioned, which can lead to ship’s records and information about who may have traveled with your ancestor).
  • If an immigrant – naturalization dates and location
  • Education – where and when  (clue – was your ancestor a butcher, baker or candle stick maker…or an engineer)
  • Date and location of marriage, name of spouse (sometimes maiden name is mentioned)
  • Religious affiliation
  • Military Service (clue – details such as dates served, medals, rank)
  • Where employed  (clue – companies often retain records on employees)
  • Organizations to which the person belonged  (clue – obituaries searches can show the deceased connections to organizations that have more records about the person)
  • Awards received (clue – did the deceased play on a team?  There may be team photos and other mentions of the person)
  • Events in which they participated
  • Name and address of funeral home, church, or venue where the funeral was to occur.  Often people doing current (rather than historical) obituaries searches are seeking the location so they may attend the service.
  • Date and time of the funeral
  • Names of the officiating clergy (clue – officiating persons or organizations often have records with more information).
  • List of pallbearers (clue – these are often relatives or close friends)
  • Date, place and burial location
  • Memorial service information
Whether you are seeking current or historical obituaries searches information, an obituary can yield many clues.  Read carefully and find the clues between the lines.
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