GenealogyBank.com

Search Tips: Finding All the Obituaries and Death Records in GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank's archive contains five different collections of material for your family history research:
  • Historical Newspapers (including historical obituaries)
  • Historical Books
  • Historical Documents
  • Recent Newspaper Obituaries
  • Social Security Death Index
To do the broadest search possible, simply enter the name you are researching into the search form on the home page, and GenealogyBank's search engine will speedily examine all five collections–over 774 million articles and records–and give you the complete results:



However, you may want to begin with a more refined search for the specific individual you are researching.

Try focusing first on only the obituaries. GenealogyBank has over 160 million obituaries and death records covering 300 years, contained in four different collections:
  • Newspaper Obituaries (1977-Current)
  • Historical Newspapers (1690-2007)
  • Historical Documents (1789-1984)
  • Social Security Death Index (1937-Current)
It is not possible to examine all 160 million obituaries and death records with one search; the records in each collection need to be searched independently of the other collections. This article will show you the step-by-step process to examine the obituaries and death records in all four collections.

Obituary Collection #1: "Newspaper Obituaries (1977-Current)"

If the person you are looking for died after 1976, then the first place to begin looking is this collection of recent obituaries. These obituaries are the text-only versions as they were published in the newspapers. Some important points about this collection:
  • We receive from the newspapers the same "feed" that they send to their printing plants when the newspapers are printed; the copy is identical to what appeared in the paper.
  • We have found this to be a fast way for genealogists to get these obituaries.
  • This collection keeps genealogists current.
  • This collection is updated throughout the day and even includes the obituaries that will appear in "tomorrow's" newspapers from across the country.
To access this collection, start by clicking on the "Newspaper Obituaries (1977-Current)" link on the bottom half of the GenealogyBank home page, where all five collections are listed:



Clicking on this link will bring up the Search form for this collection. Let's say you are looking for recent obituaries for the Clapper family. Enter "Clapper" in the "Last Name" box and click on the big green "Begin Search" button:



The resulting Search Results Page shows that we have 634 Clapper obituaries from 1977 to the present, with ten results per screen. The "Sort by" option lets you arrange the obituaries by "Newest items" or "Oldest items":



Obituary Collection #2: "Historical Newspapers (1690-2007)"

Looking for someone who died before 1977? Search our all-digital "Historical Newspapers (1690-2007)" collection. The Historical Newspapers section contains complete digital copies of newspapers; that's every page, including advertisements, cartoons, letters to the editor, and–yes–obituaries. To access this collection, start by clicking on the "Historical Newspapers (1690-2007)" link on the bottom half of the GenealogyBank home page, where all five collections are listed:



Clicking on this link will bring up the Search form for this collection. For example, to find obituaries for the Junot family, enter "Junot" in the "Last Name" box and click on the big green "Begin Search" button:



The resulting Search Results Page shows that we have 9,149 news articles about someone named "Junot," with five results per screen. The "Sort by" option lets you arrange the obituaries by "Newest items" or "Oldest items." Look along the left-hand side of the Search Results Page where the newspaper articles are sorted by categories–with "Obituary" being one of the choices. You can target your search by clicking on the "Obituary" link to read only the 41 Junot obituaries:



Clicking on the "Obituary" link brings you to a new Search Results Page, this time showing just the 41 Junot obituaries contained in the "Historical Newspapers (1690-2007)" collection, with five results per screen:



Obituary Collection #3: "Historical Documents (1789-1984)"

GenealogyBank has more obituaries contained in its "Historical Documents (1789-1984)" collection. To access this collection, start by clicking on the "Historical Documents (1789-1984)" link on the bottom half of the GenealogyBank home page, where all five collections are listed:



Clicking on this link will bring up the Search form for this collection. Let's say you have an ancestor named "Lazear" who served in the military. Enter "Lazear" in the "Last Name" box and click on the big green "Begin Search" button:



The resulting Search Results Page shows that we have 290 historical documents that contain the name "Lazear," with ten results per screen. The "Sort by" option lets you arrange the obituaries by "Oldest items" or "Newest items":



Not every historical document contains obituaries, but some do. Since your ancestor served in the military, the Army Register is a good place to look. And sure enough, in the 1959 Army Register, we find this obituary for Jesse William Lazear, describing the heroic medical work he did in Cuba trying to cure yellow fever:



Death Records Collection: "Social Security Death Index (1937-Current)"

This is another important resource for family research, containing millions of death records. To access this collection, start by clicking on the "Social Security Death Index (1937-Current)" link on the bottom half of the GenealogyBank home page, where all five collections are listed:



Clicking on this link will bring up the Search form for this collection, in which you can enter specific information to retrieve the exact record you want:



We hope this article helps you find and examine GenealogyBank's 160 million obituaries and death records. Have fun searching–and good luck with your family history research!