Search Historical Obituaries in Newspapers 1704–1999

Search Historical Obituaries in Newspapers 1704–1999

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Obituaries Search Tips

Search Historical Obituaries By State

Check your selection to search historical obituaries by state, city, or newspaper title.
7 Facts
you can learn
about your ancestors in obituaries and death notices.
1 Date of death, name of cemetery, date and place of the funeral and burial
2 Name, place and year of birth
3 Names of children, where they lived, and their position in the family's birth order
4 Names of the towns and how long they lived in each one
5 Age of spouse at death and how long ago that was
6 Details on the longevity of parents and grandparents
7 Count of descendants, by generation
And much more!
GenealogyBank's Newspaper Archives Document Every Day of Your Ancestors' Lives

Newspapers are likely the only surviving documentation of the daily lives of your ancestors. Daily newspapers covered the news, reported on events, and recorded the births, marriages and deaths of the people in their community and beyond. Rich or poor, each of us makes it into the newspaper at least once—but the papers themselves record the daily pace of life unfolding around us.

GenealogyBank is the largest and fastest growing newspaper archive for family history research.

Featuring over 6,500 newspapers and a powerful search engine, no other online resource provides as much family history information. Search GenealogyBank now and begin discovering the many genealogical treasures provided by newspapers.

GenealogyBank currently has 215 million newspaper obituaries and death records covering over 320 years from over 6,500 newspapers. New obituary records are added daily.

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Historical Obituaries Search Tips

Use our historical obituaries search to find obituaries printed from 1704–1999 in the newspaper archives. Our historical obituaries collection contains both recent and old obituaries published in U.S. newspapers.

If you are searching for a deceased relative who passed after 1999, use our Recent Obituaries search instead. This online collection contains only newer obituaries printed in U.S. newspapers from 1704–1999.

Broad Obituary Search

The name listed on the obituary may not be the name that you are familiar with. Try searching for obituaries with just your ancestor’s surname and a date range.

When searching for a deceased married woman, start by using the married surname in your query. You can also try another search using her maiden name or previous married name(s) if she was married more than once.

Do not use the date of death in your search. Obituaries are often published days or even weeks after a person’s death. If the relative you are looking for died in the last few months of a year, be sure to include the following year in the date range in order to cast a wider net to find the obituary. Obituaries will often be published in the newspaper over a period of several days.

Narrow Your Obituary Search

Try narrowing your obituary search by entering the first name of another family member such as a spouse, parent or child. In the 19th Century it was common for a married woman to be referred to as "wife of John Smith" without mentioning her first name.

Find Your Ancestor’s Date of Death

Try searching the Social Security Death Index to find your ancestor’s exact date of death before searching for their obituary in the newspaper archives. Once you know your ancestor’s date of death try using a date range of a year or two after they died, in order to find their obituary and locate any memorial articles that may have run in the newspaper about their passing.

Visit the Blog

Need additional help tracing your family tree? Visit our genealogy blog for more search tips that will help you do better family history research with GenealogyBank.