Search Newspaper Obituaries 1690–Today!

GenealogyBank features over 2 billion family history records including the largest obituary archive online.

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Why Use Obituaries for Family History Research?

Obituaries are often the missing link or the best starting point for many successful genealogy searches. They are mini-narratives of a person’s life often highlighting or summarizing major happenings between “born on” and “deceased on”. The stories told in obituaries gives us insights into who our ancestors were and what mattered most to them. In addition, newspaper obituaries often reference other family members, leading your genealogy research in new, and unexpected, directions.

Facts you can learn in obituaries & death notices

  • Date of death
  • Name, place and year of birth
  • Names of children, where they lived, and their position in the family's birth order
  • Names of the towns and how long they lived in each one
  • Age of spouse at death and how long ago that was
  • Details on the longevity of parents and grandparents
  • Name of cemetery, date and place of the funeral and burial

And much more!

GenealogyBank’s Obituary Collections

Search database includes over 250 million newspaper obituaries and death records covering over 327 years from over 7,000 newspapers. And we’re adding new obituary records daily.Our obituary database is comprised of two collections, recent and historical obituaries.

Historical Obituaries - Ancestor’s Death Records Before 1977

If you’re looking for a relative who died before 1977 search our historical obituary collection with records dating back to 1704.

Recent Obituaries - Newspaper Obituaries Published 1977–Today

Search text-only versions of recent obituaries exactly as they were published in the newspapers.

  • Obituaries are added daily and include obituaries for tomorrow’s publications.
  • Using the same feed as newspapers, the recent obituary collection allows genealogists to access obituaries as they're published. 

 

How to Search Newspaper Obituaries in GenealogyBank

Obituaries range from simple statements to long, detailed accounts of their lives. Whether short or long, newspaper obituaries and death records provide important clues to your family history. Use these search tips to uncover your family history in newspaper obituaries.

Search Obituaries by Name - Start narrow and then expand

  • Start with your ancestor's first & last name
  • However, some newspaper death records may only have the last name name
  • If you’re not finding any results, try your search using the last name only.
  • Genealogist Tip: Further narrow your obituary search results by adding your deceased relative's first name in combination with the last name.

Use the Order of People's Names

  • Did you know? If both the last and first names are searched, GenealogyBank will find records with both words, within two words of each other, regardless of the order in which they appear.
  • When entering first names into the search field, keep in mind the name variations—i.e., William, Bill, Will, etc.
  • Name Variation search Examples:
  • William Smith, (William or Bill) Smith

Use Keywords to Refine Your Obituary Search

  • It can be useful to search for obituaries of ancestors with connections to other people, locations, companies, organizations, etc.
  • Reminder: Enclose phrases that you wish to match exactly in quotes (e.g., "naval academy").
  • Ways to use the obituary keyword search
  • Find an obituary of a spouse or relative
  • Find obituaries for a relative in a specific city or town
  • Find obits of deceased people that worked at a company
  • Locate ancestors who attended a particular college, university, or school
  • Search obituaries for organizations, churches, religious affiliations, or hobbies, and more.
  • Genealogist Tip: Obituaries are often published in the city or town where the person lived.

Obituary Search by Date - Use Date Ranges

  • To narrow the search results use a specific date or date range.
  • Genealogist Tip: Use a date range as obituaries and memorials are often published in the weeks following the actual death.

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