Search Philadelphia Inquirer Obituaries
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Philadelphia Inquirer Obituaries in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Uncovering your family history can be difficult. Philadelphia Inquirer obits are an excellent source of information about those long-lost family members in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
With the Philadelphia Inquirer obituary archives being one of the leading sources for uncovering your history in Pennsylvania, it's important to know how to perform a Philadelphia Inquirer obituary search to access this wealth of research from newspapers all across the country.
Our online database enables you to perform searches without the hassle of performing manual searches through old records.
Some of the most beneficial reasons to look into Philadelphia Inquirer local obituaries include:
- Uncover the branches of your family tree.
- Connect with extended family members.
- Discover the stories of your ancestors.
Explore the comprehensive records in our online database, and you'll gain access to almost 150 years of local history.
Plus, 95% of GenealogyBank records cannot be found through any other online services.
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How to Search Philadelphia Inquirer Obituary Archives
Looking up Philadelphia Inquirer obituaries in Pennsylvania doesn't have to be difficult. Whether you're trying to understand where you come from for the first time or you're looking to add some detail to a family tree, it couldn't be easier to perform a Philadelphia Inquirer obituary search.
All you have to do to get started is enter the last name of a chosen relative and press the “Search” button. It’s an excellent launching point for further research into those elusive relatives.
You can also get some additional guidance by downloading the free “Tips for Searching Titles” guide.
If you’re trying to get more information on a specific relative, follow these steps to perform an advanced search of the Philadelphia Inquirer obituary archives.
- Step One – Begin by entering the first and last names of your relative. You’ll get more accurate results if you also have a middle name. Our search results will present you with close match obituaries.
- Step Two – Add a keyword, such as a school or a town, to narrow your search results.
- Step Three – Exclude keywords to avoid uncovering obituaries unrelated to your family tree.
- Step Four – Include a year range. With almost 150 years of history, the chances are your ancestors share the same name as someone else’s ancestor.
- Step Five – Get different results by changing the sorting options. You can order your results by showing the best matches, newest entries, and oldest entries.
Tips for a Successful Philadelphia Inquirer Obituary Search
Genealogy research can be challenging as many records are incomplete or filled with mistakes. For a successful Philadelphia Inquirer obituary search, it’s good to have multiple strategies at your disposal to ensure you get the correct relative.
Most older obituaries will include some pieces of family information. Obituaries can be used to uncover information about other relatives or to confirm that you have the right person in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
For a successful search of Philadelphia Inquirer obituaries, follow these tips:
- Use information from more recent ancestors to find older relatives.
- Try searching by initials. Many old Philadelphia Inquirer obits used initials instead of full names.
- Are you looking for a female relative? Try searching for their husband’s name.
- Perform searches by using common misspellings. TITLE editors often didn’t fact-check spellings in the past.
By implementing these strategies, you can go deeper with your research and uncover the ancestors you never knew you had. It’s also ideal for fact-checking, as many obituaries weren’t necessarily created with 100% accuracy.
Why are obituaries so valuable for genealogy?
If you live in or are interested in conducting genealogy research, then the construction of a family tree is a first great step. And if you live in the Philadelphia area, Philadelphia Inquirer obituaries are an amazing resource. Read More
When building a family tree for a family that lives in the Philadelphia area, Philadelphia Inquirer obituaries are helpful for the dense amount of biographical information that they contain. Obituaries are snapshots of a deceased person's life and family relations. Using this information, it’s possible to create an in-depth family tree. In addition, it can be a springboard for genealogy research. If you’re a professional who is conducting genealogical studies of a family, or a relative who wants to know more about the lives of their entire family, then Philadelphia obituaries are an essential tool and gateway into further research. Instead of trusting Google and dealing with the hassle of using an overbroad search like ‘obituaries Philadelphia PA,” trusting a site like GenealogyBank will save time. This is due to the site’s extensive Philadelphia inquirer death notices throughout over nearly a century.
Obituaries throughout history
Obituaries have existed as far back as the Roman empire. In 59 BC, death notices were published as part of papyrus broadsheets called ‘acta diurna’ or ‘daily acts.’ Obituaries have always been part of community news, and official death notices most likely went back even further. Philly obits that can be found in the Philadelphia Inquirer archives go back as far as 1860.
By the 19th century, death notices had become a regular feature of nearly all newspapers. Before 1886, when Linotype was invented, letters had to be set by hand. This kept obituaries dense and brief. The only exceptions to the dense obituaries of this period were obits for children. Small couplets of rhyme were often included in death notices for children, expressing deep grief.
Death notices served (and continue to serve) as quasi-legal documents since a death notice backed by a death certificate served to indicate that an individual was dead. This cleared the way for creditors to open suit against the deceased’s estate.
By the 1900s, the automation of typesetting created more space in newspapers. Like advertisements, newspapers found they could charge for printing obituaries and found good profit in doing so.
How to search obituaries online
When searching Phila obits online, it’s best to use a site like GenealogyBank that has access to the obituary listings from newspapers in the local area of your research. Many descendants will have their services in areas where they grew up, as opposed to where they were living when they died. Knowing these pieces of information is crucial when searching for Philadelphia death notices.
Seeing as how there are literally hundreds of thousands of obituary listings to check through, even searching in a bounded geographical area or set of dates can be tough when searching for Philadelphia Inquirer obits. With that in mind, here are a few pieces of uniquely identifying information that can help your obituary search:
- First name, middle initial, and last name
- Death and/or funeral location, if available
- Death date or year range of death
Using these pieces of information can ensure a direct match when searching for Inquirer obituaries. This will enable you to start building a family tree that can detail the historical journey of the entire family related to the decedent. Make sure to carefully check the spelling on names, as well as to use fully spelled out middle names. Anything that can help differentiate the names on Philadelphia Inquirer obituaries will be useful in tracking down the information you want.
What to look for in Philadelphia Inquirer obituaries
Jotting down the above points on an index card can help you maintain a file of people for whom you’re performing obituaries PA research. Noting the cause of death, survivors, and pertinent locations can help you research topics in further detail. What you will need will vary depending on if you’re building out your family tree, conducting health research, etc. Read More
By taking careful note of “predeceased” people in the obituary, you can track down the obituaries of these people, making your family tree creation easier. Soon, you’ll have a web of people whose family story stretches across decades.
What can obituary information be used for?
What can’t it be used for? Obituary information condenses an entire lifetime of events. As such, it is useful for a variety of things including:
- Building out a family tree
- Tracking generational health information
- Finding and reconnecting with lost relatives
- Using obituary information to act as a gateway to deeper historical and genealogical research
- Creating the historical narrative of an entire family line across decades and centuries
- Taking pride in one’s own heritage and history
- Honoring one’s family’s participation in historical events Obituaries are pure, distilled celebrations of lifetimes. They are amazing tools for history and family discovery.
Genealogy research and obituary information examples
To illustrate, here is an example of how we can get great genealogical information from a published obituary.
The example here is of Marianne T. (Goeldin Vontiefanau) Bechhold.
“Marianne T. (nee Goeldin) VonTiefenau died on Sept. 1, 2020, age 91 of West Chester for the past five years and formerly of Ft. Myers, FL. Beloved wife of Robert A. whom she married on April 11, 1953. Devoted mother of Chris (Rebecca), Karen (John) Jobin, Laura (Scott) Watson, Susanne Bechhold, Lynne (Paul) Daus, and Kimberly Federici; a sister Charlotte Walsh, 11 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her sister Dorothy Herlihy.
Funeral Services and interment are private for the immediate family. Memorials may be sent in her name to the Covenant House, PO Box 96708, Wash., DC, 20090-6708 Arrangements: Frank C. Videon funeral home, Broomall PA.
From this compact obituary we can determine:
- That the only family member mentioned as predeceased was Marianne’s sister, Dorothy Herlihy
- That she had one husband and seven children, all alive and well, along with 11 grandchildren
- That she has one living sister, Charlotte Walsh
- She was a resident of Fort Meyers, Florida, and most likely spent her retirement there
- That she was a loving mother and homemaker
As you can see, when it comes to genealogical research, obituaries are a vital resource. The details of a person’s life, and death, provide essential information. Moreover, the resources available at the Philadelphia Inquirer Obituaries can make any search you perform successful.
How to Find Pennsylvania Death Notices in the Philadelphia Inquirer
Finding death notices in the Philadelphia Inquirer can be another vital source of genealogical research. But what’s the difference between a death notice and an obituary?
Although some people use the terms interchangeably, they’re actually two different things. Obituaries describe the person, who they are, and what they did in their lives. Death notices, on the other hand, are formalized reports of someone’s death in the local news.
Family members would have published death notices in the Philadelphia Inquirer to detail the person’s name, age, residence, work history, and any information about the funeral service. As family members typically wrote these, they tend to be relatively accurate.
Death notices can help extract more information about an ancestor and uncover their place of burial. So, how do you look up local death notices and sift through hundreds of years’ worth of history? If you want to find death notices alongside Philadelphia Inquirer obits, follow these tips:
- Include Boolean operators and proximity search techniques.
- Use multiple collections to fact-check any found records.
- Connect other family members mentioned in the death notice to confirm whole sections of your family tree.
The Philadelphia Inquirer records are invaluable sources of historical information about local people. We make it easy for you to search, discover, and share your family’s untold story. Get started with GenealogyBank and start making connections today.
Other Useful Collections To Try
- US Newspapers Archives
- Government Publications
- Social Security Death Index
- US Cultural Archives
Trace your family history with the GenealogyBank database to begin growing your family tree.
Do you want to learn even more about unlocking your history? Visit the GenealogyBank Learning Center for tips and inspiration.