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January 2011 Newsletter

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100-Year-Old Woman's Obituary Provides a Wealth of Family History

"Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar, all who love obits stand up and holler!"

That is probably not the way you heard that cheer in school, but genealogists sure do love obituaries. Obituaries and death notices provide a wealth of valuable information–not only about the person who died, but most contain references to other family members that can lead your family research into new, and sometimes unexpected, directions.

GenealogyBank offers more than 160 million obituaries and death records covering 300 years. For a step-by-step explanation of exactly how to research the obituaries and death notices in our collection, read the "Search Tips" article in this edition of GenealogyBank News.

Here is a good example of how useful and informative, not to mention interesting, obituaries can be. Tom Kemp, our Director of Genealogy Products, came across this obituary for Louise Cloutier (1789-1889).

It was published in the November 13, 1889, issue of the Daily Inter-Ocean newspaper.

Born in Canada in 1789, Louise lived a remarkably long life (especially for her times!), not dying until 100 years later in Chicago.

What information and clues do we get from this obituary?

1. Name
2. Place and year of birth
3. Name of the cemetery
4. Date and place of the funeral and burial
5. Names of her three living children, where they lived, and their position in the family's birth order
6. Names of the towns where she had lived and how long she lived in each one
7. Age of husband at his death and how long ago that was
8. Details on the longevity of her father (110 years) and grandfather (90 years)
9. Count of her descendants, by generation
10. Best of all: her picture as rendered in a wood-cut engraving!

Remember: newspapers contain a treasure trove of obituaries. And GenealogyBank is your best source for old newspapers on the planet!