Tuesday’s Tip: Obituary Research

obit J C GolderIn  my years of researching my family lines I have come to love looking through obituaries to find more information on a certain family. The information provided in obituaries can be a gold mine that is just waiting for you to strike it rich. Though sometimes finding that one obituary proves to be too difficult and you give up, move on to the next family member and see if you can find them.


How I search the obituaries. 

I search for the exact person I am looking for. With ProQuest, I can search by full name and then narrow down the date by decade, exact year, and month. Sometimes I do this and sometimes I do not. Yesterday, while I was doing client research, I could not find a female. I put in her name, and tried to narrow down the results by year. But that year, there was hardly anything there, it continued to bring me to the previous year. So, I gave up the search for this woman and moved on to her father. While searching through the 50+ hits that I got on his name, I found the daughter’s obituary.

How did I find the daughter’s obituary?

Well, as I was scanning each page, if I did not find the name I was looking for I would then search the same page for the other family names. I was surprised when I found the daughter’s obituary because I kept coming back with nothing when I searched directly for her.

What we learn?

This shows us that we need to give due diligence when researching and find as many ways to complete each search, with different search terms. Remember that just because you cannot find an obituary searching for the person directly, does not mean there is not one. Be patient, think outside of the box and continue your search. You may get lucky the next time you hit that search key.



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