Many of my ancestors are buried in the small-town cemetery of Lone Jack, Mo. I consider myself lucky that a gentleman who lives in Lone Jack took it upon himself to record every gravestone in the cemetery, as well as reprint every obituary he could find. It helped me see some of my ancestors through the eyes of their friends and neighbors.
About my great-great-grandmother, the obituary said, “She never missed a Sunday school or church service, often going when she was so weak she could hardly get there and back. Or never missed a chance to do a Christian’s duty.”
About my great-grandfather: “Since [the death of his brother] Mr. Faulkenberry has seemed to cling closer to his family, being reluctant to have his children away and regretting that circumstances called his family from home.”
Through obituaries, I have learned about my ancestors’ professions, their personal history, their relatives, and a bit about their character. The obituaries have added a depth that would be difficult for me to learn anywhere else, except by first-hand experience.
Is there an obituary of your ancestor on the Web? Here are a few places to begin your search.
• Obituary Central
• Internet Obituary Network
• Obituary Daily Times
• Obituaries from Houston, Texas, 1839-1850
If you cannot find an obituary, a few off-line sources are:
Local genealogy societies: Oftentimes, genealogy societies sell cemetery and obituary records. Use your favorite search engine to find the genealogy society in your area of interest. Society publications are usually listed on their Web sites.
State historical societies: You can frequently find microfilms of old newspapers in state historical societies. In addition, many will do a brief search of records for a nominal fee.