How to Find Old Obituaries Online

Obituaries are valuable sources of information for anyone who is working on a research project, whether it is a genealogy project for your family or a historical report that needs details about a person’s life and death. Using an online obituary search service is a convenient way to locate facts about deceased people. Typically you can constrain your search by details such as a person’s name or the year in which the individual died. Legacy.com, Tributes and GenealogyBank are three useful websites.

Woman using computer
Online research for obituaries can save you a trip to the library.
credit: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Legacy.com

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Navigate to the Legacy.com website.

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Type the first and last name of the person in the “First Name” and “Last Name” text fields. Type in an optional keyword in the “Keyword” text box, such as the person’s last job title.

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Click the “Past 3 Days” pull-down menu and then click a category such as “1930-1939” or “All Records.”

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Select a country from the “All Countries” pull-down menu. Click the “All States” pull-down menu and select a state.

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Click “Search” to search for old obituaries according to the criteria you selected.

Tributes

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Go to the Tributes website and click “Advanced Search” at the top of the page.

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Type a person’s first and last name in the appropriate text fields in the “Obituary Search” window.

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Click the “State” pull-down menu and select a state.

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Click the “Date of Death” pull-down menu and then click an option such as “Before 1950” or “All.”

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Click the “Search” button to execute your obituaries search.

GenealogyBank

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Point your Web browser to the GenealogyBank website.

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Type in the person’s last name in the “Last Name” box and then type the person’s first name in the “First Name” box.

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Type in optional keywords in the “Include Keywords” box, such as the deceased person’s occupation. You can also type in keywords that you want to exclude from your search in the “Exclude Keywords” box.

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Click the “Date Range” radio button and then type the beginning year and ending year in the “Range of Years” boxes. Alternately, click the “Date” radio button and type in a date. Click the pull-down menu and select an option such as “Exact.” Clicking an option such as “10 Years” constrains the search to obituaries within that many years of the date you entered.

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Click “Begin Search.” A list of obituary records appears from data sets that include newspaper archives, historical documents, books and the Social Security Death Index. Click the name of a set of records to see obituary details. Social Security records are free to examine; other data sets require you to register with GeneologyBank and pay a fee before you can see the results.