Where to Find Obituaries Online
An obituary allows friends and family to share the news of a loved one's passing with their community. It typically includes some biographical information about the deceased as well as a schedule for any visitation hours, memorial services or funerals the family has planned. In the past, a local newspaper was the primary place to print an obituary, but in today’s digital world, obituaries from the past and present can be found online in multiple places.
Local Newspaper Websites
Your local newspaper is where people turned for obituaries in the past, and it's still a great source today. While the print edition of the paper is still a useful resource, you can just as easily turn to the newspaper’s website, which likely includes a digital copy of the obituaries. In addition to the most current obituaries, many newspapers even let you search their archives for past obituaries as well. Those for prominent members of the community may appear on the front page or other news sections.
Funeral Home Websites
If you know which funeral home took care of the arrangements for the family, you can usually find an obituary or death notice on their website. Many funeral homes help loved ones write an obituary and place it online as part of their funeral service packages. In fact, they may even help loved ones submit the obituary to the local paper in the community, as many newspapers require verification that a person has died. Most funeral homes feature the obituaries of the people currently or most recently in their care, but you can probably search the archives for older dates.
In addition to obituaries that exist on paper and online at the same time, it's also common to create entirely digital obituaries and memorials for deceased loved ones. Legacy.com is a leader in that field, with 40 million unique visitors to the site each month from around the world. Legacy also offers directories for newspapers and funeral homes across the United States to help you expand your search. The company also makes it easy to send flowers and condolences to the loved ones of the recently deceased. The site even singles out notable deaths, funny obituaries, inspirational lives and other noteworthy obituaries for those who are simply browsing.
Genealogy sites are often helpful when you’re searching for an obituary, especially an older one for someone who died many years ago. You usually start by providing as much information as you can about the person in question, and results may include obituaries, family trees, life and death documents and much more. Some of these sites may require a fee for access to all their stored information, but most offer a limited free trial. Some popular genealogy and family research sites that may feature obituaries include Genealogybank.com, Ancestry.com, Genealogybuff.com and the Chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
If all else fails, turn to social media. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have excellent search features that allow you to search for a person by name. On Facebook, when a person dies, a loved one can turn their account into a memorial. If you know the person’s family and friends, look for their social media pages for posts announcing the person’s death, links to an obituary via a funeral home or local newspaper and any information about a memorial service. Some people even post video obituaries and tributes on sites like YouTube. It’s easy to spread information to the masses these days, so it’s important to look beyond traditional methods of finding obituaries.