July is completely focused on providing you with genealogy tips that are …..well,….”out of the box”.
Welcome to DAY 11 of the 31 Days of “Out of the Box” Genealogy Tips series! Need to start at the beginning of the series or catch up? Start here.
DAY 11 – Use Funeral Home Records in Your Research!
Tracking down an ancestor’s death date and/or burial place is usually at the top of a researcher’s list.
In addition to researching an ancestor’s death certificate, funeral home records can provide additional information to the researcher. Date of birth and death can be found as well as next of kin. Other family members may be mentioned as well. These records can also help you answer the question of why your ancestor is buried in a particular location – either a cemetery or in a specific area of the cemetery.
Potentially other information might be included such as the newspapers where an obituary was placed or information on the deceased’s religious affiliation may also be provided. Other information potentially found could be who provided the funeral home with information on the deceased, who was the contact person in the family, and religious affiliation.
Funeral home records typically came into use in the late nineteenth century or early 20th century. Admittedly, funeral home records can be hard to find, but certainly not impossible.
Check local funeral homes in the area where you ancestor of interest died. If the funeral home is still in existence, certainly check with them. If the funeral is no longer in business, check with the local funeral homes in the area. They may be able to tell you if the records were transferred elsewhere.
A quick check of Google Books and Internet Archive revealed a number of books have been created of the records of various funeral homes. Be sure to check state archives and state and local genealogical societies for any funeral home records books. WorldCat is another good option to search. (Read more on how to use WorldCat here.)
One more tip….
Even if a funeral home and /or its records no longer exist, check with other local funeral homes in the area. They may very well know of the older family cemeteries in the area and be able to provide you with directions.
Check out previous posts in the 31 Days of Out of the Box Genealogy Tips:
- Day 1 – Volunteer!
- Day 2 – Genealogy Wikis
- Day 3 – Cemetery Research
- Day 4 – Newspaper Society Pages
- Day 5 – Vertical Files
- Day 6 – Religious Periodicals
- Day 7 – Unplug Your Genealogy
- Day 8 – Cultural Periodicals
- Day 9 – Facebook Groups
- Day 10 – DNA Education
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