Genealogical researchers, the police, private investigators and journalists find obituary records as great sources of information as they conduct their day to day duties. This goes to show how important obituary records are in our society, leading to the process of maintaining them. With this guide, you will learn how to do an obituary search in Pennsylvania.
Obituaries are a piece of writing about someone just after they die. They are often published on newspapers. Obituaries are mostly categorized by their tendency to focus on the positive part of the deceased’s life.
The fact that obituaries are not required by any government body unlike death certificates, makes them not a requirement to be published. There is no one particular place that keeps obituary information for Pennsylvania thus making obituaries very hard to locate with just a simple internet search or phone call.
Obituary Searches from Libraries in Pennsylvania
Library resources in Pennsylvania can be helpful in locating obituaries. However, libraries operate using different methods in trying to aggregate obituaries all over the state. These libraries are organized according to county, operating as individual units. The system is not cohesive enough despite the fact that they share microfilms and other archive data using the interlibrary loan system.
Take for example, the Eerie County Public Library System. It has more than 260 000 obituary records in it. There is a comprehensive index found on the site of where and what type of obituaries can be located. A search from here matches the name of the deceased with the date of death on the obituary. If a match is found, you can then proceed to get in touch with the library to find where you can locate the actual obituary.
A similar system can be found in Blair County Library for all obituaries that were published by the Altoona Mirror. They have indexed all obituaries that were published in the newspaper after 1929.
New Castle Public Library has an index where you can search for obituaries and death notices. Even though copies of the real text are not available, the public is able to view and locate the publishing newspaper with its page. Users can then find out if the obituary is printed or an original copy. They can then print it at a price or view it if they want to.
The Lebanon County Library has digitized obituaries covering the last 30 or so years. For obituaries in this area and within this time frame, you will not only find their location but also be able to view original copies of them.
Pennsylvania libraries also enable users to access websites that keep obituary databases. They can be accessed using library cards from these libraries. Examples of these sites are MyHeritage, Accessible Archives and AncestryLibrary.
Obituary Searches from Genealogy Bank in Pennsylvania
An obituary search from Genealogy Bank can help you learn more on your history and find long lost ancestors in Pennsylvania. Extended family searches and extensive genealogy research activities are also ideal on this site. A search from here can be done by anyone, whether you are new to genealogy searches or a veteran researcher.
To search from here, type the first and last name of the person you want to find the obituary for and search. This will bring back all results that are related to your search. You can include a keyword in your search such as a town or school to filter the results. You can also include a year range in your search.
You also have the ability to determine which result should come first (newest, oldest, best matches) on this site.
The site also offers tips on how to search for obituaries in cases whereby the person you are looking up has a common name. It is common occurrence to make the mistake of selecting the wrong person with an identical name. Luckily, there are ways to avoid that which are suggested by this site.
Obituary Searches from Tributes in Pennsylvania
You can browse obituaries as well as death records in Pennsylvania from Tributes. To search from this database, you will need to select a city or town from those listed on the site. They are listed in alphabetical order. This means that, for a successful search from here, you need to be aware of the location (city, town) on the obituary you are after.
The website also has an Advanced Obituary Search function that you can use. Searches from here can be done using a name, date of birth, location date of death and keywords.
With these sources, you have an answer on how to do an obituary search in Pennsylvania. You must also keep it in mind that, since obituaries are not obligatory like death certificates, it is possible not to find them. You may find that the obituary you are looking for never existed in the first place. Some families couldn’t afford the obituary costs that were needed to publish obituaries in newspapers.