Mortuary and Funeral Home records are yet another little-used resource by genealogy researchers. They are difficult to obtain, especially in hard copies from the original funeral home. You can contact them, but often, mortuaries went out of business or were sold to another company. And many of the original records have been lost or destroyed.
Never fear though, there are a number of mortuary records that have been digitized and made available online.
Online record collections are available from subscription sites such as Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.
But there are other state and local collections available as well, and some of them are indexes only (from ledger books). And some are free and available online!
Here are some articles that may entice you to research Mortuary and Funeral Home records:
- FamilySearch – Funeral Home Records
- Finding Funeral Home Records for Your Ancestors
- Funeral Home Records: Telling Stories of the Dearly Departed
- 15 Reasons Why Searching Mortuary and Funeral Home Records Is a Gold Mine!
Have you ever looked at a mortuary record? There is an abundance of great information available! Here is a list of some of the information on such a record, besides the brand and cost of the casket:
- Name of informant and person paying for the service
- Cause of death
- Address of the deceased
- Burial location “to be”
- In some cases – the name of the father and mother
- Name of attending physician as well as hospital or place of death
- Date of birth
- Date of death
- Date of planned burial
- Obituary from multiple newspapers
- Birth Place
- Marital Status
- Plus much more
Below are links to collections that are online and available for free. Be aware that some collections have full mortuary records, some are glorified death indexes, and some are just indexes to the actual mortuary records.
(Updated December 2022)
Note: Some of the links listed take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. To take full advantage, please make sure that you are logged in to FamilySearch. The results may be different if you are signed in, rather than not.
- Brewster, Mortuary Records from gravestones in the old burial ground
- Forester Mortuary Records, 1880-1935
- Wellfleet, Wellfleet, Truro, & Cape Cod Cemetery inscriptions
For all Free Massachusetts Links, click on the category of interest:
Probate and Wills