One of the main goals for genealogists in searching historic newspapers is to find obituaries.  Obituaries are a gold mine of information. They provide death dates and locations, funeral and cemetery information and more importantly – information about the relatives of the deceased’s family and extended family.  This family name information is often not found anywhere else.

Over the past few decades, thanks to volunteers, librarians and archivists, a great number of indexes to death information and obituaries from newspapers have been provided for free online.  These searchable indexes often provide the location in old newspapers where the obituary can be found. Sometimes the obituary clipping is even provided.

So not only can we search old newspapers for these gems, we can get transcriptions and get directed to the location of the obituaries from these indexes.

And remember you can always search online historical newspapers for obituaries for free (links at Newspaper Links).

Here are a few articles I’ve written recently that may be helpful: 

Below is a list of links to obituary indexes, presented by state/province and geographical area, an alternative means to newspaper searching to find obituary information. Please be aware that if you find a desired obituary in an index, that the holder of the actual obituary (e.g., library or genealogical society) may charge a small fee to send you a copy of the obituary itself.

United States


Obituary Search – Frequently Asked Questions

Many current obituaries can be found online via a Google search. These obituaries may be found on obituary archive sites, newspaper websites, or on funeral home websites. You may even find some obituaries by doing a search on social media. If it is someone who died many years ago, you should search newspapers, do a Google search, or look on local library websites.
Unless you visit a library with newspaper originals or access to a microfilm machine for newspapers that have been scanned, the easiest way is to search online newspapers. There are subscription newspaper databases and free historical newspaper collections. For free online collections, you should use The Ancestor Hunt’s lists of links to collections from the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Access to links to over 75,000 titles can be achieved, by going to that site’s Newspaper Links Page.
If you are looking at the original local newspaper or a scanned copy, just go to the Obituary section in the few days following the death. If you are searching online, it is more difficult because the newspaper had to be scanned and the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) process had to be applied. Depending on the quality of the original, you might need to be creative with your search criteria, especially if you do not have the date of death. Make sure that you are looking in the right location as well as making sure that the online newspaper collection has a date range that includes the date of death.
Fortunately, public libraries, some genealogy sites, and genealogy societies have transcribed millions of newspaper obituaries, and they also have created obituary indexes that specify the deceased’s name, the title of the newspaper that contains the obituary, and the date of publication. Using The Ancestor Hunt’s Obituary Page will lead you to obituary and obituary index collections for the U.S. and Canada. It has about 20,000 links to free transcription, index, and clipping collections.
Many libraries and genealogy societies have either transcribed obituaries in their local area or have created obituary indexes that list the deceased’s name, the title of the publication, as well as the date that the obituary was published. With this information, you can track down the newspaper that has the obituary in it. Often if you find the deceased in an index in a library or the library offers research services and the library has the newspaper, they may be able to send you a copy via email or postal mail.
Some of the most popular are’s Memorial websites, Forever Missed, and Ever Loved. To find a possible memorial site for someone who has passed away in recent years, look for these sites as well as complete a Google search.