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Beyond the Obituary: Discovering Family History in Funeral Home Records

Did you know that funeral home records could hold the key to unlocking brick wall mysteries? They are wonderful resources to fill in gaps! Read on.

It might sound surprising, but funeral home records can be an incredibly valuable resource for genealogists. Not only do they often contain information about the deceased's family members and relatives, but they can also provide insight into burial customs and cultural traditions of the time period. Plus, they may contain information about the funeral service itself, including the officiant, the pallbearers, and any other attendees.

So, why does this method work? For one thing, funeral home records often include information that might not be available in other types of records. They can also help to confirm or disprove other research you've done. And because these records were created by a third-party source (the funeral home), they may contain information that the family didn't necessarily include in official documents.

Now, let's dive into some tips for using funeral home records to solve those pesky genealogy brick walls.

Tip #1: Look for obituaries first. If you're lucky, you might be able to find an obituary for your ancestor that includes information about the funeral home they used. This can be a great starting point for your research, as it can help you to identify the right funeral home and locate any relevant records.

Tip #2: Check online databases. There are a number of online databases that can help you to locate funeral home records. These include websites like and, as well as more specialized databases like the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) online directory. Make sure to search for records in the area where your ancestor lived and died, as funeral home records are typically kept on a local level.

Tip #3: Reach out to local funeral homes. If you're having trouble locating records online, consider reaching out to local funeral homes in the area where your ancestor lived and died. They may be able to provide you with more information about their records and whether they have any relevant records on file. Just be sure to be polite and respectful in your inquiries, as funeral homes may be hesitant to share private information about their clients.

Tip #4: Use funeral home records to fill in the gaps. Once you've located funeral home records for your ancestor, take the time to carefully review them and make note of any new information you discover. This might include the names of relatives you didn't previously know about, or details about the funeral service that could shed light on your ancestor's life and relationships. Use this information to fill in any gaps in your family tree and to continue your research with renewed focus and energy.

I hope these tips help you to unlock some of those tough genealogy brick walls! Remember, funeral home records can be an incredibly valuable resource for genealogists, so don't hesitate to explore them in your research. And always keep an open mind and a positive attitude as you continue your search for your family's history. Good luck!


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