Using Funeral Home Records for Genealogy
March 28, 2017
Genealogy is the pursuit of information on individuals and families. Many times, records generated by someone’s death can bring a wealth of information on that person’s life. Death records, obituaries, and burial notices can provide clues to what that person was like but also can provide information on their family members. Often, family history researchers will overlook one important piece in the burial process: the funeral home. That’s right; funeral home records are another great resource to find out information on your ancestors. And the Midwest Genealogy Center and Mid-Continent Public Library have lots of resources to help your search.
If books are your thing, search MCPL’s online catalog using keyword search terms like “funeral home” and a county or state name. For example, typing “funeral home” and “Missouri” will bring back 76 results. Some more possibilities include Tales From Kentucky Funeral Homes, Grohe Funeral Home Records, Mount Vernon, Ohio, and Funeral Home Memorial Cards from some West Virginia counties.
Databases are another great place to look for funeral home records. Genealogy Connect is accessible from home with your MCPL Access Pass and contains genealogy eBooks. Type "funeral home" in the search box to find titles like Locating Your Ancestor’s Final Resting Place. Ancestry Library Edition (in-library use only) has collections that cover the whole United States, Riley County, Kansas, and more. In addition to databases, MGC also has an archival collection titled Sibley and Webb Cemeteries records. This collection contains selected records from Sibley and Webb cemeteries located in Jackson County, Missouri.
What should you do if books or online collections don’t exist for the funeral home you need? The first step is to find out if the funeral home in still in business and call them. Second, check with local genealogical and historical societies. Sometimes these records were donated when a funeral home closed.
Funeral home records can provide those brick-wall-busting clues for your family research. You may find maiden names, occupations, and more! Have you found any gems in funeral home records?
Midwest Genealogy Center