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How to Find Deceased Classmates

by Ashley Leonard

If you were close to your former classmates and you lost contact with them, dealing with their death can be hard. There are various ways to find out information on the deceased classmate, including family information and final resting place. Finding out about your deceased classmate can give you some kind of closure and help you with your grief.

Contact your former school to see if the school has any information about the classmates and their families. Inquire about their last known address. The alumni association at many schools should have the last known address of all graduates. Contact the head of the alumni association for more information that may be useful to you.

Speak with former classmates that you have kept in contact with over the years. If you and the deceased classmates have a mutual friend then it may be easier to find out about them and their families. One of your friends might have been close to one of the deceased classmates and can give you information on how to find out about the person and the person's family.

Join classmates.com to get in touch with former classmates. To begin the registration process select the location of your school (state then city) on the homepage. When you register for a free account on classmates.com you can speak with former classmates and post discussions on the class discussion board. Post a new discussion about the deceased classmate or classmates and ask your former classmates for any information they have on that person. You don’t have to worry about the lack of privacy on the discussion board because only members of that school on the website can see the post. To send email directly to former classmates on classmates.com you can register for a paid account that in late 2009 cost $39 a year.

Talk to your parents or the parents of your former classmates. You might be surprised how much they know about former classmates and their families. It is possible that your parents kept in touch with the deceased’s family, so they might have some useful information.

Look in the obituaries section in your local paper. Usually when someone dies the family buries the person either in the deceased's hometown or in the town the person lived the longest. If you know the date of death you can look at the obituaries for that week. The obituary of the deceased may include family information, as well as information on the funeral home and cemetery. Go to the library to look at the newspaper archives. Libraries typically have past newspapers for you to view. Inquire with the librarian about the years of the newspapers and how far back they go. Go online to legacy.com; you can search obituaries from multiple newspapers. On the website, on the right side, type in your classmate's first and last name and click "Search." According to legacy.com, you can search millions of obituaries from more than 750 newspapers in the United States and abroad.

Check the Social Security Death Index (ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com) for deceased classmates. Type in the full name (first and last) of the deceased in the spaces provided and click "Submit." A list of names will come up displaying their date of birth, date of death, and last known residence. Scroll through each name until you find the person you are looking for. According to genealogybank.com, the Social Security Death Index contains more than 85 million death records for individuals with U.S. Social Security numbers.

Items you will need
  • Full name of classmate

About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Ashley Leonard has been writing professionally since 2007. Her articles have appeared on rsportscars.com and various other websites. Leonard holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marymount Manhattan College.

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