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How to Find Out If a Family Member Has Passed Away

by Kay Abbot

The Internet provides a wealth of information on ancestry and genealogy including documents such as obituaries and death notices. Even with the technology of the "information age" glitches in family communication can occur and after a traumatic event, such as a death, some family members may not be notified in a timely manner. Even estranged family members can find information sources. A number of Internet and real world places exist to find information on family members.

Type the relative's first and last name into a search engine and click on search to begin investigating. If this does not produce the desired results, put the relative's name in quotes or add the words "obituary" or "death" after the name in the search box.

Search the genealogical website Ancestry.com as it offers a social security death index as an alternative to obituary searches alone. While Ancestry.com offers free membership trials, it is a pay site, and it may cost to view available records.

Check funeral home websites for obituaries. Call funeral homes in the area of the family member's last known address. They should be able to disclose whether someone with that name was buried with the funeral home's assistance.

Look into databases, such as Ancestor Hunt, for valuable links. Some databases list obituary search engines by state making it easier to narrow down the search for a family member. Click on the link for a database in the area a family member is from. Type in requested information, such as the family member in question's full name and date of birth, then begin the search.

Check with a local library about the availability of genealogical information. If they don't have it, they may have information on the closest genealogical society or other sources of information.

Items you will need
  • Computer
  • Internet access

Resources

About the Author

Kay Abbot began writing professionally in 2004. She has written articles for Garden Guides, eHow Home & Garden and Answerbag. Kay has a degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix.