How to Find an Obituary

by Contributor

The internet has made it easier than ever to locate obituaries online, whether for someone who died recently, or years or decades (or even centuries!) ago. In addition, in many cases you can find an obituary for free. Here's how.

**Check SSDI** The Social Security Death Index has information on most deaths that have occurred in the US since the 1960's. If you're not sure of the details of a person's passing (where?, how old?, when?), then SSDI is an important resource for getting clear on what you're looking for. Type SSDI in a Google search, or access SSDI through

**Visit the Obits Archive** The Obits Archive at has a good, fast search function. It is especially useful for searching for recent (past 10-15 years) obituaries, though some of their collections extend further back as well. Searching here is free, and will return names, dates, and publications. But to pull up the full obituary, you have to subscribe to the service.

**Visit** Another fantastic resources, with an incredibly large collection of online newspaper archives going back hundreds of years. For historical research on obituaries, general genealogical work, or historical research of any kind, NewspaperArchive is hard to beat. It's a subscription service, but reasonably priced. The Resources section includes a direct link.

**Check out** has its own search function, but truth be told, I haven't found it all that valuable. Far more important is the list of links to the obituaries pages of hundreds of newspapers around the country. If you know the hometown of the person whose obituary you're looking for, then select the appropriate newspaper, and give it a whirl.

**Try the National Obituary Archive** Despite its imposing title, this is a hit or miss collection, but if nothing turns up at other resources, its certainly worth a try. You can find it at the odd address,

**And Finally...** Don't forget Google News at! They're not set up specifically for obituary searching, but they have such a large collection of news that it's definitely a not-to-be-missed resource. Their main search covers the past month or so of news stories, and their news archives go back centuries.


  • Don't forget to keep an eye out for funeral notices, and other news items related to the passing of a loved one, family member, friend, or someone you're simply curious about.