Newspaper obituaries are a rich source of information for family historians and genealogists. In many cases an obituary in the local newspaper is the only written record which gives any clue about a person’s life.
There are many online directories (unfortunately, most aren’t free) where you can search archives of obituaries in newspapers. There are also lots of websites on this subject which, despite how they market themselves, aren’t about newspaper obituaries at all but simply try to redirect you to online auction and shopping sites. (Be careful out there.) You can find these easily by using your favourite search engine.
An additional problem for those seeking British newspaper obituaries is that the vast majority of information available is US-based. It’s very difficult to find free information about British and Irish obituaries. Good luck with your search!
If you want to take a break from genealogy and researching family history, here’s a small selection of interesting obituary websites which you might find it worthwhile to visit:
101 Genealogy: a collection of useful information and resources on how to research your own family’s history.
The Blog of Death: this is an interesting blog by American author Jade Walker which provides obituaries of famous people and, occasionally, animals. The one about Alex the African grey parrot, who died on 5 October 2007, probably needs to be taken with a large pinch of salt. But nonetheless this is an entertaining blog if you have any desire to read obituaries which are well-written, entertaining and informative.
Death – the last taboo. OK, so it’s not directly related to newspaper obituaries, but I found their website whilst researching this article and thought you might find it worth a visit. This Australian site squarely faces what many of us probably don’t really want to know. It’s definitely worth a look if you’re brave enough.
And finally, here’s a link to The Independent‘s obituaries section: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/
(We used to have a link to The Times‘s obituaries, but had to remove it after they instituted their paywall in 2010.)