Friday, October 3, 2008

Current Obituaries by State

Harold Henderson on his excellent Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog posted Current Obituaries by State last week, based on Jasia's post about Michigan Daily Obituaries. Read Harold's post for his impressions of these seemingly automated blog sites.

The current "lineup" of states being compiled include:

* Michigan - - started in August 2008
* Indiana - - started in August 2008
* Illinois - - started in September 2008
* Ohio - - started in August 2008
* Pennsylvania - - started in July 2008

* New Hampshire - - started in 2007
* Vermont - - started in 2007
* Massachusetts - - started in 2007
* Rhode Island - - started in 2007
* Connecticut - - started in 2007

* New York - - started in 2007
* New Jersey - - started in October 2008
* Maryland - - started in July 2008
* Virginia - - started in August 2008
* North Carolina - - started in August 2008

* Tennessee - - started in September 2008
* Georgia - - started September 2008
* Florida - - started October 2008

Perhaps more states will come online in the future.

If you check these sites, you will find that the names of the deceased are linked to the specific newspaper obituary online. The names are in either first name/last name or last name/first name order.

Harold makes a great observation in that:

"One noteworthy quirk: each day's entries are alphabetical by whatever part of the deceased's name came first. Researchers trying to keep up with particular surnames in particular known states should nevertheless find this a time-saving resource."

If you are going to search by a person's name in a Google or other general search engine, you will need to search both ways (if you use quotes - and beware of middle names or initials).

These state obituary blogs are all hosted by Blogger, and a reader can save time by using the Blogger "Search Blog box at the top left of the blog page. If you use that search box, you can find obituaries for a particular surname very quickly rather than use Google or another general search engine. However, this search will find the post on the blog - you will have to search for the name using Edit>Find.

We still don't know how much coverage these lists have - Harold found that for one day in September that there were Illinois obituaries from four areas.

Obviously, they are not perfect, but they are a start! Now we need a Steve Morse-type search engine that would search all of them in one swell foop!

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