Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FamilySearch Obituary Collection is Expanding

I check the FamilySearch historical collection list page every day for new entries (click on the "Last Updated" link), and I found a good one today:

The United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014 collection (with over 529,000 records) was added to the list on 22 August 2014.  

The description of this database is:

"Index to obituaries from thousands of newspapers throughout the United States. Records are being published as they become available. This collection is created in partnership with www.GenealogyBank.com."

There is a fuller description of this database and how to use it in  https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States,_GenealogyBank_Obituaries_(FamilySearch_Historical_Records)

I entered the last name "seaver" in the search field on the screen above and saw 169 results:

For each result, there is information about the birth year, death date, and obituary date.  There may also be some relationship information.

The second one down looked interesting - one of the "other" relationships was Sigmund Freud!  I clicked on the link for Margaret A. Aikins Seaver Pratt (two screens):

As you can see, there is a lot of information indexed from the obituary, including clear relationships for the other persons mentioned in the obituary.

At the top of the page, the blue "Attach to Family Tree" permits me to attach the FamilySearch page to a person in the FamilySearch Family Tree (after I sign in).

Down at the bottom of the screen is a source citation to this FamilySearch record, including the link to the result page above.

The image for this obituary is on the GenealogyBank subscription site.  The screen above provides a link to the website.  I have a GenealogyBank subscription, so I was able to see the obituary content, which is a transcription, not the actual newspaper page:

I have Margaret Aikins in my database, married to John Tassey Seaver (1893-1940).  Now I know that they divorced, that she married Jacob Pratt in 1959, and she was a clinical psychologist who authored the Runner-Seaver Personality Analysis Test.  I've not heard of it before!  John Tassey Seaver was my 8th cousin twice removed, so I am not directly related to Margaret.

You never know what you're going to find when you search a new online historical record database!

This is only one of the relatively new Obituaries collections (remember the "Dead Men Tell No Tales, But Their Obituaries Do!" theme from RootsTech?) available on FamilySearch.  Apparently, FamilySearch Indexing has been working on these for some time (I don't recall seeing it on the Indexing list, though!).

There are probably a lot more obituaries coming from this resource, since GenealogyBank lists over 47 million in their Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977-today) collection.

I appreciate the willingness of FamilySearch and GenealogyBank to collaborate on this effort.  It's a win for FamilySearch because they broaden their reach into relatively recent and already digitized newspapers.  It's a win for GenealogyBank because it exposes their resources to FamilySearch users who may have been unaware of it previously, and who may choose to subscribe.  A pay-per-obituary process might work well for GenealogyBank!

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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