Can the MA obituaries archive play a role in your search for a person?
Not being in touch with school friends can be tough. The search leading to a death record can be worse. Many people end up doing an obituary search in MA for the people they knew years ago and the possibility of finding out that this person may no longer be alive can be emotionally taxing.
It can be further distressing if you don’t know the various ways of doing an obituary search. A regular person who has limited knowledge of government records and who is not internet savvy may be left with many questions. To make your search quick, its best to understand the different ways of doing the search before you end up getting irritated and giving up on the search.
Does an obituary index from Massachusetts have all the information of the deceased?
An obituary index does not have all the information of the deceased. It has details such as the full name, age, date of birth and date of death of the deceased. It may also include the name of the spouse, children and parents. If you want more details about the deceased, you have to look through the death records.
How can I trace an obituary printed 10 years ago?
In this day and age of the internet, it is easy to find anything online. Also, it can save you a lot of time if you look online before opting for other approaches.
Online: You can try to find the obituary listing by typing the name of the deceased in the search engine. Don’t forget to add the name of the state that he/she may have died in. If the search results don’t pull up the required information, you can visit websites that publish obituaries. There are many such websites that keep a record of the obituaries printed in any newspaper in the county/state or country, on any date in the last 30-40 years. Many newspapers maintain a record of the obituaries published by them on the websites.
Offline: Some researchers consider this to be the best option. For this information, you can visit the Public Records Office of the county in which the death may have taken place. This information is commonly found in old public libraries because they usually keep a copy of the old newspapers. It is not easy to search through hard copies of so many papers. If you are lucky, you may find a library that maintains the copies on a micro film.
Some people do not print the obituary in the newspaper and instead give obituary or memorial handouts. A few funeral homes also follow the practice of offering obituary pamphlets. Finding an obituary out of these options would involve calling or visiting all such service providers in the county, though some may have websites and could help you over email.
Earlier, many funeral homes used to publish the obituaries on boards outside their estate or premises or on a board in small towns. Some of these old funeral homes now have websites where you may find a picture of the old obituaries listed by them on the board.
What do you do if you cannot find the obituary at the local library?
If you cannot find the obituary listing at the local library, it means the obituary may have not been published and might be a part of the news papers unpublished obituaries list. The unpublished list can only be found at the newspaper’s office. If you cannot find the obituary because you can’t find the newspaper of a specific date, then you will have to find a state or national library close by or you may have to drive down there.
Library search from another state can be done in a more efficient way by writing to the librarian and requesting him/her to search on your behalf and email you the findings or coordinate with the local library in your city or county for the same.
What is the difference between obituaries and death notices?
Both are used for the same reason, but the death notice is different from the obituary in the sense that it provides more details. The death notice may contain basic and specific information of the deceased, like the person’s lifestyle, education, likes and dislikes, profession, success in career, difficulties faced in life with details of the funeral or memorial service. An obituary, on the other hand, may just have the basic details and information about the funeral service.
Expert’s advice on MA obituary search
Obituary search should be done:
1. By the first and the last name.
2. All the known spellings of the names.
3. Get creative while searching; follow the nontraditional approach of searching by the support/ recreation/ hobby/ social responsibility group or a club the deceased was a part of.
4. Keep in mind all the online and offline options mentioned earlier.
5. Don’t just look for obituaries, look for death notices as well.
6. Look out for newspapers that have a paid service for such searches.
Isn’t it mandatory for the family of the deceased to announce the death via an obituary?
It is mandatory for the family to inform the authorities about the death, but it is not mandatory in any state to print an obituary. It is at the discretion of the family members to print the obituary.