Sharing new ideas, resources, knowledge and technology to keep abreast of new development in reference service field

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I recently gave a workshop on the accessibility of public records in Massachusetts. My primary goal was to reference hard to find, or normally not accessible information, about everyday individuals. In any event, a small amount of the material included genealogy.

One of the websites that I literally fell over was Obitfinder, a website maintained by The database archives obituaries dating back to 1930 from newspapers all across North America. I counted them - 744 newspapers. Granted, indexing will be uneven but what a gem. You no longer have to tell your patrons that you can't get that information because you only subscribe to newspapers in a finite geographic area.

The information given includes the full name of the deceased; place and date of death; relations; and the date and name of the newspaper it appeared in. There is a small hook. If you want the full obituary, photograph and guest book (if they are available) these are provided at a charge of $2.95. The website URL is

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