Locating Funeral Records

"Funeral Directors Records"
by Lisa South, Certified Genealogist

Funeral directors usually maintain private records which are available at the discretion of the director. Every experience I have had with funeral directors has been positive and helpful, but you must remember that even though you're working on your family tree, these are their records!

Death records will give the name and address of the funeral director. Obituaries usually give this type of information as well. If you don't know which funeral home handled the funeral of your ancestor, you can contact the ones in the area that existed at the time of your ancestors death. A helpful reference is the American Blue Book of Funeral Directors, published in New York by the National Funeral Directors Association. This book contains the names of cemeteries organized by location. It is available in most public and genealogical libraries and often in your local funeral homes.

Funeral records can be full of important genealogical information, but as you evaluate them, remember that the information is only as accurate as the source. Sometimes the person who gave the information to the funeral director did not have the accurate information.

When writing to funeral directors, keep your requests short and always include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

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