ADVANCED-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > ADVANCED-RESEARCH > 2007-04 > 1177785697
From: JoAnn <>
Subject: [ADVANRES] Funeral Home Directories was Genealogy Library AdviceNeeded
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2007 11:41:37 -0700
Funeral homes are my favorite source.
I have older copies of The Yellow Book, Red Book and Blue Book. They
are generally about the same - but in addition to accessing the
funeral home you need, they can help you locate records from homes no
longer there. The books are by State and city. They have ads which
often state how long they have been doing business.
Not only is the book useful for this, they also list the newspapers
where obits are published.
Here is my approach.
I find the city or town closest to where my person lived and I call
to see if their records go back to the year I need. If their records
are too new, I ask if they can tell me where older records might be
(this is a question to ask if your 'home' has gone out of business, too.)
When I have determined that I probably have the right home, I thank
them and end the phone call. I have had over helpful persons try to
give me information over the phone. I want the document! <g>
Then, I compose a request. Keeping the information simple. Something like:
I am a family researcher searching the family of BROWN. I believe my
ancestor, David BROWN who was born in 1861 died in 1914 in your
town. (Add briefly his parents, wife and/or children if you know.)
If your home served David's family, would you please send me copies
of your funeral home records? I am enclosing a self-addressed,
stamped envelope for your convenience and a check for your trouble.
($5 to $10 - $10 if you are asking for more records, maybe the wife, etc.)
With sincere thanks,
You want the records in hand because helpful people in the funeral
home do not know that there are clues on these documents they would
not notice. Sometimes the pall bearers are named. Often church or
fraternal affiliations etc. My grandmother was shipped to Missouri,
her funeral home record includes a description of how to do her hair
for a service in MO.
I have almost always gotten my check back, uncashed. But, even if I
don't I like to think they are having coffee and doughnuts 'on me'
<g> I have gotten obits, death certs (as another said. Strangely,
the funeral home was in Iowa, the death cert from Montana.) Some
have gone to take tombstone photos, others to the library for more
information, others have given my information to local researchers.
These people can be a gold mine. BUT, in these times, they have
been cautioned by the National organizations to be wary of identity
thefts etc so be aware this source may not be as forthcoming as in
the past. That is why I try to submit as much information as I can,
assuring them I am a relative (without writing a narrative.)
I have gotten the funeral home directories from small town homes
that are clearing out older directories. Oh yes, in cities like
Chicago, New York, etc. finding the right home is much
harder. Better if you do have a home name, and if it is not in the
directory, try calling a few that appear to be in the same part of
the city - at this point it is hit or miss <g>
Good luck, and heartfelt thanks to all funeral home personnel that
might read this.
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