Obituary Search Pennsylvania
Searching for obituaries in the state of Pennsylvania
An obituary is an article or a short notice that is written when someone dies, for inclusion in the local press. If the person who has passed away is a celebrity, then their obituary might even appear in the national press, but most of us will only ever have our obits or death notices printed in the local media. Often they will be written by the family themselves, detailing who the person who has died was, when they passed away, how old they were and if the death was sudden or after a long illness. Often these obituaries, both in the state of Pennsylvania and throughout the US, will also include information about the funeral or memorial service so that people who knew the deceased can attend. It is not unusual to hear of elderly relatives who scour the obituary pages of their local newspaper in Pennsylvania checking to see if the names of any of their old friends or acquaintances make an appearance!
Most families like to put some kind of obituary or a shorter, simpler piece called a death notice in the local press, not only to let people know about the funeral and whether to send flowers or to make a donation to a local charity, but also to remember a much-loved relative or friend. Although there is no official database of these obituaries, meaning that you can search through every death notice in the state of Pennsylvania or even in the entire country, they do appear in almost every newspaper across Pennsylvania and the US, and as most newspapers also have their own websites these days, searching death notices and the obituaries pages for mentions of people you might have known is actually a fairly simple task.
There are some national websites out there that claim to offer a comprehensive database of printed obituaries, but it is worth checking which publications are included before you sign up and pay any fees they require. After all, if you know that the person you are looking for only ever lived in one small town in Pennsylvania their whole life, you probably don’t need to pay to carry out a search of every obituary page in the US to find out if they have died or if someone placed a death notice for them! The chances are that it will be quicker and cheaper for you to carry out the search yourself at the local library. These national sites can come in useful if you do not know where in the state of Pennsylvania someone might have died, or even if they passed away within the borders of Pennsylvania at all.
You are relying on the deceased person having friends and family who care enough to pay for an obituary to be printed, but many papers have started to offer this service for free, recognizing the important part these obituaries play in the lives of citizens in Pennsylvania. Searching for a specific obituary can be a bit different from just searching more randomly to see if anyone you know has died recently in a certain region of Pennsylvania. If you are just interested in the names and obituaries of those who have died recently, then you can look at the family announcements pages of recent editions of the local press either online or in local libraries. Using obituaries to actually confirm if someone has died can be a bit hit and miss, because of the reliance you have on someone placing the notice, but you can try searching online for the person’s name. Libraries in Pennsylvania as well as newspaper offices themselves will often keep copies of the paper on file, allowing you to search through their indexed copies for the original notice.
Those people who are searching their family history can often find death notices useful for the extra information it can provide about their ancestors who lived in the state of Pennsylvania. Perhaps they have already discovered the dry and boring basic facts about their great-grandfather’s death thanks to the County Clerk or Registrar Recorder’s office in Pennsylvania. Now they can look in old copies of the local paper at the time to see if his family placed an obituary; perhaps detailing the names of his relatives, maybe his profession, sometimes even more information about his death. All these are the kind of facts that add colour to genealogy research and cannot be found on sterile government documents.