Funeral Directors: A Valuable Resource #general


Contacting the funeral director listed on a relative's death certificate
can be a short-cut to learning valuable genealogical information. I
stumbled across this research strategy in a desperate attempt to learn
something--anything about my ggf's death. I had my ggm's death
certificate which listed the funeral director. I called, presuming that
my great grandparents were buried near each other, and hoping that the
funeral home might have some record of my ggf. Indeed, the same funeral
director had handled my ggf's burial. Here is some of the terrific
information I learned >from that one, 15-minute phone call:

1) date and place of death (now I can obtain the death certificate)

2) data provided by the informant--which is then used to prepare the
death certificate
(includes date and country of birth, parents' names, last residence, name
and address of informant)

3) name and location of cemetery and exact location of gravestone
(including section, row, and plot #)

4) inscription on tombstone

5) copy of death notice appearing in local newspaper
(provides date of funeral and the all-important names of
previously-unknown relatives!)

6) multiply by six all of the above data--I learned that the same funeral
home had arranged the burials of all of my relatives residing in that

The above is a wonderful example of "one-stop" shopping for genealogical
information. This one resource eliminated several phone calls and lots
of footwork. I did not have to call the cemetery for specific burial
location. I did not even have to visit the cemetery since the funeral
director provided the tombstone inscription. Also, I did not have to
scan through old newspapers in search of a death notice or obituary.
And, I saved all of these steps for six different relatives!

Cooperation of funeral home staff and thoroughness of funeral homes'
records will vary, but it is worth a phone call.

Deborah Dworski
Arlington, Virginia U.S.A.

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