News From Terre Haute, Indiana

History

December 9, 2012

GENEALOGY: Funeral home records valuable to genealogists

TERRE HAUTE — One of a genealogist’s most valuable resources to help identify a date of death is the mortuary or funeral home record. These records often pre-date state laws requiring the recording of deaths by the counties, and therefore could be the only source of a death date that you will find for an ancestor.

Early morticians’ records vary in the amount of information that they contain. Some list only minimal facts, such as a name and date of death or burial. However, some early mortuaries did collect additional information on the decedent. You could find the person’s age at death, where buried, cause of death, marital status, surviving spouse’s name, name of the informant, and even funeral costs.

Later records of funeral homes are likely to contain much more information on the decedent because the undertaker’s role expanded to include obtaining the facts necessary to compile both the death certificate and the newspaper obituary notice. On more modern records you will likely find the person’s date and place of birth as well as death, the parents’ names, names of other survivors, occupation, military service, affiliation with churches, fraternal, and community organizations, and specific burial information.

Always remember that the information in the records is as good as the memory of the informant. If the informant was a close family member, it is likely to be more correct than if a doctor, neighbor, or distant relative provided the information. However, grieving spouses and children were sometimes in shock and didn’t get all the facts straight when questioned about the decedent.

To locate the mortuary record of a family member, first find out where the death occurred. Next, find out the names of the mortuaries in existence in the community when and where your ancestor died. It then requires some detective work to locate the records of that mortuary.

If your ancestor was buried by an existing funeral home that has been owned by a single family and never changed hands, the current funeral director will probably have the early records. But some mortuaries went out of business and no longer exist today. Sometimes the past owner donated the records to a local library or historical society, but sometimes the records were kept in the owner’s family. Over the years, the records could have been lost or destroyed, but occasionally you can find a private owner who makes the records available to the public out of his home.

Some mortuaries changed names and ownership over the years. When a funeral home was sold to another owner, the records might have remained with the funeral home under the new ownership, they could have been kept by the previous owner, or they could have been donated or deposited somewhere else.

The records of the following funeral homes are available in the Vigo County Public Library: the Gillis Funeral Home, Rhyan & Goodman, early DeBaun records, the Ryan Funeral Home, all located in Terre Haute; the Rogerson Funeral Home of West Terre Haute; and the Sherfey & Kidd Funeral Home of Centerpoint.

• • •

FamilyChronicle is offering a special rate on its new release, Searching for Your Female Ancestors, which comes out Jan. 1. The volume features Working Women, Women in the Military, African American Female Ancestors, Grandma Was an Alien, Female Ancestors Pre-1850, Women in the Civil War, Women and Divorce, Women and the Vote, Secret Lives of Women, Online Resources, Manuscript Collections Overview, Women’s Clubs and Organizations, and Women in Photography. For more information or to order, visit www.

familychronicle.com/Tracing_Female_2013.htm, or call 888-326-2476
.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
History
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Today in History for July 29th Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity