With a regular internet browser you can search through millions of death records and find online obituaries and more information about deceased friends and family members. Two of the best websites that provide free access to online obituaries and other death records are Legacy and FindAGrave.
Browse Obituaries at Legacy
If you want to find recent obituaries or browse recent obituaries by location, then you should visit the Legacy website.
Legacy.com is the global leader in online obituaries. Legacy’s database includes recent obituaries from its worldwide partnership with 1,500 partner newspapers and 3,500 funeral homes. Legacy is your best source for recent obituaries but Legacy does not maintain an historical archive of obituaries – for that, you should try FindAGrave as detailed below.
Legacy allows you to browse their database of obituaries at no charge, and without registering an account. To start, visit:
Select your state, then click on a city or county to immediately start browsing obituaries, sorted with the most recent obituaries listed first. Once you have the page you want, you may want to save it as a bookmark so you can check back regularly for new obituaries. You can also click “Get Updates” and enter your email address to be notified of new obituaries for that location as they are published.
If you want to search the entire obituary database for a specific person or group of persons, follow these steps:
- Enter whatever information you have on the person whose obituary you want to find. First Name, Last Name, State, City and Date Range. You do not need to fill out all fields, just enter what you know. Then click Search.
- You can also search by keyword instead of name. For example, to find all obituaries for General Motors employees: 1. Click on Search by Keyword. 2. Enter “general motors” in the Keyword field. 3. Select the date range, such as Past 30 Days or All Obituaries. 4. Click Search.
Free Burial Information and Obituaries
Another free source for information about deceased persons is Find a Grave, a subsidiary of Ancestry. Find A Grave provides access to its database of cemetery records and death records maintained by more than a million volunteers. It can provide important details like death date, funeral home, place of burial (often with a photo of the headstone), a copy of the obituary, names of those who left flowers at the funeral, and a list of deceased family members, with direct links to their own death records.
Unlike Legacy, FindAGrave has records going back hundreds of years. To try it:
- Go to the Find A Grave website and enter what information you have about a person (name, data of birth, date of death etc). If there is a match, you should get back a photo of the gravestone and burial site. Click on the person’s name for more details, including an obituary, cemetery name, cemetery location, and a list of family members.
- You can click on the list of family members to find their own death information, if available, so FindAGrave can be a valuable source of genealogical information.
To perform a grave search, visit:
You won’t need to register, just start searching right away.
Automated Obituary Search
If you want an automated obituary search that is performed every day for you, sign up for the free ObitMessenger service.
After you’ve set up your free account and told it what to search for, ObitMessenger will continually search through its database of obituaries and send you an email when it finds an obituary that matches your search criteria.
ObitMessenger is provided by Legacy.com, which has an online database of obituaries from thousands of newspapers and funeral homes. Here’s how to set up a daily or weekly obituary search:
- Register for a free ObitMessenger account. Enter your name, email address and other information.
- Select the frequency – daily or weekly – of how often you want emails with your search results. ObitMessenger calls these emails Alerts.
- Next, set up one or more obituary alerts by telling ObitMessenger what to search for. At your ObitMessenger account page, you’ll see three search bars. Fill in one, two or all three search bars. The obituary search bars are for arbitrary keywords, source, and full text or last name.
- For example, to keep a lookout for obituaries for Duke University alumni and employees, put “Duke University” in the Enter Keyword field. Then select Include All Obituary Sources to have all 900 newspaper affiliates searched every day. Then click Save.
- Add more alerts if you want to create more searches. For example, to set up a search for obituaries for people born in a certain town, enter the town name in the Add Keyword field. You could also be notified of deaths based on last name, name of a family member, date of death, and local newspaper.
ObitMessenger searches only newly published obituaries.
You can find more resources at Legacy.Com such as:
- How to Write an Obituary
- Writing Your Own Obituary
- How to Find an Obituary
- Video Funerals
- How to Pre-Plan a Funeral
- Latest Celebrity Obituaries
About Legacy.Com (from company website)
Legacy.com is the place where the world pauses to embrace the power of a life well-lived. We believe that a single life story can provide extraordinary inspiration, even after that person has died. So we champion every life, knowing it can connect us in unexpected, powerful ways.
Today, Legacy.com is the global leader in online obituaries, a top-50 website in the United States, and a destination for over 40 million unique visitors each month around the world. Founded in 1998, Legacy.com is honored to serve users by partnering with more than 1,500 newspapers and 3,500 funeral homes across the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Europe. These partnerships provide easy ways for consumers to express condolences, share direct support for families, and celebrate the people who have touched their lives.
Legacy.com’s partners benefit from our unparalleled scale, which enables continuous innovation of our industry-leading obituary products and accompanying cross-platform e-commerce engine. Legacy.com is a privately held company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with additional offices in Burbank, California and London, England.