Funeral Card Collections

FamilySearch has declared 2014 the ‘Year of the Obituary’ and set a goal of indexing 100 million names, including the name of the deceased, relatives, and all other individuals found in each document. This will be an incredible resource. We all know that obituaries can be genealogical goldmines. But other death records can be valuable as well. Funeral or memorial cards often provide birth and death dates, burial location and an indication of religious denomination (which may lead to other records). Sometimes a picture of the deceased is an added bonus.

Small and medium sized collections of funeral cards can be found in various places on the internet. Often these collections seem to be sponsored by a genealogical society or individual. One example is the CCGS Funeral Card Collection. The St. Clair County (IL.) Genealogical Society collects, preserves, and makes available funeral cards for any person whose birth or death occurred in the county (index only). The Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana collects cards from Allen and surrounding counties, but adds funeral cards from other areas as time permits. Monroe County, Illinois, also has a small collection.

Ethnic groups may be repositories for funeral card collections as well. For example, there is the American French Genealogical Society; the collection of Polish American Funeral Cards; and the Marsha Smiley African-American Collection: Memorials. Other organizations may collect cards for their deceased members. For example, the Marian Library at the University of Dayton has a collection of cards in remembrance of Marianists, Catholic Fathers and Brothers who were members of the Society of Mary (S.M.). The cards often contain a photograph of the individual, prayers or remembrances, birth and death date and location, and date of vows or years of service.

To learn more, read Funeral Cards – A Little Used Resource and try Cyndi’s List for additional links. Also, Genealogy Today has an online index with over 23,900 listings.

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