Finding Records in Funeral Homes
As you build your family tree on Geni, you may want to research funeral home records to help supplement the information on your tree. Often overlooked in genealogy, funeral home records may contain information not found in death certificates or tombstones. They can offer great genealogical information and perhaps help you fill in some missing pieces. Because many funeral homes are family businesses, ownership of the funeral home is generally passed down from generation to generation so it’s very likely they will still have their old records. It’s important to remember that funeral home records are private, therefore you will need to ask the funeral home for permission to view these records. You should begin by sending an inquiry to the funeral home to request any documentation they may have on your ancestor. Since many families would use the same funeral home for their relatives’ funerals, you may be able to find the records to multiple ancestors.
What can I find in funeral home records?
- The deceased’s name
- The names of their relatives
- Birth/Death dates
- Place of death
- Place of burial
- Name of the clergyman and church where service was held
- Information on who arranged the funeral
- Marital status
- Military service record
- Name of insurance company
How can I find the funeral home?
Take a look at what documents you may already have. The death certificate or obituary notice may state which funeral home was used. You may also be able to track down the funeral home through a funeral card from the service, which is typically distributed by the funeral home. Once you know the name, you can look up the address online or in a phone book. If you don’t have access to any of these documents, you can try looking at old city directories from where your ancestor lived and search for funeral homes that are near by.
If you find that the funeral home is no longer in business, see if there are any other funeral homes near by. In many cases, other funeral homes will take over these businesses and keep the old records. Also, check out local libraries and archives to see if the records may have been donated.
Once you receive this information, make sure you add the documents to Geni and share with your relatives!