Most of my mom's collection are actual obituary programs given at the funeral but she also has collections of obituaries clipped from the newspaper. Obituaries provide a wealth of information that you may be lacking in your research. When it comes to obituaries, the longer the better! One of my genealogy pet peeves is finding an obituary that has little to no information at all! I adore the obituaries that take up an entire column or 2. Others may be annoyed but to me it's a gold mine! To me a great obituary provides:
1. Birth Date and Location
2. Death Date and Location
3. Current Address
4. Names of Parents (an extra bonus are those that include the mother's maiden name)
5. Person's Occupation
6. Religious Affiliations
7. Names of Children
8. Name of Spouse (an extra bonus are those that include the marriage date or the number of years they were married)
9. Names of Aunts, Uncles, etc.
10. Burial Information and Location
I remember the day I received a package in the mail from my great aunt Leonia Williams filled with family obituaries. My world was changed! I was reading through the programs and I noticed Pritchett Funeral Home and Pritchett Family Cemetery listed on several obituaries. I had NO IDEA that my family once had a funeral home in Martinsville, VA. I also did not know that we had our own family cemetery!!! I really don't think I would have figured this information out without the help of obituaries.
Below are two newspaper clippings my mother gave me to help with my research. The obituary on the left represents the type of obituary that has very little information and the one on the right represents my favorite type of obituary!