Today’s Follow Friday is about ProQuest Obituaries, a commercial database that has revolutionized my research for the parts of my family tree from the early- and mid-20th century.
ProQuest Obituaries provides more than 10 million obituaries and death notices in full-image format from the following newspapers:
• Atlanta Constitution
• Boston Globe (1872-1922)
• Chicago Defender (1921-1975)
• Chicago Tribune (1852-1984)
• Los Angeles Times (1881-1984)
• New York Times (1851-1994)
• Washington Post (1877-1950)
Other newspaper databases that cover whole issues, which often deliver mixed search results. ProQuest Obituaries delivers only obituaries and death notices in full-page format. The search interface is flexible and the results are stellar.
If you have ancestors in any of the cities listed above, ProQuest Obituaries can make a remarkable difference in your research. I’ve found or confirmed 228 people, mostly with hits from the Chicago Tribune. Most of my hits have been paid death notices, but there are a few obituaries and most of those have had photographs as well.
Where can you get access to this database? The ProQuest business model is to market to libraries rather than individuals. (And I think this is kinda crazy: I’d pay to access this database from home.) So check your local public library or genealogical society library to see if they have a license to ProQuest Obituaries database and give it a try.