Getting Around

Online Obituaries Explained

Finding obituaries online has become easier than ever, and more difficult. The Internet, along with search engines, have made searching for information easier than any other time in history. With as little as a few clicks of a mouse or touch of a smartphone screen, you can find information on almost any subject, from countless sources. The latter part of that statement encapsulates the complexity of finding obituaries, or any information, online. We've provided this information to help you understand the ins and outs of online obituaries.

Obituaries are generally published in newspapers, using information provided by funeral home staff or directly by the decedent's family. This form of obituary is generally the most complete, as its genesis is closest to the source—surviving family members.

With the ubiquity of information, multiple sources, and technology, obituary text/content is scraped, repositioned, and in some cases bastardized versions of the original version. Websites use obituary information for various reasons; increased visitor website traffic, sales leads, advertising tactics, etc. While most organizations using obituary information are legitimate companies, some are not. Some legitimate companies using obituary information include local/national newspapers and television stations. These organizations have been viewed as reliable and trustworthy sources of information for generations. Unfortunately, times have changed and business economics have trumped trustworthiness. Newspapers especially are fighting for survival as paid subscriptions are down dramatically since the economic downturn in 2008.

Why is this an issue? Many websites publishing obituaries promote the use of online condolence and sympathy messages. These heartfelt feelings are meant for the decedent's spouse and immediate family members. If these websites duplicating/replicating/commandeering obituaries do not have a direct connection to the person providing the obituary to the funeral home staff, these messages will never reach the persons intended. Imagine leaving a message, e-mail, voice mail, or note, for someone you care about and that message being lost in cyberspace.

If you want to ensure your message reaches the intended party it would be best to start at the funeral home level. Should you not be able to find an obituary for that person, or the funeral home website (as some still do not have them) you can try other online sources.

All of the obituaries published on are from funeral home staff and thus the families they serve. In most situations any condolence messages will either be automatically e-mailed to the decedent's family, mailed via US postal mail, or simply printed and hand delivered.

Click here to begin your search for obituaries published by funeral homes.