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Obituaries provide great clues about our ancestors. The trick is finding the appropriate article and newspaper.

In the late 1800s, an obituary for the common citizen was brief at best. The article may simply provide the name of the deceased and the place of the funeral and burial. The funeral often took place in the home of the deceased. If an obituary was written for a woman it was not uncommon to omit her maiden name.

 

Obituary Indexes

 

Several online obituary indexes are available for the St. Louis newspapers and they are outlined on other pages in this website. The St. Louis Public Library has an index for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the St. Louis Argus. Mercantile library has an index to news articles for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, but this does not start until 1931.

The Watchman Advocate newspaper has obituaries for St. Louis County residents. This weekly newspaper started publication about 1881, after the separation of the City and County in 1876. St. Louis County Library Special Collections volunteers are indexing this publication.

 

How to Locate an Obituary

 

Determine the most logical place to look for the obituary. If your ancestor was German, look in one of the German newspapers. If he or she was an attorney, a physician, or a member of the clergy, check professional publications. Also, check the community history for clues.

The obituary you are looking for may be in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Argus, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Missouri Republican, or Watchman-Advocate or in one of the numerous other newspapers printed in St. Louis. The State Historical Society of Missouri has the most complete set of newspaper microfilm in the state. A list of area newspapers is available on this website.

 

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