19 October 2009

Basics for Good Obit Writing

I picked out the obituary here as simply the first one I grabbed from my family files.
I am not saying it is perfect, but there are some good points here that should always be included. Now keep in mind that this is not current, but the basics are the same.
1--Give the date of death. They almost have it here. No year is listed, but given her birth date and age at death, you can figure it was 1927.
2--Give place of death. Helps in finding death certificates for later generations.
3--Give date and place of birth if known. I realize you may not always know them for some next of kin, but it helps if you find out.
4--List parents names, if known. If they are your parents or grandparents, you better know them.
5--If married, give spouse's name, and when and where married if known.
6--Names of survivors. Try to get the names of children, and possibly grand children if not too many. Also nice to list surviving brothers and sisters. Not necessary to list pets, or favorite cars. Listing a special friend of Trixie or Bambi for your elderly grandfather could have more distant relatives asking questions that can't be answered in later years.
7--If deceased was known by nickname that can be listed in quotations marks. "Bob" for Robert may be obvious, but if Francis was commonly know as "Freddy" some people may not even realize whose obituary it is!
8--It seems not many people are being interned now days, at least from the obituaries I have been typing up for our data base. But, if so, list the cemetery. Or state if just cremated. It could save descendants searching cemetery after cemetery if it states Uncle Potsie was scattered over Lake Michigan.
9--If the deceased served in the military, or some other notable service--be sure to mention it. Other items from personal history could be profession, public service work, and societies person was involved in.
If you are lucky to live in area like we do where the local paper publishes obituaries for free, don't go too crazy, but list the facts and try to make it easy for future genealogists.

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