Funeral Cards - A Little Used Resource
Funeral cards are an often overlooked resource that can lead to locating a death record and an obituary. Sometimes both the birth date and a death date are on the card. Funeral cards have been around a long time and have changed in style and materials over the years. In her article, Funeral Cards, Elizabeth Kelley Kersterns states that, "Funeral cards have a long history-with social customs attached. These cards were distributed to family members, friends, and the surrounding community in a timely manner to alert invitees to the date and time of the funeral. Recipients of a funeral card were expected to attend the funeral or risk offending family members. ..."
In today's environment, they are more of a token or a memento of the individual who has died. As death records and an obituary may not be available or easily attained, a funeral card is a great substitute. The details provided allow you to try and locate an obituary and/or order a death certificate and even try and contact the funeral home to see if they could offer you additional information that was collected at the time the arrangements were made by the family of the individual who died. The above funeral card is for Lovina Marotte who died Oct. 20, 1945. With this information, one can now secure the additional records already mentioned.
In the last few years, the Internet has proven to be a great resource for genealogists all over the world. Some sites on Funeral Cards in specific areas and Genealogy Today is providing Funeral Cards Online as a repository for those funeral cards. If you'd like to add yours to their collection, just send them an email and they will gladly add them to the database enabling others to perhaps locate that missing piece of information on their ancestor. While there, you might want to see if they have someone from your own family!