Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Obituaries-The Side Dish
n. pl. o·bit·u·ar·ies
Med. Lat.-obituarius (report) of death.
A published notice of death, sometimes with a
brief biography of the deceased
This is the Webster Dictionary definition of the word obituary. However, Sonoran Jackrabbit thinks this definition falls short. It certainly does not allow within this 'published notice of death' the many morsels of information the obituary may offer the genealogy researcher. Patient reader think of the obituary as the side dish to the main course of our cemetery and headstone research.
How satiated the SJ feels after trekking five states from where we live to snap many shots of our elusive relative's headstone when we are fortunate enough to have an obituary to complete the experience.
As a matter of history, obituaries were begun in the 1500's with the advent of the printing press. They contained little but the name and age of the deceased. When a publisher in the 1800's thought it socially viable to let the reading public know who amongst them had succumbed from one printing of the publication to the next, obituaries became longer and more detailed.
SJ is only a rabbit, who does not feel the need to wax on when the evidence presented is sufficient to allow the reader to form his own conclusion. How much more fulfilling is finding the headstone of Domitila Robles Yanez when SJ has an obituary to go along with it.
All that just could not fit on a headstone. Not meant to. Seriously, why write about obituaries when most of us do understand their value as a resource? Because in Arizona there is a web site that we only became aware of this weekend that consists of nothing but Arizona obituaries. Maybe other states have something similar. This free data base of 33,900 obituaries grows daily from reader's contributions. SJ lives in Arkansas and we were able to submit almost 400 obits for Arizona this weekend alone. It is so simple to access information and just as simple to enter obituaries. Just wanted to highlight
Arizona Obituary Directory
http://obits.arizonagravestones.org/post.php and the wonderful database they are building.
Lots of people from around the United States are Arizona Snowbirds in the winter so even if you are researching someone who is not from Arizona, per se, you may find an obituary for them listed in the database. You never know unless you look.