Funeral homes are business entities and, as such, maintain records of each person for which services were provided. You may identify the funeral home which handled an individual’s arrangements by the consulting death certificate or obituaries and other death notices published in newspapers.
Funeral home records typically include the name of the deceased, dates and locations of birth and death, parents’ names, and details of services provided. They also include itemized lists and charges for products and services such as: casket and vault; clothing; cosmetological services; floral arrangements; a hearse, limousines, and other hired vehicles; newspaper notices; musical selections and performers; thank you cards; opening and closing of a grave; and other charges. The place where the funeral will take place and the name(s) of any clergy may provide clues to religious institutions and records. The record will include a cemetery or instructions for transport of the remains to another location for interment. Instructions for cremation and disposition of the cremains may be included. Finally, accounting information may include the name and address of the responsible family member or other person responsible for paying the bill.
Funeral home records that still exist may be in the possession of that company or in storage. Older records may have been donated someplace else, including to public or academic libraries, genealogical or historical societies, or elsewhere. Inquire at these places to determine where you might locate the older records. Some records have been digitized and placed online at sites including FamilySearch.org, MyHeritage.com, Findmypast.com, and Ancestry.com.
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