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Here's a special welcome to the librarians and genealogists who are visiting this site for the first time. 

In the past few days, we have mailed nearly 600 letters to libraries, historical societies, genealogical societies, academic libraries, and newspaper publishers.  The letters invited each repository's participation in SCORP. 

If you are here as a result of that letter, we appreciate your taking the time to check us out!

Please take a moment to preview our newest section, which presents information on each of our contributing repositories.  Click HERE to view the new Repository Listings and see how your library's information will be presented.

 

 

WHAT YOU WILL (AND WON'T) FIND ON THESE PAGES

These pages are designed to teach you *how* to conduct a comprehensive search for an obituary. It gives you places to look and provides lists of newspapers so you can prepare your search from the comfort of your Internet connection.

We do not have obituaries themselves, nor do we have any obituary indexes. We have links to several online obituary index sites, as well as many places where you can look to see if an obituary has been posted for a relative. We encourage you to use these other sites, and to contribute to them as you are able.

OBITUARY LOOKUPS

Unfortunately, while we're working on this webpage project, time constraints prevent us from doing lookups for others. We cannot accept lookup requests at this time. We hope that we will be able to add lookup request as a feature of this website by September 2003. In the meantime, we have provided links to volunteer sources if you're unable to obtain an obituary yourself.

INTRODUCTION

You may think it odd to have a website dedicated to finding obituaries in Southern California. If you're from outside the area, you must be asking yourself, "What's the big deal? Why do they need a website just for finding obituaries?"

Well, not to whine, but it's really tough to track down an obituary, particularly in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The size of the area, population, traffic, the number of newspapers published over the years, and other factors all contribute to the difficulty. Even though it may be somewhat easier to locate obituaries in the areas outside LA and Orange County, we feel that listing resources throughout Southern California will simplify the process even further.

FOUR FLAVORS OF OBITUARIES

Generally speaking, an obituary search will have one of four outcomes:

  1. Worst case: You won't find anything. There are a variety of reasons for this. Maybe an obituary just doesn't exist. The family could have chosen not to submit an obit due to privacy reasons, or because the decedent lived in Southern California for only a short time, or because they couldn't afford a paid obituary (see #4 below). Or, it could be because you just weren't looking in the right place.

  2. You will find a death notice, which is usually only a brief couple of lines listing the name of the deceased, the funeral home, and the time and date of the funeral.

  3. You'll locate an obituary that lists the information traditionally contained in an obituary (survivor information, dates of birth, marriage, death, perhaps some employment history). This is good.

  4. If you're lucky, you'll find a paid obituary. A paid obituary is much like a classified ad. The family paid for the newspaper space and the newspaper submitted what was written. Paid obits can contain anything between the bare facts up to chatty, fascinating details about the decedent's life, depending on the amount of money the family wanted to spend. This can be very good.

There's not much we can do to influence the kind of obituary that was printed, or even whether one appears at all. What we can do, however, is help you learn how to find one if it exists.

RESEARCH PROCESS TUTORIAL

As volunteers who perform obit lookups, we've struggled and, through trial and error, found solutions to some of these challenges. We designed this website to share the knowledge that we've gained. The process is presented, step by step, on the following pages.

ONLINE LISTS OF NEWSPAPERS

In addition to outlining our research methods, we also wanted to share the information sources we've compiled. These include lists of newspaper collections that can be accessed by the public. The list includes information about circulation areas, dates, and format (hard copy or microform).

ONLINE LISTS OF LIBRARIES AND OTHER REPOSITORIES

We have compiled a list of libraries, genealogical societies, historical societies, and other repositories throughout Southern California. You'll find contact information on some 400 microfilm repositories, complete with email contact information, notations on whether they do lookups, and website links. This list is posted on the website for your use.

TIPS EVERYONE CAN USE

While our focus is definitely Southern Californian, we've included tips and hints that everyone can use, regardless of location. An obit hunt is much easier in a place like Sioux City, Iowa, for example, but a researcher still needs to walk through the planning process. Queries and lookup requests still need to be well formed, and the more creative search tips are useful for everyone. Check out the strike-out page for some new ideas for obituary sources.

WORK IN PROGRESS

We have inventoried about 100 libraries, including two of the area's largest newspaper microfilm repository, the Los Angeles Public Library, and the Los Angeles County Library System. We will be posting more information as it's gathered, and are hoping that you will help us out. You'll find that some of our pages are still under construction, others are complete, and others are works in progress. Because we have been researching in Los Angeles and Orange counties, you'll find that the information is more complete for those two areas. We're looking for help for the other counties! We are very grateful to the many volunteers who have already added to these web pages--Sharon who added the holdings from Kern County, Christine, Kari, Carell, and so many others.

HOW TO USE THIS SITE

As you explore these pages, you'll see icons at the top of each page. To move from one section to another, just place your cursor over the icon and click you're on your way! Of course, we have links at the bottom of each page to help you navigate.

Please check back often to see what we've added. We'd be very grateful if you would take a minute, sign our guestbook, and give us your ideas and feedback.

 

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* Plan Your Obituary Search * Find the Last Known Address and Date of Death * Community Locator *
*
Newspaper Holdings * Libraries and Other Repositories * Queries and Lookup Volunteers *
*
Strike Out? More Ideas for finding Obituaries *
*
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* Frequently Asked Questions and Answers * Meet the SCORPians *


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