Wednesday, July 9, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogy - Week 21 - Obituaries

Shauna has chosen Obituaries as the topic for Week 21.  She tells us that "obituaries may have information that is not found in official documents so it is definitely worth spending some time to see if something appeared in the local newspaper after a person’s death."  Certainly the ongoing work done by Trove makes finding obituaries of our Australian ancestors much easier, and the various overseas newspaper digitisation projects make searching overseas ancestors possible.

I have had the good luck to obtain several obituaries for various ancestors, including my great grandmother Isabella Mary Green (nee Argent) shown here on the right.  Not only does the article include family details for Isabella but also lists the chief mourners at her funeral and all those who sent floral tributes.  It also provides me with her cause of death, which was something I had not known until I found this article.  Even the name of the rector is included.  As a long-time resident and the wife of a major landholder in a small Essex community Isabella was a well known member of the village and several articles appeared in the local paper regarding her death.  While the quality of the digitisation is not the best (as all too often they are not) the obituary is still quite readable and is wonderful to have.

I also have the obituary for Miss Emma Noble Argent, who was Isabella's sister. 
There were 5 Argent children in this particular family - John Thompson Argent was born in January 1848 and died in November 1907 (59 years old), Emma was born in September 1849 and died in March 1935 age 85, Ada was born in 1851 and died December 1929 at 78, Constance was born July 1857 and died December 1929 age 72 and Isabella was born June 1858 and died March 1936, age 77.  Neither Emma nor her sister Ada married, but spent their lives living 'on indepentant means' and doing local church work.  Her obituary is also very interesting to read, again providing family details, the chief mourners and a list of those who sent flowers.

Re-reading through these obituaries this week has reminded me of the lives these women lived and the roles they played in village life.  If you are fortunate enough to find obituaries for your ancestors they can be another source of information for detail about their lives.

As more and more newspapers are being digitised, searching for obituaries for your ancestors becomes ever easier, so don't forget this valuable resource.

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