How to Find Archived, Old Obituaries in New York State: Step-By-Step

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Obituaries are written documents highlighting any attributes, characteristics, and experiences of the deceased. These usually tell the life story of someone who has passed away to help loved ones read a final story of their life. Usually, a loved one or family member writes the obituary and read it during a funeral or memorial service. Some people even write obituaries for themselves before passing (how to write an obituary for yourself).

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These short paragraphs provide valuable information like their age, surviving family members, and funeral information. Learning about obituary etiquette beforehand can help to clear any confusion or answer any questions pertaining to the document.

Each obituary can be personalized to fit the person it’s detailing, including their life’s story, where they went to school, what they studied, their occupation, and achievements. It can also include family information such as their parents, their siblings, and close friends. 

They also give a final farewell and applause for the deceased, and can be light, joyous, funny, or straightforward. Additionally, reaching out to someone who knows how to write an obituary or reading blogs on this topic can be beneficial as well. With all of the information they provide, it’s important to know how to find an obituary. Finding an obituary can be a task, but it’s possible.

What Are Archived Obituaries?

Archived obituaries are collections of saved obituaries that may be accessed post-funeral to read more about the deceased. This helps if you’re looking for information on an old colleague or coworkers that may have passed away. Reading through their obituary may give you a better understanding of what happened and their story. This may also give you peace if you’ve just discovered that someone you know died a while ago. 

Each state has an archive of obituaries featuring those who were residents beforehand. The best way to start your search is by figuring out what state the deceased passed away in. If you know someone who has died in New York, more than likely, you’ll be able to find their obituary listed in New York’s obituary archive. Most states do offer a free online obituary.


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How to Find Archived Obituaries in New York for Free

An obituary is a published record of someone’s death. In many cases, the funeral home or family members will place the obituary in their local newspaper to announce their death to the community or loved ones. It may take some searching, depending on how long ago they passed away, but there are multiple ways to find archived obituaries in New York at no cost.

There are a variety of paths you can take to access someone’s obituary. Below are a few options that may help you with this goal. Looking through obituaries can be a difficult process, keep this in mind beforehand.

Reaching out to loved ones for support and comfort in this situation may be ideal. Also, consoling in mutual friends and family of the deceased can help provide you with a better understanding. 

Step 1: Try an online obituary search

The first step is to conduct an online obituary search. Go online and find a credible site that hosts the New York obituary archives. The website should say something along the lines of “public records search” or “New York obituary search.” It should also allow you to input their name, date of birth, or date of death. 

Make sure to find credible sites that have a good reputation and maybe even feature reviews. Some may require you to input a credit card, so feel free to skip to others that do not ask for payment. There are a large number of sites that you may have to search through to get to the right place. Reaching out to your community or friends who may have performed a search for them can be helpful.

Step 2: Search local newspapers

Looking through local New York newspapers can be a great way to find the obituary that you’re looking for. Most newspapers publish obituaries on their websites, so you can check online to see if the deceased is listed. Some websites may only feature recent deaths, so this option may only work if their death was in the last two or three years. 

Most states have a few newspaper options to check through, so you may want to start with the most popular newspapers and work your way through. You should also be able to find their contact information online if you’d rather call someone first to verify your search. Talking to someone over the phone or in-person can allow you to ask additional questions and find more helpful resources during your search.


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Step 3: Find An eligible obituary site

If the above steps don’t work out, an additional step would be finding an eligible obituary site online. Some companies solely work to provide documentation on the deceased for records and family members. Websites like Ancestry.com, Legacy.com, or Tributes.com may be a great place to start. 

These organizations store information from all over the world on people that have died and family legacies. You may be able to get a free trial or reach out to someone on their staff to ask more about their New York obituary archives. They provide a large number of information from places all over so be prepared to input specific details in your search to simplify. 

Other Methods to Find Archived Obituaries From New York State

There are many ways that you can try to access an archived obituary from the State of New York. There is a plethora of information available to you to move forward with your search. The main thing is to focus on the specific details that you know and go from there.

Try not to get discouraged if it takes longer than intended. There are individuals available to help you in this process and offer additional information that may be needed. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the specific obituary that you’re looking for but, with time and dedication, it’s possible. Below are some additional tips to find the obituary in question.

Tip 1: Do An online search

A simple way to look for a specific obituary can be through performing an internet search that features their name and the word “obituary.” Many times this can help filter out options and potentially bring you closer to finding their obituary.

If they have a common name, you may want to include a middle name. Adding quotation marks around the name makes it easier for a search engine like Google to find that specific name.

Make sure to spell everything correctly and get a clean search by inputting the name and date of death clearly. It may help to try a few different searches with the date of birth or city records. 


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Tip 2: Reach out to their loved ones

Another simple option may be reaching out to the family or loved ones of the deceased. If you weren’t close or don’t have their contact information, try reaching out to mutual contacts that you may have had with the deceased. For example, if you went to school together, try reaching out to other classmates that you both may have connected with. 

This may take a while if you haven’t had contact with them in years, but it may be the simplest way to gain answers. Most of the time, they will be okay with giving you this information, especially knowing that it can help you gain closure and insight. 

Tip 3: Reach out to the funeral home 

The final tip would be to reach out to the funeral home that held the reception. You can check social media or again reach out to their relatives to see if and where the funeral was held. The funeral home may have an archive of obituaries listed on their website or you may be able to go into their home and see if any hard copies are available. 

You could perform an online search of all funeral homes in New York and search through their website for online obituaries. Most funeral homes have an obituary archive listed on their site, but keep in mind that some of them may only have recent years listed, as mentioned above.

Guide to Finding Archived Obituaries in The State of New York 

An obituary serves to tell the story of someone for loved ones, community members, and friends. It leaves behind their legacy on a single sheet of paper and marks their death officially. Obituaries help to give people a chance to remember and celebrate the loss of the deceased. 

These documents can also be provided to newer family members to learn more about their family history. Regardless of what you’re searching for in an obituary, there are a variety of free ways to receive this document. Try out different steps and tips to see which works best for you in your search.

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