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Text Box: The ACGS Time
The Anoka County Genealogical Society Newsletter









  Volume 30,  Issue 1,  January/February 2008



Text Box: President’s  Message



Welcome to a new year and new opportunities to find your ancestors. 

Did you know that ACGS and the History Center in Anoka have an extensive collection of obituaries from 1869 to now?  Most of them are searchable by decade or are filed alphabetically.  We are in the process of making one master index for all of the records.  Check on our web site for updates.  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~relativememory  on the Vital Records page.

Volunteers are always appreciated to clip obituaries from newspapers, index and file them.  Contact the History Center if you are interested.

See the article on page 3 to learn how you can use the information in obituaries to find out more about your ancestors.

Text Box: ACGS Membership
$9 per year 
$5 for seniors 
September 1st – August 31st.   
Thank you for your continued support.
We are planning some exciting classes and field trips in the coming year.  If you have genealogy questions or topics that you would like to learn more about, please contact me or any board member and let us know.

Join us on February 4 for a discussion about common mistakes in your genealogy research.


Cathi Weber

Text Box: Saving Original Records
    May I add a personal way of saving invaluable papers and records:
    Make a scanned copy of all invaluable records and papers which you may have that cannot be replaced.  Keep the copies in with your records at home and place all originals in a Safety Deposit Box in the Bank.
    In some counties, one can have copies of documents recorded at the Hall of Records.  A Photostat copy of the original is sometimes given to you.  Save the recording record numbers for your future reference. I had the military discharge records and copies of birth certificates of my sons that were issued by the American Consulate since copies of those records are almost impossible to secure copies.  
    The safety deposit box holds a signed document by my great grandmother stating she was the mother of my grandfather and his birth date.  My grandfather was born in a state prior to written records of births were recorded.  Also a photograph of a grave and grave marker of my uncle, as it is the only record of his birth and death.  Due to wars, there are no records of his birth and also of his death.  That cemetery is now gone.  Immigration forms for my grandmother are also invaluable to me and are in that safety deposit box.  
    Just thought you might like to know of my ways of preserving some documents in my possession that can never be replaced.  I have given copies of the documents to my children for their records.  The originals are noted to be passed on to my youngest son and his family after my death since they are the ones most interested in the family ancestry and his family are the most responsible to safe guard these records. 
        Janet Marie (Tennison) Hall

















Using Obituaries in Your Research  

Obituaries can be a wealth of information in your genealogy research. An obituary is a mini biography of the deceased.  What information can you get from an obituary?


Below are some of the things that may be included in your ancestor’s obituary.  Because an obit is usually written by someone after the death of an individual most of the information is not an original source. It is a secondary source.  It can be a great place to find leads to original sources, if the information is correct. Keep in mind that the informant is usually in a state of grief and doesn’t always have the information written down and may be giving it from memory.  You should always check all leads to get the most comprehensive information. Even different newspapers will sometimes have different information in the obituaries for the same person. Occasionally there will be funeral notice in one paper and the full obituary in a later paper, so be sure to check newspapers for a week or two after the death date. Also read the ‘society’ section to see who was visiting in the area around the time of death and the funeral.


When you cut an obituary from the newspaper, be sure to record the source: name and location of paper, date, and page number and column.  The obituary may only contain partial dates so the newspaper information is crucial to having the complete information.  Plus, you always want to document your sources so you or someone else can find the source again.


Below is a table of information that may be in an obituary and where you might go to  look for the original or other sources.  Compare all of the sources for verification and differences in information.


Obituary information

Other Sources


Birth record, marriage record

Date & Cause of death

Death Certificate

Location: residence and death

Death certificate, census, city directory, land records

Age / Birth date

Birth record/certificate, census’


Marriage record, census


Children’s birth records

Parents – mother’s maiden name

Birth record, census’, wills

Siblings and their locations

Census’, phone books

Names of people attending funeral

Guest book – some of these people may be relatives

Cemetery and burial date

Death Certificate, Cemetery records

Mortuary/funeral home

Mortuary records, death certificate

Immigration information

Immigration papers, ship records, citizenship papers

Military service

Military records, pension


Employment records, census’, city directory




Organizations they may have belonged to


Pay careful attention to all of the clues including the names of children and attendees.  You may find married names of daughters or sisters. If they were born before 1930 you can check the census records for family members. You may find children or grandchildren who are still living by paying attention to where they lived at the time of the obituary.


From learning the information in an obituary you will be able to look for more sources such as probate records, Wills, estate sales and land transfers.   


When you pass away will your next of kin know the correct information to write your obituary?

(by Cathi Weber, Jan 2008)