From a recent announcement by FamilySearch:
FamilySearch has declared 2014 the “Year of the Obituary” and is working with partners and the larger genealogy community to collect and digitize millions of obituaries from the United States, with other countries soon to follow. The goal for this year is to index 100 million names from these historical documents, including the name of the deceased, relatives, and all other individuals found in each document.
This massive collection of obituaries will add a fabulous new dimension to online family history research. Obituaries are a “treasure trove” of valuable genealogical information. Each is a unique story of a person’s life. Many obituaries include a photo of the person along with the names of generations of family members.This new program was introduced by FamilySearch CEO in his keynote address at #RootsTech 2014. Here is a quote from the Press Release:
Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch, announced this new initiative in his keynote speech yesterday as he welcomed record-breaking crowds to the 2014 RootsTech family history conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.I am wondering how they are going to find the millions of obituaries. Most of the US digitized newspapers have not segregated the obituaries out from the rest of the digitized newspaper.
Brimhall and special guest pirate mascot “Captain Jack Starling” utilized a well-known pirate theme of “dead men tell no tales” and added, “but their obituaries do!” drawing attention to the fact that obituaries tell the stories of people’s lives long after they are deceased. Carrying the theme further, attendees at the conference were invited to volunteer and help unlock the “treasure trove” of precious family information contained in obituaries, which is currently “locked away” in static electronic images and newspapers.
“Estimates claim over 500 million obituaries exist in the U.S. alone,” said Dennis Brimhall, FamilySearch CEO. “The average obituary can contain the names of about ten family members of the deceased—parents, spouse, children, and other relatives. Making them easily searchable online can be an enormous future source for creating our family histories. The number of people who will benefit is incalculable. It could very well be the single largest preservation and access project of its kind, and will no doubt be one of the most used online collections worldwide as it grows.”