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Genealogy

Researching Your Family's History

Short Guide to Obituary Research

Finding obituaries is easiest when you know the date and place of death. If you do not have a specific death date, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at Newton City Hall.  If the person is not listed there, we may not be able to find information for you.  More info here: http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/clerk/default.asp  If the City Clerk's office has a listing, they can usually supply the name of the funeral home and/or the cemetery where the person was buried.

This page contains many resources for obtaining obituaries- both current and historic.  Despite the amount of resources available, you may not find an obituary for the person you're researching.  Please know that not all people get obituaries.

Most Newton, Massachusetts newspapers are weeklies. In a weekly paper an obituary may appear after a funeral, therefore families or funeral directors may decide not to run one.

If a person lived in Newton for a short time before their death, the family may have chosen to run an obituary in the town in which the deceased lived longest (and had more connections).  If you suspect this is the case for the person you are researching, and you cannot locate anything in Newton papers, please check for resources in the other town or city.  These resources include, but are not limited to the city or town clerk and the local library.  These resources may give you information that may not be online.

If a short, incomplete obituary notice is found with a funeral home listed, it is possible the funeral home might have a fuller obituary on file for the deceased.  

Obituaries are not the only way to find information about a death. If an accident occurred there may be an article written about the incident that gives more information about the circumstances surrounding the death. Checking the paper from the day and week after a death may yield useful results. 

At this time the library is without a working microfilm machine.  We are not able to search for obituaries.  If the year of death for the person you are researching is between 1886 and 1972, you can check the following link for  the digitized version of the Newton Graphic at the Internet Archive. To check other Newton and Boston newspapers for your obituary, you will want to check the Boston Public Library. You may find your obituary in a Boston newspaper when it cannot be found in Newton.  You can email the Boston Public Library  at ask@bpl.org or call them at 1-617-536-5400.  Many departments at the BPL can only be reached through transfers from this main number.   You can also check their LibGuide at  the following link Boston Public Library's Genealogy LibGuide.

Local Obituary Resources

U.S. Obituaries (sometimes using Historic Newspapers)

Obituaries Databases