Finding Obituaries & Vital Information
Finding obituaries for famous people is easy. Finding them for family members who were less well-known can be a challenge. Before your coming in to the library, find out as much as you can about where the person lived and where and when s/he died. Having these facts in hand will point you to the appropriate reference sources or newspapers. This guide was created with an Oregon focus, although those searching for obituaries outside of Oregon may still find it helpful.
Find out about other genealogical resources from the Research in Genealogy guide.
Off-campus access to some of the electronic resources listed on this page is limited to current UO students, faculty, and staff and is indicated by a UO button .
To find birth or death dates, the following sources may be useful
Finding Marriage & Divorce information
Finding Individual Graves
The most likely place to find an obituary is in a newspaper. The UO Libraries own a nearly complete collection of Oregon newspapers. So, if the person you are seeking lived in Oregon, the UO Library collections are a great place to start. We own the full run of The New York Times and The Times of London on microfilm with less coverage of other newspapers.
Indexes do not exist for most Oregon newspapers. In many cases, you will need to find the paper from the city or county where the person died and browse the microfilm of the issues from around their date of death.
Microfilm copies of many Oregon newspapers are available in the Knight Library Microforms Department. Most are listed in the UO Libraries Catalog by title, by city of publication, and by county. Remember, newspapers often change titles over the years. For titles not found in the library catalog, check the inventories of newspapers on microform (by city or by county), or ask for assistance at the Microforms desk on the first floor of Knight Library. Newspapers on microfilm are shelved by city and then by the title of the publication.
If you know the location or newspaper name and dates, you can:
For more information see our Finding Newspapers guide.
Locating newspaper indexes & obits