I found out this handy thing today, and just had to share…
Do you have family from Erie County, Pennsylvania? I do. So here’s a handy source if you do:
The Erie County Public Library has an index of all the folks that have had an obituary in an Erie County newspapers, from 1822 to the present. Yes, that’s 189 years of names, usually broken up into decade increments.
After you snag the name and date, there’s a handy form that you can email, fax, or mail into the library and the staff there will pull the obituary, copy it, and mail it to you. The fees are very inexpensive, and you can request up to 10 names at a time.
My first pass through pulled up nine names, so I’ll let you know how much they charged and how fast they are. I did get an email confirmation of my request within a few hours, so I’m hopeful that its going to be super fast.
If you’re doubting the usefulness of an obituary, let me assure you that one I pulled out of the Times Picayune for one of my NOLA relatives the other day had 36 different individuals named in it, each with their relationship to the deceased clearly stated. The problem with obituaries is that you usually go to the city, they usually aren’t indexed, and you can sometimes end up paying large fees to pull them…If the local library even has the record!