Thursday, August 13, 2009

St. Louis Post Dispatch Obituaries - and other area newspapers


One of the problems with the blog-format is that one finds oneself rewriting old posts with updated information. The old posts remain with the outdated, sometimes inaccurate information.

For example, I have written several times about researching obituaries in St. Louis, particularly for the St. Louis Post Dispatch. I'm going to do it again, and I'm now going to add a link at the top of all my old posts to this entry, so that anyone who finds those old pages doesn't leave the site with outdated information.

And if I write another post in the future, I will add a link at the top of this entry, and update the links in the prior entries.

The St. Louis Public Library Obituary Search

The St. Louis Public Library has created a searchable index for St. Louis Post Dispatch obituaries covering the years: 1880-1930, 1942-1945, 1960-1964, and 1992-2008. (I suspect they will continue to update the index as time goes by.)

Two examples:

1) A great-grandfather's entry:

Feinstein, Herman M. St. Louis Post-Dispatch 1963 11/8 p1B, Article 11/9 p5A

His classified obituary appeared on November 8th, 1963 on page 1B. An article appeared on November 9th, on page 5A.

2) The entry for one of Herman's brothers, who died as an infant

Feinstein, David St. Louis Post-Dispatch 1896 Burial permit 3/18

The burial permit appeared March 18th, 1896. The page number isn't indexed in this case, but we still have the date of the newspaper. The burial permit listings contained significantly less information than an obituary. Usually just a name, date and address. I know that David was definitely Herman's brother, though, because the address matches the address in the city directories for the family.

In addition to the search engine, they have an index-by-year that can be browsed, leading to the same entries.

St. Louis Post Dispatch - 1975-1977

An index for these years can be found on Bob Doerr's website. He has been the editor of the Missouri State Genealogical Association Journal since 1992.

St. Louis Post Dispatch Archives 1988-Current

The Post Dispatch website allows you to search obituaries back to 1988, and then it gives you the option of downloading the obituaries directly from the site for $2.95. This searches every word, so you can find entries that mention surnames of children, etc. However, the search engine will not capture every obituary, so it is useful to check the indexes above for those after 1992.

St. Louis Argus Obituaries
"The ST. LOUIS ARGUS serves as a valuable resource for deaths in the local African-American community, especially during the early 20th century, when obituaries or death notices for this segment of the population were generally not carried in major area newspapers."
On an old version of the St. Louis Public Library website they have obituaries from the St. Louis Argus (1915-1919, 1921-1927, 1942-1945)

I suspect over time these will be moved to the same obituary search engine as the Post Dispatch obituaries.

The Westliche Post Obituaries

The St. Louis County Library has an index for The Westliche Post, a German language newspaper

The index currently covers the years 1880-1887, with the indexes for 1881 and 1882 only covering 6 months each.

On the other side of the Mississippi river

Belleville, Illinois Daily Advocate

An index for vital statistics (Adoptions, Births, Baptisms, Marriages, Divorces, Deaths) 1927-1954 at the St. Clair Genealogical Society.

The St. Clair Genealogical Society also has indexes for the Belleville News Democrat (1994-2007), Freeburg Tribune (1904-1939), Lebanon Advertiser (1917-1921), and the Millstadt Enterprise (1897-1949). Scroll down their homepage for links to each of them. There is a site-search box at the bottom of the page, though it doesn't include the Daily Advocate index.

How to Get a Copy of the Obituary

If you do live in St. Louis, you can find the obituary in the newspaper microfilm archives at either the St. Louis County or St. Louis City headquarter libraries. (Only the County library has The Westliche Post on microfilm. Both have the St. Louis Argus, but the County library doesn't appear to have the years 1942-1945.)

You can also request the County library or City library photocopy and mail it to you. The fee is minimal at both places.

For the Illinois newspapers, the Belleville Public Library is the place to go.

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