There is a well-spring of genealogical information contained in African-American funeral programs. The names and photos lovingly and conscientiously placed in these articles of sorrow and celebration are very important to consider in your family history search.
According to the Georgia Public Library Service, “Funeral programs provide valuable social and genealogical information, typically including a photograph of the individual, an obituary, a list of surviving relatives, and the order of service. Some programs provide more extensive genealogical information such as birth and death dates, maiden names, past residences, and place of burial. This data can otherwise be hard to find, particularly for marginalized populations. The records of many in these communities were often either destroyed, kept in private hands, or never created in the first place.”
Across the nation, several public libraries have free access to a particular collection of African-American funeral programs. While some search options are available with various collections, it seems that most offer all-access via browsing.
The Genealogy Room is pleased to share web links for online access to these truly invaluable African-American funeral programs.
The following links do not require a library card or payment to browse the records:
Be sure to check with your local library for other collections that require a library card and by all means, get your library card, if you don’t already have one.
Ancestry.com also houses a database (behind a paywall) that allows you to search their African American 1935-2009 funeral programs collection.
Start by doing an Internet search for African American funeral programs in your area of research. You are bound to find some helpful information.
As we search and find, it is important to remember that there are so many wonderful people who work hard to ensure that these treasures are shared. The people who ask for the funeral programs in the first place are especially important. Kudos to those such as a great lady who I will refer to as L.L.
To L.L. and to all of the others who memorialize these memorials and who help to make them findable-thank you!
Happy Search and Find!
The Genealogy Situation Room