Many genealogists use obituaries as a part of their research. They can easily be a clue to additional records or sources, but must be used with care. It is important to remember that the information contained in an obituary can be incorrect, misleading, or incomplete. The confusion is compounded when an obituary contains all three errors.
The deceased might have been married three times, but only the last spouse is listed in the obituary. Children of the deceased may be named, but they may not have the same set of both parents and none may be the child of the spouse listed in the obituary. Lists of children may even be incomplete, especially if there has been a family squabble or an estrangement.
Individuals listed as children may actually be step-children of the deceased. The step-parent/step-child bond may have been a very strong one and the step-parent may have been a parent to the child in all the important ways, but the obituary may not make the distinction which the genealogist typically wants to make.
And there can easily be unintentional errors due to inaccurate knowledge on the part of the obituary informant.
An obituary may be an important part of your genealogical research, but the information it contains should be used with care and as a pointer to other records. Many times the obituary’s purpose is to notify newspaper readers of the death and funeral of the deceased. Those details are usually correct; other details should be used with caution.