Tips from the Pros: In Memoriam

from Maureen Taylor

You know the expression about death and taxes, but did you know that leaving a paper trail is also one of life’s certainties? Disposable paper items known as ephemera often exist to trace a person’s life from birth (baby announcements) to death (memorial/funeral cards).

A memorial/funeral card announces the death of an individual, includes information on their lives and usually a prayer or quote. The content varies by time period. Today families often present mourners with these cards as remembrances, but in the past, relatives distributed them as funeral invitations. George Washington’s funeral at Mount Vernon was a public event but until the twentieth century they were private affairs attended by family and a few close friends. These cards are genealogical gems–evidence of a death and very collectible. Two websites make searching for these cards easier.

Ancestors at Rest
This website is a free online database of funeral and memorial cards.

GenealogyToday.com
This site has a searchable database of close to 20,000 funeral cards.
 

One thought on “Tips from the Pros: In Memoriam

  1. Greetings,
    First, let me say thank you to Maureen Taylor for her article:
    Tips from the Pros: In Memoriam
    Being new to the field of Genealogy, I especially appreciate useful tips of this nature.
    As an aside, I have become fascinated with the widespread use of the nonword “memoriam.” It appears that through repeated usage, folks have come to believe that it is a valid word. It is not, according to Merriam Webster.
    Thought you might want to know.
    Best Wishes,
    James Wheeler

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