For genealogists, obituaries can sometimes hold the key piece of information needed to track down a new line of descendants or break through a brick wall caused by elusive ancestors. Thanks to the Columbus Metropolitan Library, genealogists researching family in the Columbus, Ohio area are able to locate and request obituaries more quickly than before.
As part of the library’s Local History and Genealogy online resource center, the Columbus Metropolitan Library provides free access to the Columbus News Index obituary search engine. This database contains obituaries originally printed in The Columbus Dispatch between the years 1931 and 1997. While the search results are handy for locating the publication, date, and page number necessary for proper identification of the obituary you seek, it does not return the full text of the obituary. The CNI contains abstracts only. Never fear! You have several options available for acquiring the full obituary.
Those local to the area who have been issued a Discovery Place library card can request up to 4 obituaries per month. Requests can be placed online, and in most cases obituaries will be returned within two business days. Email and local fax requests are free, though there is a nominal charge required for mail delivery.
More Recent Obituaries
Are you looking for a more recent obituary? The Columbus Dispatch Archives Obituaries database is available through CML’s Local History and Genealogy research portal as well. Powered by NewsBank, this online database includes obituaries from 1996 to present. Newspapers available to search include major publications such as The Blade (Toledo, Ohio), The Cincinnati Post, The Columbus Dispatch, The Dayton Daily News, and The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) as well as other smaller newspapers available within the state. Each database is clearly marked indicating the date range available for searching. Any obituary included in the collection will be displayed with full, original text along with all information necessary for proper citation.
Not Local? You can still search the CNI database online without a library card although one will be required for use of the Columbus Dispatch Archives Obituaries. Receive obituaries by contacting a local researcher to perform the search for you. The library provides a listing of local researchers willing to help you in your task. Or, contact me for assistance as well!
This article originally appeared as part of my Columbus Genealogy Examiner column on Examiner.com on 21 June 2012.
© 2012, Stephanie Pitcher Fishman. All rights reserved.