Thursday, March 5, 2015

Searching the Obituary Daily Times

One of those sites that have become invaluable to me for locating fairly recent obituaries is the Obituary Daily Times. If you have a subscription to you can also find the Obituary Daily Times in their collections under "Web: Obituary Daily Times Index, 1995-Current". But the Obituary Daily Times web site is constantly updated so use that whenever possible.

Not all newspapers are indexed by the fabulous contributors. However, the list of publications that are or have been indexed can be found on the Publications page. Just be aware that the Obituary Daily Times DOES NOT have the obituaries. It is just an index to help you find the newspaper that does have the obituary or notice of death.

There are two ways you can use this site for your genealogy research. The first is to subscribe to their daily (or twice daily) e-mail. You do that by sending an e-mail to GEN-OBIT-L-request AT (replace the "AT" with the "@" symbol) and putting "subscribe" in the body of the e-mail. No subject for the e-mail is required. However, since I already get enough e-mails every day I make use of the second option and that is searching their online index.

Searching the Obituary Daily Times database is as simple as going to their search form found at There you can search for anything recorded in the index.

For example, I'm looking for recent obituaries for Jenkins. For the keywords I just type in Jenkins. That returns back almost 18,000 possible matches for people with a surname of Jenkins, maiden surname of Jenkins, previously married surname of Jenkins, people who died in Jenkins township in Pennsylvania. That is just a few too many to review in my lifetime. Yet I can also use more than one keyword in the search. In this case, I am looking for any obituaries in the index for any Jenkins in New Brunswick. For the keywords I just use Jenkins NB. Just by adding "NB" I now only have 60 possible obituaries to look through. Below is a snippet of what was returned:

BEERS, Constance (JENKINS)[KING]; 92; St John NB>Auburndale FL; Tampa Trib; 2007-9-18; evallie
CYR, Margaret Helen (JENKINS); 74; Woostock NB; Telegraph Journal; 2002-11-22; jdlmwc
FIDLER, Maxine J (JENKINS); 78; York NB>Troy MT; Missoulian; 1999-4-16; hharley
HANLEY, Dorothy "Dot" (JENKINS); 88; Saint John NB>Halifax NS; Telegraph Journal (NB); 2005-8-31; jdlmwc
HANLEY, Dorothy Parker (JENKINS); 88; Saint John NB>Halifax NS; Chron-Herald; 2005-8-31; kbutler
HEDBERG, Brenda J (ESTEY)[JENKINS]; ; Saint John NB; Telegraph Journal; 2003-3-8; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Betsy Maria (PAGET); 89; Plaster Rock NB; Daily Gleaner; 2007-2-19; rmdi
JENKINS, Betsy Marie (PAGET); 89; Plaster Rock NB; Telegraph Journal; 2007-2-19; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Carl Beecher; 76; Minto NB; Daily Gleaner; 2008-4-28; rmdi
JENKINS, Carmen A (OUELLETTE); ; Saint John NB; Telegraph Journal; 2011-12-19; jdlmwc
JENKINS, David G Rev; ; Rothesay NB; Telegraph Journal; 2013-8-14; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Donald M; ; Saint John NB; Telegraph Journal; 2008-4-19; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Donald Osbourne; 73; Fredericton NB; Saint John E-T-G; 1990-9-28; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Doris Gertrude (CUMBERLAND); 90; Hampton NB; Telegraph Journal; 2008-11-11; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Dow A "Dowie"; ; Nauwigewauk NB; Telegraph Journal; 2006-10-31; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Edith Gertrude (SMITH); 96; Long Reach NB>Cumberland MD; Cumberland T-N; 2006-3-14; gschubert
JENKINS, Eileen Ruth (TOMPKINS); 61; Waterville NB; Daily Gleaner; 2009-4-21; rmdi
JENKINS, Ellen "Nellie" (STACKHOUSE); 101; Medford ME>Saint John NB; Telegraph Journal; 2007-5-22; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Flora A (McGARITY); 77; Cambridge Narrows NB; Telegraph Journal; 2013-9-17; jdlmwc
JENKINS, Fred W "Roop"; 78; Saint John NB; Telegraph Journal; 2009-11-21; jdlmwc

Note how the index is formatted (taken from the Obituary Daily Times Contributors' Handbook):
Surname, Firstname; Age; Place of Birth>Death; Pub Name; Pub Date; Tagname

The surnames are always in upper case and if a maiden surname is provided in the obituary then it is included between "()". If the person was married previously and the previous married surname (or surnames) is in the obituary then that too is included but encased in "[]".

The age, if provided in the obituary, is recorded.

You will see sometimes the place is listed like "Long Reach NB>Cumberland MD". This means that the place of birth is also recorded. In this case the obituary stated that the person was born in Long Reach, New Brunswick and died in Cumberland, Maryland.

The publication name can be a challenge since often the full publication name isn't typed in but instead a short form or abbreviation is used. You can find all the publication name abbreviations on their Publications page. Always double-check the abbreviation to make sure you are looking for the correct newspaper.

The date of publication is in the format of YYYY-M-D. So a publication date of 2003-3-8 converts to March 8th, 2003. Note that there are no leading zeros for the months and days.

Finally the tagname is the code for the contributor's name.

Let's look at the line "JENKINS, Fred W "Roop"; 78; Saint John NB; Telegraph Journal; 2009-11-21; jdlmwc". I note that his nickname appears to be "Roop". An unusual nickname but since I've been researching his line for some time now I know that his grandmother's name is Lena Garner Roop. According to this obituary he was 78 years old when he died in Saint John, New Brunswick. I should be able to find his obituary in the November 21st, 2009 edition of the Telegraph-Journal. I can either see if a local library or archive has this edition or I can check online to see if the Telegraph-Journal has an online presence (they do and their recent obituaries can be searched at

I could have searched for Jenkins 2009 or Fred Jenkins and his entry in the index would have popped up. The search keywords can be anything recorded in the index.

Just remember, the Obituary Daily Times is just an index. You still have to locate the newspaper and read the obituary to confirm that it is for the person you are searching for.

1 comment:

  1. Ken,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!