Cleveland Resource: Free Historical Obituaries Online!

 Cleveland Necrology File homepage 

Cleveland Necrology File homepage 

NECROLOGY – noun; plural: necrologies;  1. A list of persons who have died within a certain time; 2. a notice of death

Necrologies, though sort of morbid, are quite fun to use. Think of a necrology as a database for obituaries–like an archive. While we call the list of obituaries in the newspaper obituaries, the technical term for the section is a necrology. For obvious reasons no one uses the term much anymore except, you guessed it, researchers.

There are millions of necrologies throughout the world but today we’ll focus on one that I use a lot here in Cleveland. The Cleveland Necrology File is funded, organized, and maintained, by the Cleveland Public Library and contains data extracted from the obituary archives of The Plain Dealer, The Cleveland Press, and others including public interment records (historical records of interments at cemeteries in Cuyahoga county.)

The CNF is completely free to the public so it is a great way to get obituary and death information from the two main newspapers in the city without having to pay the subscription fee from The Plain Dealer archives at Newsbank. While some obituaries (seems those mostly from The Press) include the full text from the obituary, others simply have a name, a date of the articles posting, and where it’s located in that days issue. Still noteworthy as that can give you a general time-frame when your ancestor passed away.

 My 2x Great Uncle Edward's obituary extract information from the Cleveland Necrology File

My 2x Great Uncle Edward's obituary extract information from the Cleveland Necrology File

To view the full obituary, you can access the Newsbank archives for The Cleveland Plain Dealer and The Cleveland Press for free online if you have a CPL library card (this is the link here) or you can visit any CPL in person to browse.