Genealogy Research Easier Now with Online Ozarks Obituary Collection
October 18, 2019 — Family researchers and professional genealogists know that obituaries are an essential tool in building a family’s story. In fact, an obituary is sometimes the only place the “story” of the deceased is recorded, says Connie Daughtrey, president of the Ozarks Genealogical Society, or OGS.
So researchers are cheering the launch of the Ozarks Obituary Collection, an online collection of more than 115,000 obituaries from southwest Missouri newspapers (outside Springfield) that OGS volunteers have collected since the 1980s, digitized and now made available for all researchers in partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Library District.
Ozarks Obituary Collection is available at thelibrary.org/lochist, under Digital Archive in the Browse by Topic column.
"For those genealogy researchers with links to the Ozarks, finding an obit in one of our area newspapers can sometimes be daunting,” Daughtrey says.
“Even though we often hear that ‘most genealogy records are online now,’ we are all aware that Legacy.com doesn't get all the smaller newspaper obits and Newspapers.com don't always cover the smaller towns,” she says. “Thanks to online obit projects such as the Ozarks Obits and their efforts to fill that gap, the ability to find a searchable database is priceless."
From a genealogical standpoint, Daughtrey explains, obituaries often provide correct spellings of family names and pertinent details about the deceased – information that can be considered correct since it was used to prepare the death certificate. Obits also provide names of living and deceased relatives, and details of the person’s employment or major life events.
“Sometimes,” Daughtrey says, “this is the only place a family attempts to reconstruct the lineage record of the family.”
Since the early 1980s, OGS volunteers have collected obituaries from southwest Missouri newspapers and websites, and later scanned them for researchers using the Ozarks Genealogical Society Library. Now this collection is available to all researchers through public library’s website. It focuses primarily on the communities surrounding Springfield, as Springfield obits are available through Hall’s Index at the Springfield-Greene County Library District.