How to Find Out When Someone Died at No Cost

Updated March 23, 2017

The general practice after a friend or family member dies is to place an obituary in the local newspaper. Today many funeral homes and online newspapers publish the information, too. The information in an obituary generally contains the date when the person died and where the funeral will be held. Surviving family members are also listed. The Internet has made the search for a loved one broader, allowing you to explore obituaries in different cities right from your home.

Search the newspapers in the city where the individual lived most recently. A spouse, friend or family member usually contacts the paper to place a death notice.

Call the papers where the individual originally lived or grew up. If he died in another city, family members sometimes publish an obituary in the person's original hometown paper.

Seek help at your local library. Most libraries archive local newspapers on disc or microfiche, dating back several years. This option is ideal if the person you're looking for has local ties.

Log on to websites that have search engines that scour obituaries worldwide, such as Type the first and last name of the deceased into the search block. The more information you know, the better your chances of locating the proper obituary.


Contact libraries in the city where the deceased resided. Some librarians are willing to assist over the phone. Try different sites when searching. If the name you type in doesn't come up, perhaps it has not yet been entered into the death index. A different search engine may pull the information you seek from the newspaper website or funeral home website instead.


If the deceased has a common name, several obituaries may appear. Read each one carefully to determine which listing is that of your friend or family member.

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About the Author

Joleene DesRosiers Moody has written professionally since 2001 for television and print. Her freelance work is featured in "Absolutely Business" magazine. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in radio and television production from Onondaga Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in theater and fine arts from Niagara University.