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Obituaries and Death Notices

The resources described below can help to locate death notices and obituaries.

For other genealogy resources, please see Researching Your Family Tree.


An obituary is a news article about a person written by a reporter.

A death notice is a paid ad which is placed by the family of the deceased, often with the assistance of the funeral home.


The information below is based on the Obituaries & Death Notices Resources handout distributed in the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room.

America’s Obituaries & Death Notices
Newspaper genealogy resource from NewsBank with records from more than 3,000 newspapers as far back as 1983, but Chicago Tribune results beginning with 1930. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel death notices since June 16, 1995 are included.

The Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspapers (microfilm), located at Periodicals Service Desk
Browse death notices from one day to one week after individual’s date of death, as identified in Vital Records resources. Covers 1837-present.

Milwaukee Sentinel Index, 1837-1890
Alphabetical card catalog index to Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper, located in the Periodicals Room. Excellent for death notices and obituaries.

The Milwaukee Journal Newspaper Index, 1915-1917
071.7595 M6675 (print), located at Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room reference desk
Indexes articles, obituaries and death notices. The Milwaukee Journal (microfilm) is located at the Periodicals Service Desk.

Death Notices/Obits, 1930s(?)-June 30, 1992
929.3 M662D (microfilm), located at Periodicals Service Desk
Includes death notices and obituaries clipped by Milwaukee County Genealogical Society members, primarily from The Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Sentinel newspapers, arranged by surname.

A two-volume, alphabetical list of surnames found in this resource may be consulted in the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room, 929.3 M662DE.

Obituaries, Milwaukee Journal/Milwaukee Sentinel, 1958-1988
929.3 O13 (print), located in the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room
A collection of obituaries of prominent people clipped from these newspapers. Milwaukee Sentinel coverage from 1958-1988; The Milwaukee Journal coverage from 1971-1988. One volume per year, arranged by date. There is an alphabetic index at the back of each volume as well as a separate three-volume cumulative index.

Wisconsin Necrology
929.3 W811 (microfilm), located at Periodicals Service Desk
Obituaries of prominent Wisconsin residents from throughout the state compiled from newspapers statewide. Covers 1846-1968.
Entries indexed in Subject Catalog of the Library of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 016.973 W811, in the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room, and in the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Wisconsin Genealogy Index.

Milwaukee Area Necrology, 1992-1998, compiled by Manning M. Bookstaff
929.3 B726 (print), located at Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room reference desk
Index to names appearing in death notices, obituaries and advertisements memorializing the deceased. One volume per year. Newspapers checked were The Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Italian Times, and The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle.

Index to Deaths Reported in The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, 1921-1996, compiled by Manning M. Bookstaff
929.3 B726I (print), located at Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room reference desk
The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle (microfilm and print) is available from the Periodicals Service Desk.

Milwaukee’s German Newspapers: An Index of Death Notices and Related Items, 1844-1930, compiled by Gary Rebholz
929.377595 R291 (print), located at Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room reference desk
This multi-volume work indexes death notices from Milwaukee German-language newspapers. Many of the indexed newspapers are available on microfilm at the Periodicals Service Desk.

Kuryer Polski Indexing Project, 1900-1935, compiled by Karen Wolniakowski Duffy; hosted by the Polish Genealogical Society of America.
Indexes death notices and other genealogically relevant notices and announcements that appeared in from 1900-1935 in the Kuryer Polski, the first American Polish-language daily newspaper. The Kuryer Polski (microfilm) is located at the Periodical Service Desk.