Find Family History in Obituaries

You can find out more about your family by reading the local newspaper!

That is especially true if you read the obituary section. One of the basic research resources for genealogists is the obituary. Obituary records can often provide you with basic information about a person’s birth, death, marriage, children and burial. You may also find information on other relatives like parents, children and siblings all in the local newspaper.

The Topeka Room has more than 170,000 indexed obituaries from Topeka newspapers from 1906 to present and is available online.

Mark Rustman knew his parents were in the obituary listings, but after he typed in his last name, something popped up that he never expected—a Mrs. E. P. Rustman’s obituary listing from the 1921 Topeka State Journal. He didn’t know who it was, but later found out it was a story about his grandmother who he never met. Read more about his story here.

Look up your ancestors who lived in and around Topeka. Once you find a name in our Obituary Index, request a copy of the obituary. Find out more information about requesting an obituary by using our Obituary Request Form. Start finding out more information about your family by reading their obituaries.

“Our Obituary Index is one of the most valued research tools,” Shari Schawo said. “Our index helps hundreds of people every year in the search for their ancestors and loved ones. We receive requests locally from Topekans and from people around the world. We have received requests as far away as Australia and Denmark.”

Sherri Camp

Being the Genealogy Librarian at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is so much fun! As a veteran genealogist, I love teaching and sharing digital family history and genealogy techniques and helping people solve genealogy problems. My work is to promote a greater knowledge of family heritage.