Re: funeral homes
- My godparents run a funeral home in Bridgeport CT, so I've kind of been
"on the fringes" of this business all my life. Nowadays, most funeral
homes are owned by large conglomerates - the "family parlor" as such is
almost unknown anymore.
If you contact a funeral home that is now run by a large corporation,
it's likely that you will not get much in terms of record keeping. They
may or may not have the obit in the records, more than likely not. Also,
many of the conglomerates have been known to destroy the old records
when they buy out a family-run parlor.
Older family run funeral homes usually still keep more detailed books
with info and are more likely to send you what they have. Many of these
are now being filmed by the LDS church or otherwise transcribed by local
genealogy socities, as they can be a great help to genealogists (the
local Escambia County genealogy society in Pensacola is doing all the
books of the local family funeral home there).
Personally I've been trying to talk my godmother into letting me arrange
to have their books filmed as their business started in Bridgeport in
1895. Most of these books will list the costs involved, who paid the
bill, and if military honors were involved as you have to submit proof
of that for a bugler etc at funerals.
Sometimes they list cause of death or any unusual circumstances. It's
also a help if the person had died there, but was buried somewhere else
like in another state.
But try.... my experience (both personal and advice from my aunt) is
that you will have better luck with a phone call than a letter. And much
depends on the person you get to talk to you... I called a funeral home
in Stamford CT because there was no cemetery existing as it was listed
on my gr/grandparents death certs... and the gentleman was very kind and
explained it had changed names... and it ended up that he went to the
cemetery and took a polaroid of the headstone for me.
So my advice is to try... but realize much depends on the circumstances
of the funeral home and who you deal with.
Maura Petzolt Mobile Alabama USA
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