Funeral Sermons – a core genealogical resource

GenealogyBank.com has over 7,000 funeral sermons – full text digital copies and excerpts.

These are a core source for genealogists searching for the details of their ancestor’s lives in Colonial America and the early Federalist period. (Photo, Ian Britton. FreeFoto.com).
It was common in Colonial America to have a funeral sermon printed and distributed “at the request of the family” to the mourners.
These slim pamphlets can range from six to thirty pages. While it was common for these to be printed – they were printed in small press runs, so it can be difficult for genealogists to locate copies. In many cases only one copy of the sermon – with its critical biographical information survives.

In my experience the earliest published funeral sermons that survive were for ministers and their wives. This practice expanded to include older members of the community and by the late 1700s to early 1800s it was common to see printed funeral sermons for children, men, women of all backgrounds and occupations.

Clergy routinely printed and circulated their sermons on all topics as a way to encourage the faithful to live better lives. I always assumed that the reason their funeral sermons survived while the others that may have been printed didn’t is that ministers/their wives were more widely known then regular townspeople.
Their funeral and other sermons were likely circulated to clergy in other cities; seminaries; townspeople in prior towns where they had been stationed etc. The wider the circulation – the more likely a copy would be preserved.
These sermons would not just be homilies to promote religious values but “news” – that people would want to read to be informed and reminded of the lives well lived by the ministers that had served them over the years. This would give more opportunities for people to have kept them – making it more likely for these fragile pamphlets to have survived.
Newspaper accounts of funerals vary – some give the complete sermon and some stories give brief details of the service – like this account of Mark Twain and his wife “listening” to the funeral service of her mother – Olivia (Lewis) Langdon, by telephone. (Inter-Ocean, 12 Jan 1891).
Another newspaper account gave the details of the “Most Impressive Funeral Service Ever Held” – the funeral of the Rev. Thomas Allen Horne. It was also the most unusual since he realized that he would soon pass away and had recorded his sermon to be played at the funeral.

His powerful remarks, in his own voice, made “grown men weep” and “women faint”. The family had a recording of the Rev. Horne and his late wife singing the old hymn “There is a Better Land“.

Tip: Click & Read this:

Imagine the impact in 1890 of listening to the funeral sermon of the deceased – recorded in his own voice; the shock in 1890 of hearing the recorded voices of he & his wife singing their funeral hymn – the poignant, personal remarks in his sermon – again recorded in his own voice. No doubt, that would have been the “Most Impressive Funeral Service Ever Held”.

Click Here to read the entire story: Charlotte (NC) News 15 March 1890.

GenealogyBank has thousands of funeral sermons – elegies, memorials etc. Many of these are full digital copies and others are the full sermon or excerpts that appeared in the newspapers.
Here are some typical examples of what you will find in GenealogyBank.
Harris, Thaddeus Mason, (1768-1842). A tribute of filial respect, to the memory of his mother, in a discourse, delivered at Dorchester, Feb. 8, 1801, the Lord’s day after her decease. Charlestown, MA: Printed by Samuel Etheridge, 1801. 20p.
The biographical and genealogical details of the late Rebekah (Mason) Wait (1738-1801) begin on page 16. We learn that she was born on 28 Dec 1738 – the daughter of Thaddeus Mason “of Cambridge, who survives her, in his 95th year.”

On page 17 we learn that she was married twice. She married her first husband, William Harris of Cambridge, MA on 20 Aug 1767. He died 30 Oct 1778. She married her second husband, Samuel Wait of Malden, MA on 2 Mar 1780. She died on 2 Feb 1801 “leaving behind her a widowed husband and five children (four by her first marriage and one by the second) to mourn their loss.”

Maxcy, Jonathan, (1768-1820). A funeral sermon, occasioned by the death of Mr. John Sampson Bobo a member of the Junior Class in the South-Carolina College, who was unfortunately drowned in the Congress River, near Columbia. Columbia, SC: Faust, 1819. 16p.

Moore, Martin, (1790-1866). Death of the saints precious in God’s sight a sermon delivered in Natick, June 13, 1819, occasioned by the death of Mrs. Hannah Coolidge, wife of Mr. William Coolidge, aetatis 40. Dedham, MA: Mann, 1819. 15p.

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Genealogist Obituaries – genealogists in 16 states pass away

Genealogists in 16 States pass away. AK, CA, DE, FL, ID, IL, KS, LA, MA, MO, OH, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI.

Bedgood, Pierrine Charlotte Claudine Cabral. (1938-2009)
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA) – May 13, 2009

Cheng, Nelson Yum-Ping. (1920-2009)
St. Petersburg Times (FL) – May 14, 2009

Cox, Donald H. (1946-2009)
Lima News (OH) – May 16, 2009

Dawson, Elsie Carter Leonard. (1913-2009)
News Journal (Wilmington, DE) – May 17, 2009

Fortuine, Robert. (1934-2009)
Anchorage Daily News (AK) – May 14, 2009

Gerrie, Alfred Lind, Jr. (1931-2009)
Pasadena Star-News (CA) – May 14, 2009

Harden, Glenda. (1931-2009)
Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT) – May 14, 2009

Harding, Nancy Grotz. (1950-2009)
Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA) – May 17, 2009

Hess, Arthur Brackett. (1948-2009)
Landmark (Holden, MA) – May 14, 2009

Hunt, Edwin Simonds. (1915-2009)
Rockford Register Star (IL) – May 14, 2009

Krah, Gladys Thelma. (1913-2009)
Columbian (Vancouver, WA) – May 17, 2009

Krebs, Emanuel. (1916-2009)
Times-News (Twin Falls, ID) – May 15, 2009

Lasche, Martha Mae. (1912-2009)
Seattle Times (WA) – May 17, 2009

Osteen, Elizabeth Moore. (1917-2009)
Longview News-Journal (TX) – May 16, 2009

Raymond, Guy Raymond, Jr. (1925-2009)
Post-Crescent (Appleton, WI) – May 14, 2009

Roos, Diane. (1945-2009)
Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT) – May 17, 2009

Scott, Frances L. (1946-2009)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) – May 17, 2009

Shackelford, Patricia Ann. (1935-2009)
Lee’s Summit Journal (MO) – May 14, 2009

Stocks, Ina Sharp. (1919-2009)
Idaho State Journal (Pocatello, ID) – May 15, 2009

Strother, Mary McAvoy. (1923-2009)
Sacramento Bee (CA) – May 16, 2009

Yust, Frances L. (1920-2009)
Hutchinson News (KS) – May 16, 2009

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US Air Force Register, full-text, digital copies on GenealogyBank.com 1951-1968

GenealogyBank.com has the US Air Force Register, 1951-1968 online.

This annual register gives genealogical information about the personnel in the US Air Force. There are similar publications for the US Army; US Navy etc.

The Air Force Register was first published as a separate publication in 1951. Earlier lists for Air Force personnel were included in the US Army Registers. The Air Force Register includes both active and retired Air Force personnel.

Click on the links below to go directly to the annual volumes of the US Air Force Register.

1951. Air Force Register.
1952. Air Force Register.
1953. Air Force Register.
1954. Air Force Register.
1955. Air Force Register.
1956. Air Force Register.
1957. Air Force Register.
1958. Air Force Register.
1959. Air Force Register. Volume I: Active lists.
1960. Air Force Register. Volume I: Active lists.
1961. Air Force Register. Volume I: Active lists.
1962. Air Force Register. Volume I: Active lists.
1963. Air Force Register. Volume I: Active lists.
1964. Air Force Register. Volume I: Active lists.
1965. Air Force Register. Volume I: Active lists.
1966. Air Force Register. Volume I: Active lists.
1967. Air Force Register. Volume I. Active lists.
1968. Air Force Register. Volume I: Active lists.

Each month GenealogyBank will be adding more years to the Air Force Register series.

GenealogyBank.com is packed with military information: Books, newspapers and historical documents.

GenealogyBank has the resources genealogists actually use and rely on to document their family tree.
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Armed Forces Day – "United in Strength" – Saturday, May 16, 2009

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.
On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department — the Department of Defense.
(Courtesy, US Dept. of Defense)

This month GenealogyBank Blog has been featuring the military history resources in GenealogyBank.com


Military History Books
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1903. 2 volumes. (Serial Set Vol. No. 4535, Session Vol. No.96; Report: H.Doc. 446 pt. 1 & 2).
Click Here to Read Volume 1
Click Here to Read Volume 2

The Centennial of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1904. 2 volumes. (Serial Set Vol. No. 4751, Session Vol. No.125; Report: H.Doc. 789 pt. 1 & 2).
Click Here to read Volume 1
Click Here to read Volume 2

US Navy Register
Click here to see the listings for 1950-1961

US Army Register
Click here to see the listings for 1900-1909
Click here to see the listings for 1910-1919
Click here to see the listings for 1920-1929
Click here to see the listings for 1930-1939
Click here to see the listings for 1940-1968

GenealogyBank.com is packed with military information: Books, newspapers and historical documents.

GenealogyBank has the resources genealogists actually use and rely on to document their family tree.
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GenealogyBank.com: core military history books

Cadets graduating at West Point

All month GenealogyBank.com has been highlighting its extensive military resources.

GenealogyBank has the core military reference books that you will rely on in documenting your ancestors with military service.

For example GenealogyBank has the two volume set:

Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1903. 2 volumes. (Serial Set Vol. No. 4535, Session Vol. No.96; Report: H.Doc. 446 pt. 1 & 2).

This handbook has the military record of all Army officers from 1789 to 1903 and the details on all battles fought by the Army during that same period.

Another standard reference book for documenting US Army officers is:

The Centennial of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1904. 2 volumes. (Serial Set Vol. No. 4751, Session Vol. No.125; Report: H.Doc. 789 pt. 1 & 2).

GenealogyBank.com is packed with military information.

Books, newspapers and historical documents.

GenealogyBank has the resources genealogists actually use and rely on to document their family tree.
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GenealogyBank.com brings you tomorrow’s obituaries – today.

Jamieson, Margaret Jean. (1924-2009)
Dayton Daily News (OH) – May 14, 2009

Earlier today I posted the list of recent Genealogist Obituaries.

A sharp-eyed researcher asked if there was a typo in this obituary – noting that she could not find this obituary in the Dayton Daily News (OH) and pointing out that the dateline was tomorrow’s date.

The answer is that GenealogyBank.com partners with newspapers and receives the obituaries directly from them as they are prepared. GenealogyBank is updated throughout the day so it is common for tomorrow’s obituaries to be available today in GenealogyBank. As soon as we receive it – we make it available to you!

In this case Margaret Jean Jamieson’s obituary will appear in tomorrow’s Dayton Daily News (OH) – May 14, 2009 – but you may read it now on GenealogyBank. Click on the link to read the full obituary.

GenealogyBank.com is the larget archive of obituaries on the planet – with over 130 million obituaries it is the most reliable online resource for genealogists.

Genealogist Obituaries – genealogists in 26 states pass away

Genealogists in 26 States pass away. AL, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, ID, IN, LA, MA, MI, MO, NC, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI

Antram, Jeanne. (1930-2009)
Roswell Daily Record (NM) – May 12, 2009

Becker, Julia Drane. (1920-2009)
Tulare Advance-Register (CA) – May 9, 2009

Brown, Dale Sturtz. (1936-2009)
Times Argus (Montpelier-Barre, VT) – May 11, 2009

Carrington, Hiram D., Jr. (1930-2009)
Voices (Woodbury, CT) – May 12, 2009

Cherney, Edna D. (Pieper). (1923-2009)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) – May 12, 2009

Clark, Elaine Hincks. (1936-2009)
Hartford Courant (CT) – May 8, 2009

Crane, Ora Mae. (1923-2009)
Modesto Bee (CA) – May 8, 2009

Dimick, Doris Lee Banks. (1949-2009)
Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT) – May 7, 2009

Culberson, John L. (1927-2009)
Daily Herald (Columbia, TN) – May 7, 2009

Dodson, Burt, Jr. (1931-2009)
Charlotte Observer (NC) – May 10, 2009

Doty-Smith, Frances Earline. (1917-2009)
Evening News and Tribune (Jeffersonville-New Albany, IN) – May 8, 2009

Edwards, Mary Kathryn Smith. (1947-2009)
St. Joseph News-Press (MO) – May 11, 2009

Fielding, Evelyn Juanita Goodchild. (1911-2009)
Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA) – May 10, 2009

Fonville, Lorene Davis. (1911-2009)
Montgomery Advertiser (AL) – May 8, 2009

Galusha, Brian W. (1944-2009)
Washington Post (DC) – May 10, 2009

Gowan, Marjorie E. (Horton). (1918-2009)
Taunton Call (MA) – May 12, 2009

Guthrie, Martha Dee Schwartz. (1913-2009)
Dallas Morning News (TX) – May 10, 2009

Hartman, Jean. (1927-2009)
Lansing State Journal (MI) – May 7, 2009

Hickerson, Virginia Barr. (1935-2009)
Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK) – May 8, 2009

Howard, Roberta Caroline. (1920-2009)
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN) – May 9, 2009

Huffman, David Linn. (1939-2009)
Alexandria Daily Town Talk (LA) – May 8, 2009

Jamieson, Margaret Jean. (1924-2009)
Dayton Daily News (OH) – May 14, 2009

Kania, Betty Slicer. (1923-2009)
News Journal (Wilmington, DE) – May 12, 2009

Kaulaity, Charlotte York. (1951-2009)
Lawton Constitution (OK) – May 11, 2009

Landry, William E. (1940-2009)
Morning Call (Allentown, PA) – May 7, 2009

Lane, Margaret Taylor. (1919-2009)
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA) – May 12, 2009

Limber, Gertrude. (1919-2009)
Monterey County Herald (CA) – May 10, 2009

Newberry, Emily Jane. (1928-2009)
Times (Shreveport, LA) – May 13, 2009

Newman, William Gold. (1921-2009)
Albuquerque Journal (NM) – May 11, 2009

Osborne, Zetta Frances Wilkinson. (1920-2009)
Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, CO) – May 13, 2009

Peeler, Juanita Worthy. (1931-2009)
Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC) – May 11, 2009

Proudfit, Louis A. (1943-2009)
Augusta Chronicle (GA) – May 8, 2009

Reid, Mildred Chase Lustig. (1924-2009)
Watertown Daily Times (NY) – May 10, 2009

Roberts, Earl. (1910-2009)
Knoxville News Sentinel (TN) – May 9, 2009

Rowley, Virginia Adam. (1928-2009)
Erie Times-News (PA) – May 10, 2009

Shea, Barbara Brown. (1924-2009)
Washington Post (DC) – May 8, 2009

Simonds, Nancy. (1930-2009)
Malden Observer (MA) – May 12, 2009

Taylor, Mildred Nye. (1917-2009)
Idaho State Journal (Pocatello, ID) – May 9, 2009

Thiele, Vicki. (1944-2009)
Waco Tribune-Herald (TX) – May 10, 2009

Tressler, Grace Helmich. (1915-2009)
Yakima Herald-Republic (WA) – May 8, 2009

Genealogist Obituaries – genealogists in 10 states pass away

Genealogists in 10 States pass away.
IN, KY, LA, NH, NY, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT

Allred, LaRue Winn. (1923-2009)
Standard-Examiner (Ogden, UT) – May 7, 2009

Alloway, Frances Patricia. (1917-2009)
Indianapolis Star (IN) – May 7, 2009

Baker, Rosaline Tilley. (1930-2009)
Dallas Morning News (TX) – May 7, 2009

Barnes, Major Arch Dalrymple. (1921-2009)
Dallas Morning News (TX) – May 7, 2009

Bradford, Jimmie E. (1925-2009)
Dallas Morning News (TX) – May 8, 2009

Gigas, Marguerite M. (1920-2009)
Concord Monitor (NH) – May 7, 2009

Honeywell, Lois Marie. (1939-2009)
Watertown Daily Times (NY) – May 7, 2009

Lancour, Marguerite C. (1917-2009)
Rutland Herald (VT) – May 7, 2009

Lipscomb, Richard Rowley. (1911-2009)
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA) – May 7, 2009

Robbins, William L., Sr. (1930-2009)
Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA) – May 6, 2009

Roberts, Earl. (1910-2009)
Knoxville News Sentinel (TN) – May 8, 2009

Stringham, Genevieve Marie. (1912-2009)
Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT) – May 7, 2009

Temple, Horace LaFoe. (1916-2009)

Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer (KY) – May 6, 2009

Wilson, Kimberly Ann. (1965-2009)
Jackson Sun (TN) – May 7, 2009

Genealogist Obituaries – genealogists in 11 states pass away

Genealogists in 11 states pass away.
CT, MA, MI, MN, NH, OK, PA, TN, UT, WA, WV

Bell, Frederick R. (1945-2009)
Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA) – May 6, 2009

Brown, Robert Arthur. (1927-2009)
Knoxville News Sentinel (TN) – May 6, 2009

Carrington, Hiram D., Jr. (1930-2009)
Republican-American (Waterbury, CT) – May 5, 2009

Church, James. (1925-2009)
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) – May 5, 2009

Moher, Mariette I. (Corriveau). (1921-2009)
Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH) – May 5, 2009

Payne, Marlene Alcorn. (1935-2009)
Spectrum, The (St. George, UT) – May 5, 2009

Quesenberry, Bobby J., Jr. (1959-2009)
Charleston Gazette (WV) – May 5, 2009

Shoemaker, Clyde P. (1927-2009)
Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, PA) – May 6, 2009

Stevens, Grace Louise. (1932-2009)
Kalamazoo Gazette (MI) – May 5, 2009

Ward, Dana Shaw. (1915-2009)
Plymouth Bulletin (MA) – May 5, 2009

Wilson, Joyce Fern. (1940-2009)
Muskogee Daily Phoenix and Times-Democrat (OK) – May 5, 2009

GenealogyBank with over 130 million obituaries is the largest source of obituaries and death records online.

Genealogist Obituaries – 12 Genealogists in 7 States have passed away.

12 genealogists in 7 States have passed away.

Baker, Francis J. (1916-2009)
News Journal (Mansfield, OH). May 1, 2009

Beeson, Myron. (1926-2009)
Salt Lake Tribune (UT). May 3, 2009

Cantwell, Nancy Carolyn McKissack. (1933-2009)
Denton Record-Chronicle (TX). May 3, 2009

Clever, Evelyn L. (1910-2009)
Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT). May 2, 2009

Davis, Pauline Rose. (1931-2009)
Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT). May 2, 2009

Heck, Glenn Eugene. (1929-2009)
Macon Telegraph (GA). May 3, 2009

Hoff, Marjorie Doris. (1921-2009)
Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID). May 4, 2009

Lister, Nancy Lou. (1940-2009)
Hartford Courant (CT). May 3, 2009

Lloyd, Bud D. (1927-2009)
Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID). May 3, 2009

Robinson, Norma Garrett. (1918-2009)
Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT). May 2, 2009

Stevens, Zina Greene Campbell. (1915-2009)
Standard-Examiner (Ogden, UT). May 5, 2009

Williams, Virginia Johns. (1929-2009)
Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA). May 2, 2009

GenealogyBank with over 130 million obituaries is the largest source of obituaries and death records online.