How to Research Legal Notices in Newspapers for Genealogy

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena shows how legal notices published in old newspapers are a great genealogy resource, providing a wealth of family history information.

When doing your family history research, have you ever given much thought to those legal notices found at the back of the newspaper? Legal notices in newspapers have an important purpose: they notify the public about government and individual actions so that readers may take action if necessary. The publishing of these public notices dates back to 1789, when Congress “required all bills, orders, resolutions and congressional votes to be published in at least three publicly available newspapers.”*

According to the genealogical text, The Source, legal notices may include: “land sales for payment of taxes, administration in probate, proving of wills, heirship determination and the settlement of estates, pending divorce proceedings, sales of properties of insolvent estates, and more.”**

Have you looked for your ancestor in these public notices published in newspapers? These legal articles can lead you to additional sources stored in courthouse archives, county government offices, and beyond. Let’s look at a few examples.

Probate & Estate Notices to Creditors

One genealogically rich source of information is the Notice to Creditors for estates being probated.

At the very least these probate notices provide the deceased’s name, such as this example found in an Arizona newspaper following the death of Mary J. Griffin.

This legal notice is a good reminder to not make assumptions about female ancestors. We often assume women in earlier times didn’t leave behind wills, but they may have – and if so, legal notice of that will or testament might have been published in the local newspaper. Legal notices are a wonderful source for researching female ancestors.

a legal notice for Mary Griffin, Tucson Citizen newspaper article 26 July 1915

Tucson Citizen (Tucson, Arizona), 26 July 1915, page 5

Legal notices will often include a family member’s name who was administering the estate. This notice to creditors article example from an Idaho newspaper includes the name of the deceased, S. F. Beery, and the name of the executor who was most likely a relative, David Beery.

legal notice for S. F. Beery, Idaho Statesman newspaper article 26 June 1905

Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho), 26 June 1905, page 5

Court Actions & Case Files

Notices of court actions in the newspaper include everything from divorces to individual lawsuits, delinquent tax issues, and foreclosures on property. Consider this example from a Minnesota newspaper that not only notifies the defendants about the court action, it mentions the land that is at the heart of the case.

legal notice for Elizabeth Field, Duluth News-Tribune newspaper article 11 January 1910

Duluth News-Tribune (Duluth, Minnesota), 11 January 1910, page 11

Let’s face it, even our ancestors had money troubles – and that’s nowhere more obvious than in the Notice of Summons for delinquent taxes. This example from a North Carolina newspaper published during the Great Depression is an entire page of delinquent tax notices, and includes the names of married couples as well as individuals.

legal notices, Greensboro Record newspaper article 22 August 1932

Greensboro Record (Greensboro, North Carolina), 22 August 1932, page 12

Divorces can be found in various parts of the newspaper (see Divorce Records in Newspapers: Genealogy Research Tips) including the legal notices section. In this example from an Oregon newspaper, Loretta Gates believed her husband John W. Gates to be dead, so a notice was published in the newspaper giving him the opportunity, if alive, to respond to her divorce petition. It states:

SIR: PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a petition has been presented to this court by Loretta Gates for dissolution of your marriage on the ground that you absented yourself for five successive years, last past, without being known to her to be living, and she believes you to be dead, and that pursuant to an order of said court, entered the 22d day of December 1949, a hearing will be had upon said petition at Supreme Court…

legal notice for Loretta Gates, Oregonian newspaper article 12 February 1950

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 12 February 1950, page 39

This notice ran in the newspaper for at least three consecutive Sundays, providing ample time for a living Mr. Gates to read it.

Enter Last Name


Government notices in the newspaper may provide you a better understanding of an event, or even an occupation, that affected your ancestor. In this legal notice from a Mississippi newspaper, the city of Gulfport in 1936 was taking bids from those who wanted to feed prisoners.

legal notice, Daily Herald newspaper article 31 December 1936

Daily Herald (Biloxi, Mississippi), 31 December 1936, page 3

It’s important to remember that newspaper articles may report on activities that impacted your ancestor’s life, but they won’t be specifically named. Search the census and city directories for your ancestor’s job and then turn to the newspaper to learn more about how they may have acquired that job.

And Then This…

I have to admit that when I think of legal notices, I think of a certain type of notice such as those I’ve highlighted above. But you never know what you might find, including this one from a San Quentin prisoner published in a California newspaper.

legal notice for Charles Cupp, San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article 9 January 1927

San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California), 9 January 1927, page 73

This pardon notice for Charles S. Cupp surprised me – though I guess it shouldn’t have. His seeking a pardon would have been of interest to the community, and its publishing provided the community – and the victim of his crime – with notification so that they could then respond. Cupp had been convicted of shooting at a police officer.

Did You Know?

GenealogyBank has a special category for legal records, probate records and court case files. Explore legal records now >>

Genealogy Tip: Don’t limit your newspaper search to just one type of article. Make sure to examine all kinds of newspaper articles, including legal notices that mention your ancestor by name or involved activities that impacted their lives.


* “Public notice and the role Oregon newspapers play.” Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Accessed 3 May 2015.
** “Newspapers” by Loretto Dennis Szucs, FUGA, and James L. Hansen, FASG in Szucs, Loretto D, and Sandra H. Luebking. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2006.

Related Legal Notices Articles:

Georgia Archives: 141 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

The last of the original Thirteen Colonies and named after Great Britain’s King George II, Georgia was established in 1732. Its most populous city is Atlanta, the state capital. Georgia is the nation’s 24th largest state, and the 8th most populous.

photo of the Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta, Georgia

Photo: Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta, Georgia. The dome is covered with gold leaf mined from the north Georgia city of Dahlonega. Credit: J. Glover (AUtiger); Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Georgia, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online GA newspaper archives: 141 titles to help you search your family history in the “Peach State,” providing coverage from 1763 to Today. There are more than 69 million articles and records in our online Georgia archives!

Dig deep into our archives and search for historical and recent obituaries and other news articles about your Georgia ancestors in these GA newspapers online. Our Georgia newspapers are divided into two collections: Historical Newspapers (complete paper) and Recent Obituaries (obituaries only).

Search Georgia Newspaper Archives (1763 – 2003)

Search Georgia Recent Obituaries (1985 – Current)

illustration of the state flag of Georgia

Illustration: state flag of Georgia. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a list of online Georgia newspapers in the archives. Each newspaper title in this list is an active link that will take you directly to that paper’s search page, where you can begin searching for your ancestors by surnames, dates, keywords and more. The GA newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Acworth Bright Side, The [Kennesaw-Acworth Edition] 6/1/2011 – 12/1/2013 Recent Obituaries
Albany Albany Herald 10/20/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Alpharetta, Roswell Revue & News 1/5/2006 – 10/14/2009 Recent Obituaries
Americus Americus Times-Recorder 6/23/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Athens Southern Banner 3/23/1833 – 1/4/1865 Newspaper Archives
Athens Athens Banner-Herald 6/10/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Atlanta Jeffersonian 6/17/1909 – 11/17/1910 Newspaper Archives
Atlanta Weekly Defiance 10/24/1882 – 2/24/1883 Newspaper Archives
Atlanta Atlanta Age 1/13/1900 – 1/13/1900 Newspaper Archives
Atlanta Atlanta Daily World 2/23/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Atlanta Emory Wheel, The: Emory University 8/25/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Atlanta Atlanta Jewish Times 4/28/2006 – 3/13/2009 Recent Obituaries
Atlanta Atlanta Journal-Constitution 1/1/1985 – Current Recent Obituaries
Atlanta Maroon Tiger, The: Morehouse College 8/25/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Augusta Augusta Chronicle 1/7/1792 – 11/30/2003 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Daily Constitutionalist 3/19/1833 – 12/31/1869 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Augusta Herald 7/17/1799 – 12/28/1815 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Southern Centinel, and Universal Gazette 11/28/1793 – 5/31/1798 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Mirror of the Times 10/31/1808 – 10/28/1811 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Weekly Constitutionalist 9/26/1860 – 1/12/1876 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Loyal Georgian 1/20/1866 – 2/15/1868 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Georgia Gazette and General Advertiser 2/5/1816 – 3/11/1816 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Colored American 12/30/1865 – 1/13/1866 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Augusta Union 1/27/1900 – 1/27/1900 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Augusta Chronicle 1/1/1994 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bainbridge Bainbridge Post-Searchlight 10/3/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Blue Ridge News Observer 3/28/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Canton Cherokee Tribune 11/21/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carrollton Times-Georgian 5/8/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cartersville Bartow Neighbor 12/30/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cartersville Daily Tribune News 8/11/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chatsworth Chatsworth Times 11/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clayton Clayton Tribune 11/21/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cleveland White County News 7/19/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbus Columbus Daily Enquirer 9/24/1858 – 12/13/1945 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Columbus Ledger 1/3/1903 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Columbus Daily Sun 9/1/1865 – 2/28/1873 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Columbus Tri-Weekly Enquirer 11/27/1855 – 9/21/1858 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Sunday Herald 10/17/1897 – 5/12/1900 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Columbus Weekly Enquirer 1/3/1887 – 5/6/1899 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Columbus Weekly Ledger 5/21/1903 – 6/4/1903 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Columbus Chronicle 1/27/1900 – 1/27/1900 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 6/8/1993 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer: Blogs 8/3/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Conyers Rockdale Citizen 2/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cordele Cordele Dispatch 12/16/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cornelia Northeast Georgian 4/12/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Covington Newton Citizen 11/16/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cumming Forsyth County News 2/16/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cumming Forsyth Herald 3/23/2006 – 11/30/2009 Recent Obituaries
Dahlonega Dahlonega Nugget 1/4/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dallas Paulding County Sentinel 7/8/2009 – 4/9/2010 Recent Obituaries
Dalton Daily Citizen 9/29/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Darien Darien Gazette 1/4/1819 – 9/2/1828 Newspaper Archives
Dawsonville Dawson News & Advertiser 6/5/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Decatur 11/6/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Decatur DeKalb Neighbor 4/22/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Douglasville Douglas County Sentinel 5/21/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Douglasville Douglas Neighbor 3/2/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Duluth Johns Creek Herald 1/5/2006 – 12/10/2009 Recent Obituaries
Dunwoody Dunwoody Crier 3/3/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elberton Elberton Star & Examiner 8/2/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fayetteville Today in Peachtree City 5/2/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fayetteville Fayette Chronicle 8/25/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fayetteville Fayette County News 12/2/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Griffin Daily Chattanooga Rebel 6/9/1864 – 9/17/1864 Newspaper Archives
Griffin Griffin Daily News 5/17/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hartwell Hartwell Sun 7/7/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jackson Jackson Progress-Argus 10/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jasper Pickens County Progress 10/7/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jesup Press-Sentinel 9/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jonesboro Clayton News Daily 10/10/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
LaGrange LaGrange Daily News 1/1/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake Lanier Lakeside on Lanier 8/1/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lavonia Franklin County Citizen 8/2/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lawrenceville Gwinnett Daily Post 3/16/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Loganville Loganville Tribune 7/25/2007 – 10/21/2009 Recent Obituaries
Louisville Louisville Gazette 5/12/1802 – 3/2/1811 Newspaper Archives
Louisville Louisville Courier 8/21/1811 – 10/30/1811 Newspaper Archives
Louisville American Standard 5/14/1812 – 5/14/1812 Newspaper Archives
Macon Macon Telegraph 2/1/1860 – 12/31/1945 Newspaper Archives
Macon Macon Weekly Telegraph 11/1/1826 – 6/30/1909 Newspaper Archives
Macon Georgia Messenger 1/4/1825 – 8/28/1845 Newspaper Archives
Macon Macon Sentinel 1/27/1900 – 1/27/1900 Newspaper Archives
Macon Macon Daily Herald 5/8/1865 – 5/8/1865 Newspaper Archives
Macon Macon Telegraph 8/18/1994 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marietta Marietta Journal 9/18/1868 – 10/31/1998 Newspaper Archives
Marietta Cobb County Times 10/5/1916 – 3/26/1925 Newspaper Archives
Marietta Chattanooga Daily Rebel 2/23/1864 – 4/22/1864 Newspaper Archives
Marietta Marietta Daily Journal 12/7/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
McDonough Henry Daily Herald 10/10/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Milledgeville Georgia Journal 12/12/1809 – 9/22/1835 Newspaper Archives
Milledgeville Southern Recorder 2/13/1821 – 3/21/1865 Newspaper Archives
Milledgeville Reflector 11/12/1817 – 2/2/1819 Newspaper Archives
Milledgeville Georgia Argus 7/5/1808 – 2/14/1816 Newspaper Archives
Milledgeville Milledgeville Republican 3/20/1816 – 3/27/1816 Newspaper Archives
Milledgeville Union-Recorder 10/24/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Monroe Walton Tribune 1/1/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Moultrie Moultrie Observer 7/5/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mt. Zion Missionary 1/28/1820 – 5/16/1825 Newspaper Archives
Newnan Newnan Times-Herald 10/12/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Peachtree Corners Weekly 6/5/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Richmond Hill Bryan County Now 3/22/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sandy Springs Sandy Springs Neighbor 10/27/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah Columbian Museum 3/22/1796 – 10/3/1822 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Savannah Tribune 12/4/1875 – 12/28/1922 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Georgian 1/4/1819 – 1/1/1833 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Savannah Republican 3/21/1807 – 12/31/1851 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Savannah Daily Advertiser 12/8/1868 – 4/23/1875 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Georgia Gazette 4/7/1763 – 11/25/1802 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Public Intelligencer 4/18/1807 – 10/18/1808 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Royal Georgia Gazette 8/12/1779 – 12/27/1781 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Southern Patriot 7/26/1805 – 3/24/1806 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Georgia Republican and State Intelligencer 9/4/1802 – 10/22/1805 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Savannah Wholesale Prices Current 3/18/1819 – 5/18/1820 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Savannah Weekly Echo 8/26/1883 – 2/10/1884 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Georgia Journal and Independent Federal Register 12/25/1793 – 1/1/1794 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Gazette of the State of Georgia 2/13/1783 – 2/13/1783 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Savannah Tribune 8/13/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah West Chatham Neighbor 4/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah Coastal Senior 6/1/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah Business in Savannah 3/31/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah Coastal Antiques and Art 7/1/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah Savannah Morning News 7/1/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah Closeup 11/11/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Senoia East Coweta Journal 11/11/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sparta Farmer’s Gazette 6/17/1803 – 8/8/1807 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Effingham Now 10/26/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Mary’s Tribune & Georgian 11/3/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Thomaston Thomaston Times 10/9/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Thomasville Thomasville Times-Enterprise 11/14/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Thomson Jeffersonian 12/1/1910 – 10/8/1914 Newspaper Archives
Tifton Tifton Gazette 7/25/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Toccoa Toccoa Record 6/24/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Valdosta Valdosta Daily Times 9/5/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Washington Monitor 10/7/1800 – 8/6/1814 Newspaper Archives
Washington News 2/23/1816 – 4/9/1819 Newspaper Archives
Waycross Waycross Journal-Herald 8/25/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Point West Point Times-News 10/6/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Winder Barrow County News 2/3/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Woodstock Cherokee Ledger-News 8/18/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries

*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

You can either print or create a PDF version of this Blog post by simply clicking on the green “Print/PDF” button below. The PDF version makes it easy to save this post onto your desktop or portable device for quick reference—all the Georgia newspaper links will be live.

Related Articles:

Curious & Funny Epitaphs of Famous People & the Not-So-Famous

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary presents some of the hilarious or unusual—and, in some cases, quite touching—epitaphs she has discovered.

Are you an expert on some of the more famous epitaphs found on tombstones?

To see if you are, take this handy Famous People’s Tombstone Epitaphs quiz—which you are welcome to share with your genealogy-loving and cemetery-sleuthing friends—and then check your answers below.

a quiz of epitaphs found on famous people's tombstones

Authors of Their Own Epitaphs

If you want to be certain you’ll be remembered in a unique way, then write your own epitaph. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) did it, so why not you? Besides, it’s a great way to make sure you get in the last words you want!

Thomas Jefferson’s Epitaph

Of the two, Thomas Jefferson’s epitaph is the more serious. Prior to his death on 4 July 1826, he wrote:

“Here lies Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, and of the Statutes establishing religious toleration in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Thomas Jefferson's epitaph, Macon Weekly Telegraph newspaper article 2 January 1855

Macon Weekly Telegraph (Macon, Georgia), 2 January 1855, page 2

Benjamin Franklin’s Epitaph

I prefer Dr. Franklin’s epitaph; he humorously described himself as “food for worms” prior to his passing on 17 April 1790.

Benjamin Franklin's epitaph, Massachusetts Centinel newspaper article 5 May 1790

Massachusetts Centinel (Boston, Massachusetts), 5 May 1790, page 58

William Shakespeare’s Epitaph

Another famous historical figure who wrote his own epitaph was William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Shakespeare’s tombstone inscription, which has been widely debated, suggests that a visitor might be cursed if he moved Shakespeare’s bones. One theory is that Shakespeare wished to scare away grave robbers; another is that as cemeteries filled, he wished to deter the custom of moving existing interments to make room for others. (See his grave from Holy Trinity Churchyard in Stratford-upon-Avon, England at

Shakespeare wrote:

“Good friends, for Jesus’ sake, forbear
To dig the dirt inclosed here.
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
But curst be he that moves my bones.”

William Shakespeare's epitaph, Providence Gazette newspaper article 23-30 December 1769

Providence Gazette (Providence, Rhode Island), 23-30 December 1769, page 2

Sam Houston’s Epitaph

Then there is that famous Texan, Sam Houston (1793-1863). As a senator from Texas, he delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate defending the Compromise of 1850. Worried that slavery would split the Union, he declared: “I wish, if this Union must be dissolved, that its ruins may be the monuments of my grave, and the graves of my family. I wish no epitaph to be written to tell that I survived the ruin of this glorious Union.”

He died in the middle of the Civil War, and no epitaph was written for him. However, his gravesite memorial features a quote by Andrew Jackson: “The world will take care of Houston’s fame.”

a photo of Sam Houston’s gravesite memorial in Huntsville, Texas

Photo: Sam Houston’s gravesite memorial in Huntsville, Texas. Credit: Wikipedia.

Curious & Memorable Epitaphs of the Famous and Not-So-Famous

Some epitaphs are noteworthy because they were written for famous people—and others are memorable for their uniqueness. While researching this topic, I discovered that many epitaphs are simply urban legends and don’t exist in reality—but the epitaph examples below are real. Just follow the links to check the inscriptions with photographs of the tombstones at

Lucille Ball’s Epitaph

“You’ve Come Home”

(Lake View Cemetery, Jamestown, New York:

Deborah Marie Bennett’s Epitaph

“Life is short,
Eat dessert first”

(Mount Hope Cemetery, Pescadero, California:

Jonathan Blake’s Epitaph

“Here lies the body of
Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake”

(Uniontown Cemetery, Uniontown, Pennsylvania:

Mel Blanc’s Epitaph

“That’s All Folks”

(Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California:

Rodney Dangerfield’s Epitaph

“There Goes the Neighborhood”

(Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California:

Marguerite Dewey Daniels’s Epitaph

“She always said her
Feet were killing her,
But no one believed her.”

(Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia:

Bette Davis’s Epitaph

“She Did It the Hard Way”

(Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California:

Jack Dempsey’s Epitaph

“Heavyweight Champion of the World
A gentle man and a gentleman”

(Southampton Cemetery, Southampton, New York:

Murphy A. Dreher Jr.’s Epitaph

“This ain’t bad
Once you get used to it.”

(Star Hill Cemetery, Saint Francisville, Louisiana:

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Epitaph

“So we beat our boats against
The current, borne back
Ceaselessly into the past”
The Great Gatsby

(Old Saint Mary’s Catholic Church Cemetery, Rockville, Maryland:

Robert Frost’s Epitaph

“I Had a Lover’s Quarrel with the World”

(Old Bennington Cemetery, Bennington, Vermont:

Sal Giardino’s Epitaph

“World’s Greatest Electrician”

[This tombstone looks like a light bulb.]
(Laurel Grove Memorial Park, Totowa, New Jersey:

Merv Griffin’s Epitaph

“I will not be right back
After this message”

(Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California:

Joan Hackett’s Epitaph

“Go Away—I’m Asleep”

(Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California:

William H. Hahn Jr.’s Epitaph

“I Told You I Was Sick”

(Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, New Jersey:

Rita Hayworth’s Epitaph

“To yesterday’s companionship
And tomorrow’s reunion”

(Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California:

Coretta Scott King’s Epitaph

“And now abide faith, hope,
Love, these three; but the
Greatest of these is love.”
I Cor. 13:13

(Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, Atlanta, Georgia:

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Epitaph

“Free at last, free at last,
Thank God Almighty
I’m free at last.”

(Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, Atlanta, Georgia:

Harvey Korman’s Epitaph

“You’re Born, You Suffer, and You Die”

(Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica, California:

Jack Lemmon’s Epitaph

“Jack Lemmon in”

(Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California:

Paul G. Lind’s Epitaph


[This tombstone looks like a scrabble board.]
(Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery, Portland, Oregon:

Sylvester B. McCracken’s Epitaph

“School is out
Teacher has gone home”

(Grace Lawn Cemetery, Elkhart, Indiana:

Lester Moore’s Epitaph

“Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a .44
No les [sic], no more”

(Boothill Graveyard, Tombstone, Arizona:

Leslie Nielsen’s Epitaph

“Let ’Er Rip”

[And on the bench:]
“Sit Down Whenever You Can”

(Evergreen Cemetery, Fort Lauderdale, Florida:

Dr. William P. Rothwell’s Epitaph

“This Is on Me”

(Oak Grove Cemetery, Pawtucket, Rhode Island:

Billy Wilder’s Epitaph

“I’m a writer
But then
Nobody’s perfect”

(Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California:

Here is a collage of some more curious epitaphs, all found in historical newspapers.

a collage of epitaphs found in historical newspapers

If you know of some curious or funny epitaphs from cemeteries near you, please share them with us in the comments!