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ProQuest Obituaries: Searching

A guide to all aspects of ProQuest Obituaries including content, searching, and viewing results.

Search Tips

Understanding the Search Fields
The Search Obituaries page provides these fields: Name, Date Range, Publication, and Keywords.

If you enter terms in more than one field, only results that match all of your terms in all of the fields will be returned.

Search Types
The Name and Keywords fields support the following search types: Simple, Exact Phrase, Boolean, and Wild Card.

Simple
The easiest way to search is to enter one or more search terms separated by spaces.

Name Examples:
Smith
John Smith
Smith John
OLeary

Keyword Examples:
sewing machine
St Louis

Exact Phrase
To search for an exact phrase, enclose the search terms in "double quotes."

Examples:
"John Smith"
"opera composer"

Boolean
Create more complex search queries by connecting your search terms with one or more of the following Boolean operators:

  • AND
  • OR
  • AND NOT

You can use parentheses to group your terms.

Examples:
John AND NOT Smith
Paris AND (Ohio OR Texas)

Wild Card
Wild card characters allow you to find matches when you are unsure of the exact spelling. Two wild card characters are available:

  • Question mark (?) — The question mark serves as a placeholder for any single letter or number.
    Example: Eli?abeth Smith
  • Asterisk (*) — The asterisk serves as a placeholder for zero or more letters and numbers.
    Example: Sam*

Note: You cannot use a wild card as the first character in a search term.

Name
The Name field searches given names (first name) and surnames (last names). You can format your search query as a single or multiple name search (first and last). Please note, you do not need to enter punctuation characters such as periods, apostrophes, or dashes. Refer to the Search Types section above for details on entering search terms.

Additionally, you can limit your search of the Name field by using the buttons shown below the entry box.

  • Name of the deceased: Select this option to restrict your Name search to the names of the dead only. Other names that appear in the obituary text will not be included in your results.
  • Any name appearing within an obituary: Select this option to broaden your Name search to cover not just the names of the dead, but also other names that appear in obituaries and death notices, such as husbands, wives, and children.

Date Range
You can limit your search to articles from a specific date range by selecting an option from this drop-down menu. The default search selection is "All Dates," which will search all available obituaries. Other options include Between, Before, On, and On or After a specified date.

Note: When specifying a specific date or dates, you must use the month/day/year format, entered as mm/dd/yyyy (i.e., 04/17/1900).

Publication
You can limit your search to obituaries from a specific newspaper by selecting an option from this drop-down menu. The default search selection is "All," which will search all available newspapers.

Keywords
The Keywords field searches the text of the obituary articles. For example, you might enter the names of surviving relatives, an occupation, hobby, geographic location, etc.

Please note, you do not need to enter punctuation characters such as periods, apostrophes, or dashes. Refer to the Search Types section above for details on entering search terms.

Run Your Search
When you have entered all your search criteria, click the Search button to view your Search Results.