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Ancestors in the ‘Big Easy’

After the massive destruction the city of New Orleans, Louisiana (the Big Easy) suffered in 2005 due to a hurricane, it is encouraging to see the New Orleans Public Library has an excellent biography and obituary index available on their web site. It has death notices and obituaries from various newspapers covering from 1804 to 1972. It alphabetical card file consists of more than 650,000 names. The biographies of Louisianans who were published before 1960 is also included.

The site’s search box is easy to use.  A full name or just the surname can be placed in the search. This being an index and not a full print of the obituary the information provided is the death date (month-day and year), the person’s age (sometimes that is not available), whether they were male or female and the names and published dates of any newspaper obituaries on that person.  An example of just using a surname, the Barlow name produced about 60 names over a span of time. There is also a search just by alphabetic letters.

The obituaries come from 39 different newspapers that have served New Orleans. There are some issues missing, so not all obituaries will be indexed. The one paper nearly complete is the Daily-Times Picayune.  For additional dates of obituaries the Jefferson Parish Library offers an online site with indexed listings covering fro 1972 to 1978.  These are also from the Daily-Times Picayune newspapers.

The web site provides a form for ordering photocopies of any of the obituaries and for any available biographies.  There is a fee charged of $2.00 per obituary or biographical reference. Check this source, see if you might have any ancestors who died in or around New Orleans during the 19th and most of the 20th century.

The photo above is of the St. Roch Chapel and Cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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