A person's death is one of the easiest events you can document. It is sometimes so easy that we do not look for more than one resource. Being more thorough may lead you to discovering more about your ancestor.
If you have accepted one record at face value, go back and identify more possibilities that may exist. The following may be some of the rewards awaiting you:
ñ discovering contradictions exist to information we have already gleaned
ñ finding names of extended family members or parents of an ancestor
ñ discovering a place of birth, location of homestead, or family cemetery
The following resources may be useful when researching ancestors who died in Georgia:
1. U. S. Social Security Death Index: If you find your ancestor listed in the U. S. Social Security Death Index, order the original application. This may provide helpful clues to:
ñ Ancestor's full name
ñ A female ancestor's maiden name and name of husband
ñ Age, date of birth, and birth place of an ancestor
ñ Parents of your ancestor (full names), Ancestor's occupation
See “Using Social Security Application forms for Genealogy” to learn more.
2. Funeral Programs: Many African Americans collect funeral programs. Funeral programs are very common in the family because they were a substitute for newspaper obituaries during a time when these announcements were not included for African Americans. Find out who has a funeral program collection in your family.
3. Family Cemetery: Visit the family cemetery to see who may be buried alongside your ancestor. Even if you have done this once, after you have become familiar with family groups on census records, you may find out you overlooked someone the first time. After extensive census research, I was able to recognize most of the names and connections between people buried in an old church cemetery.
4. Find A Grave: Study the cemeteries and memorials listed in the county where your ancestor lived in Georgia. This is a great way to learn the names of cemeteries and those interred. Perhaps a memorial would provide clues. Take the time to contribute your ancestor's biography to this database. You never know who may find you and connect.
5. Georgia Deaths: (1915-1927) and (1928-1930) These free collections at FamilySearch will link to the actual death certificate.
6. Georgia Deaths (1919-1998): This Ancestry database is an index. Order the death certificates from the Georgia Department of Public Health.
7. Funeral Homes: Use the death certificate to identify the funeral home that took care of your ancestor. Contact the funeral home to find more clues about your ancestor's family, insurance, and finances.
8. County Library Obituary Indexes: Newspaper obituaries may reveal information about your ancestor. Obituaries from historic newspapers sometimes reveal more information than you would expect. Contact the county library to see if your ancestor is listed in a newspaper obituary index. For example, the Savannah Morning News Obituary Index (1913-1926 & 1987-1996) is available through Live Oak Public Library.