Obits and what they offer

What there is to learn from an obit

There may be surprises

My great, great grandfather was Alfred Josiah Smith. Let’s pick apart the obit for his sister, Alice May Smith Lytle, presented in the following article.

Looking at the information regarding the pallbearers, Susan makes a good point that not all of Alice’s siblings were alive at the time of her death. I also add that there could have been siblings alive but who didn’t live nearby to act as pallbearer at her service.

The obit provides information–as Susan stated, the accuracy dependent on the person who gave the information–and it may mislead or be incomplete.

It is important to read obituaries as information to build upon, to research, and about which to always keep an open mind.

Alice might be one of the more elusive Smith siblings, as in, a couple of us have come across a bit less information about her in our searches. That being the case, it was a shock to read she’d been poisoned.

Often an obit is full of previously unknown information; yet, these “facts” can also be inaccurate. Regardless, an obit can provide a certain depth and insight into an ancestor’s life which helps you create their “story.”

Can you think of some examples of obituaries that provided new, perhaps, “surprise” information?

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