I am looking for the death details of a grandmother for a child in care. I have:

  • the first and married name of the deceased

  • the name of her surviving husband

  • the approximate year of death (2009 - 2010)

  • the region of death (Illawarra NSW)

I do not know:

  • the town she died in

  • if she was cremated or buried.

It is not possible to obtain further details from relatives or friends.

I have searched any possible cemetery sites within the region, but there are not many indexed. I have not been able to find any Obituary or Funeral notice online in the local newspapers.

  • 2
    You need to add details about time period and which country / state /province we're talking about as the answer varies depending on those answers.
    – AdrianB38
    Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 12:12
  • 1
    Now we have the correct body, we also need a time and place. The answer to your question ("How do I find ...") depends very much upon where and when the event occurred. The more information you can give, the better the chances of someone being able to help.
    – Fortiter
    Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 12:15
  • 1
    You also mention "no online record exists" - what online records did you use?
    – Jeni
    Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 12:47
  • 3
    Readers should note than (in some parts of Australia) it would break the law to identify publicly "a child in care". That offence is defined broadly to include naming certain family members. Do not expect William to offer any more precise information.
    – Fortiter
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 5:05

2 Answers 2


If there was a newspaper notice of the death, it was probably in the Illawarra Mercury (incidentally, one of Australia's oldest newspapers). The site only displays classified notices from the last week but a Google search {site:illawarramercury.com.au archive 2010} generates plenty of hits indicating an extensive back catalogue. Unfortunately, they all lead to 404 (Page not found) apparently as a result of building a "new" website.

The Ryerson Index_ is a community-generated index to death notices appearing in current Australian newspapers. It also includes some funeral notices, probate notices and obituaries. The website allows you to check the extent of coverage of each newspaper. Although the Mercury is incorrectly placed in some alphabetic lists as WOLLONGONG ILLAWARRA MERCURY, the coverage is excellent.

Death Notices..... From January 1st, 1997 to November 10th, 2012 (40999)
Funeral Notices.. From January 1st, 1997 to November 3rd, 2012 (2197)

Use the surname and the presumed timespan to launch your search. With a little luck, you will locate a notice that refers to the deceased as "beloved sister of ..." or something similar that will open up new lines of research.

  • Thank you @Fortiter - I have used the Ryerson Index in the past without ANY success. So I had put the resource to the Don't Get Too Excited About Using pile. Lo and behold, I search it and the date for Illawarra Mercury is there.
    – William
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 6:54
  • 1
    Now I need to write to the Mercury for a copy, as Ryerson has only the index.
    – William
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 6:55

As suggested by Adrian and Fortiter, put as much information as you know in your question. Since you know the year she died, you can search online cemetery sources such as Find A Grave. Once you mention 'where' obituary sources can be recommended.

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