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Where can I locate an obituary for Bert Newton Long who died July 11, 1935 in Houston, Texas?

His grandchild gave me his name, and only knew he died there. All other known relatives know nothing. I found the date on FamilySearch.org.

I have used the search engines (google, dogpile, mama, go-duck-go, etc.) and find nothing. There is no known family Bible, and no documents of any kind are known to exist. There is only a family legend that he died suddenly in an unknown manner of an unknown cause at around 49 years old. He might have been living alone.

Free web sites to find obituaries are preferred.


Here is his death certificate from the collection Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976 on FamilySearch.org.

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    Could you include some information about where you have searched so far? Even if all you can do is say "I tried this list of sites but the obituaries are behind paywalls", it is still better than no information at all. I'd also like to know the source of your information -- is a death certificate, a family Bible, an oral interview? What is the nature of your source? If you can improve the question sufficiently, I will remove my downvote. – Jan Murphy Jul 13 '15 at 22:10
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    I added details that no other details are known. I added search work done. – savta Jul 25 '15 at 18:11
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    @savta I added the link to his death certificate to your question, which states the cause of death as "probably heart failure", and age as "about 50". familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GB9H-31VB – Harry Vervet Jul 25 '15 at 22:58
  • I have edited your question because it did not make sense to say there was no known death certificate after the death certificate had been linked into the question. Also, you do not need to have the person's name in the question title if you repeat it immediately in the first lines of the message. Please confirm that the death certificate which was linked in is indeed the correct person, and explain how you "found the date on FamilySearch" without finding the death certificate. – Jan Murphy Jul 26 '15 at 3:48
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Many people will search for records by name first, and will find obituaries using

  • newspaper subscription sites
  • genealogy databases, like Ancestry & FamilySearch, which have obituary indexes, and may link to the to actual text
  • Find-a-Grave and online family trees, where someone has attached the obituary

But that's a minority of what's available.

Let's break down your question into three parts:

  1. Where do I find an obituary? Obituaries were intended to be published in a newspaper to let people know about a death. Nowadays, newspapers can be print or online. A new phenomenom is the publishing of obituaries on funeral home websites, in addition to or instead of a newspaper, but access may be limited to recent services.

  2. What is the relevant newspaper? You need to know what papers were being published where and when the person died AND where he might have had relatives AND where he lived a long time. Obituaries were often published in more than 1 newspaper, depending on interest and cost. It may have taken a couple of weeks before some of those papers published the obituary. (And sometimes you'll find anniversary memorials published in following years!) Check Wikipedia entries for the city or Google the city name and the word newspaper to find newpaper titles to focus on.

  3. Where do I access those relevant newspapers?

    • Check free image-based newspaper collections like Chronicling America, GoogleNewsArchives and Fulton History
    • Check the lists or catalogues of available papers at on-line subscription services (ancestry, Newpapers.com, NewspaperArchive, GenealogyBank to see if any of the papers in the right time-frame are available. Many allow search without a subscription so you can determine whether there is content of interest, or you can wait for a free-access or trial period
    • Check the newspaper's website - current issues are generally free for vewing but access to archives, if on-line, is usually behind a pay-wall
    • Check collections by genealogical societies or websites like Rootsweb and GenWeb - on-line search may be limited to indexes and full texts are behind pay-walls or have to be requested
    • Check the catalogues of local or regional repositories and libraries for microfilmed newspapers - if you can visit, your hand-written transcript may be free, but usually there is a charge for image prints or downloads to a flash drive. Some repositories have research or look-up services. Some may have the original paper copy archived, but access to those may be restricted.

Bert Newton Long's 1935 Texas death may not have an obituary, as pointed out in PolyGeo's comment. Houston may be the first place to focus on, but not necessarily the only one.

You would know better that I what other locations were of importance to Bert Long's family. Houston definitely (eg. Houston Chronicle, Houston Public Library has the newspaper on microfilm from 1880–1995): even though Bert Newton Long was divorced per the death cert, Bert Beamon Long (his son?) was the informant and resident in Houston. Other newspaper locations to check -- Hillsboro, Texas (Bert's birthplace per the death certificate) and nearby towns, especially if there were many kin in the area.

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  • Thanks, bgwiehle! This is very helpful, and I will use your suggestions. Other than Houston, what other place could I search? – savta Jul 25 '15 at 18:13
  • @savita Typically obituaries might be published in newspapers in other cities where surviving family members of the deceased person lived. – Jan Murphy Jul 26 '15 at 3:37
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Given that

There is only a family legend that he died suddenly in an unknown manner of [probably heart failure] at around 49 [or 50] years old.

I think that the difficulty you are having locating an obituary suggests that one may not have been written for Bert Newton Long who died July 11, 1935 in Houston, Texas, USA.

I recommend seeking the information you hoped to find in an obituary using alternative techniques like those in @bgwiehle's answer.

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