Thanks to technology and the digital age, you are now able to notify large numbers of people all over the world about a loved one’s death within a matter of minutes through an online obituary. Obituaries generally serve one purpose, whether they are posted on the Internet or published in a local newspaper. They announce the passing of a family or friend and honor the life he or she has led. You can also create other memorial tributes online, see our article on Online Funeral and Memorial Programs for more information
The Death of the Print Obituary
It’s not a surprise that the golden days of newspapers are going by the wayside. Print publications worldwide are being reduced or eliminated completely and replaced by online editions. Obituaries or death notices, which are considered by the newspaper industry as classified advertisements, have always drawn a large readership as curious readers were interested in finding out if someone they knew passed away. But as is with most newspapers today, that aspect of the industry has changed.
With the advent of the Internet came a whole new way for people to communicate, including announcing a loved one’s death. In a quick search, you can read the obituaries from those living in your hometown 1,500 miles away or just down the street. Publishing an obituary online or similar announcement online is usually instantaneous. A larger group of people can learn of your loved one’s death in a faster amount of time when it is published online instead of in a newspaper.
Finally, many funeral homes include obituary listings on their websites. This allows readers to scan a large number of local obituaries online, as opposed to buying a newspaper and searching for them there. It’s free to read them online, although, prices may vary for posting the death notices, depending on funeral home.
What to Include in an Online Obituary
Even online, obituaries take on two forms: Short and long. While they both provide pertinent information about the deceased person’s upcoming service, the longer form contains additional details.
In a short-form obituary, which online can be found on a person’s personal blog or even social networking page, you only need to include a few bits of information. Some sites even limit how much you can say or post at one time. Twitter, for example, allows only 140 characters per post. You will want to get in at least some of the following information:
- Full name
- Next of kin
- Dates of birth and death
- Funeral arrangements
In a long-form obituary, you will want to include specifics about the deceased person and burial arrangements. These obituaries can be placed on a funeral home website, personal blog, sent through an email or placed on one of several sites dedicated to online obituaries. Information should include:
• Legal name and age (including maiden, former or nicknames)
• Dates of birth and death
• Residence and hometown
• Precise burial arrangements including addresses and phone numbers. (A good maps program can link the location and provide directions)
• Surviving and deceased family members
• Religious affiliation
• Military services
• Awards and recognitions
• Hobbies and interests
For more details and information see writing an obituary and obituary samples.
Where to Post an Online Obituary
A funeral home director will typically take care of posting the obituary on his or her company’s website, as well as distributing it to the local newspaper, which if it provides the service, will publish online as well.
Once the obituary is published in a newspaper, it can be picked up by legacy.com, which works with more than 900 newspapers in posting obituaries from their publications. Once live, you can add images, guestbook comments and further information about your loved one. You can also create a tribute or memorial page. The obituary will remain on legacy.com for an unspecified amount of time It can then be found on a site such as archives.com. Fees vary.
Obituaries Free is another reputable online tribute website that allows you post limited obituary information for free, as is ObitsFor Life.com.