Mike Belsito, Co-Founder of Cleveland, Ohio-based eFuneral, discusses how obituaries became popular and explains the difference between obituaries and paid death notices. You can find more articles and videos related to writing an obituary, funeral planning, and death and dying in eFuneral’s resources section.
I’m Mike Belsito, Co-Founder of eFuneral.
We’re going to talk for a couple of minutes about a topic that is very popular as it relates to funeral services and funeral planning and that’s the obituary.
Now obituaries have been around for a very long time. In fact, there’s proof that obituaries have been around since the sixteenth century here in the United States. Obituaries really became popular in the eighteenth century, in Great Britain and then later in the United States as well.
What is an obituary? An obituary is an actual news article. It’s written by journalists, and it’s a biographical sketch about an individual’s life, who’s recently passed away. Often times obituaries include the deceased’s achievements and accomplishments as well as other details about their lifetime. But again, an obituary is a news story written by writers typically of that specific newspaper where the obituary’s published.
What’s the difference between an obituary and a death notice? Often times obituaries get confused with death notices. There are two types of death notices. There’s a public-facing death notice which is more of a public announcement and so it’s going to contain the very basic details about an individual in terms of where and when they were born and where and when they died and maybe details about funeral services that will take place for that individual. But the very basic details. There’s also a memorial advertisement. A memorial advertisement is more of an expanded death notice – it has the basic information but it might expand a little bit on that person’s life. But both the death notice and the memorial advertisements are things you pay for – usually through a funeral director, as many offer a service for writing these pieces and then submitting them to a newspaper. Death notices are typically published in the classified section of the newspaper.
So, death notices and memorial advertisements – you have to pay for. Obituaries, on the other hand, you don’t have to pay for. But not everybody gets an obituary. The New York Times for example only writes obituaries for famous people, dignitaries, and people of that sort. However in a smaller community, a community newspaper might absolutely write an obituary for somebody that maybe was very involved in the community but not necessarily a celebrity.
These days you don’t have to go to a printed newspaper to find these pieces. In fact, the Internet is a great place to go when you’re interested in looking for a obituaries and death notices. Two places immediately come to mind, obituaries.com and legacy.com. You can also search for obituaries on our website. Many newspapers also have websites where you can find this information.
Additionally, we offer individuals the opportunity to post tributes or memorials to their loved ones on our website. If you’re interested, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope it is helpful to hear a little bit more on what an obituary is – and isn’t for that matter. For other information as it relates to funeral planning, you’re more than welcome to check out eFunerals online resource section at efuneral.com/articles/center. You can also check out other videos at youtube.com/efuneralresources.
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