Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What Did You Find?! Wednesday Funeral Cards in the Digital Archive

Originally posted at 11:04 a.m., October 21, 2015. Updated to correct a typographical error.

What Did You Find?! Wednesday

For our last What Did You Find?! Wednesday we shared the announcement that Ancestry.com had released its Wills and Probate Records Collection. This Wednesday we want to remind you about a local resource and a certain type of record also related to a person's death.
The Digital Media Archive Homepage

Hopefully, you already know about the Suburban Library Cooperative Digital Media Archive. It's a 24/7 online archive where libraries in the cooperative are digitizing their own local history materials as well as working together on regional collections.

Did you know that included in the archive are various Funeral Card collections?

Distributed at visitations and funerals, funeral cards also called memorial cards can be a fantastic resource especially when the obituary in the newspaper is disappointingly brief or in some cases non-existent. Funeral cards vary in format but usually have an obituary which may be more detailed than what appeared in the newspaper. Sometimes the card includes a photograph of the deceased. Usually you will also find a bible verse or poem.

A Funeral Card Example from the Digital Media Archive.

The Results List
So how do you find these funeral cards in the Suburban Library Cooperative Digital Media Archive? To do a broad search, simply go to the Digital Media Archive and type in Funeral Cards. At present time, you will find 1,722 results. On the left of the results page you can filter the results by the funeral home; location like state; or even by language (English, Polish, Italian, Ukrainian).

To do a specific search use the Advanced Search. Type the surname you are seeking in the "All these words" field and then type Funeral Cards in the "Subject" field.

Results Item Details
On the results page, click on the bold dark blue name/title to bring up a pop-up window where you can see specific details about the item. You will learn a variety of things including who contributed the item, what library contributed the item and any copyright restrictions on the use of the item. (You'll need this information to properly source the item in your genealogy program.) 

Funeral cards in the Digital Media Archive originate from various sources like the Macomb County Genealogy Group's collection or a funeral home's papers. They also have been contributed by library patrons who have allowed a library to digitize their personal collections. When digitization is finished the items are returned to the patron. Look at the item's contributor field to see who holds/owns that particular funeral card.

To actually see the item, simply click on the item image box or the URL for File link or the View Asset link. Because the funeral cards are imaged as PDFs the image box is just a gray box. If the item were an image like a jpg, you would see a thumbnail of the image.

Files and images in the digital archive can be downloaded but remember to follow the copyright restrictions.

Have fun searching! There are lots of different items in the Suburban Library Cooperative Digital Media Archive so take some time to investigate this local resource.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!
LE

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