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Of all the funeral cards, that circulate out there, I wonder how many ever find their way back to the families of origin. A simple funeral card is the summation of a life lived.
Enjoy the discovery process.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Funeral Memorial Card Collectors

Last week, I received an interesting email from Mary Ellen. Her enthusiasm was apparent. She had stumbled across a couple of funeral cards from the early 20th century from the collection of Mark and Beth Waller that had been placed online. Much to her delight, the funeral cards images, she had discovered were those of her great great-grandparents. That discovery sparked a new interest in trying to locate the Wallers and other funeral card collectors that may have additional familial cards.
Her question posed to me, one that I have also pondered, "Is there some sort of Funeral-Memorial Card Collector's club?" Since, I am a novice — my response to her was rather lame.  My experience, thus far, has been to purchase funeral cards through Ebay.  Many of the sellers are antique dealers. The anonymity of Ebay buyer of cards makes for a difficult trail to follow.  Currently, I am unaware of an official association of card collectors.
If you, as a reader to this post, are a funeral card collector with an interest to collaborate with the genealogy driven, please let me know. Most often, genealogists are pleased with a quality image of a funeral card of their family member. Plus, collectors, you are holding a document that is precious to a family historian. It would be great to learn of a clearinghouse where collectors and genealogists could converge.
Oh, by the way, if you know Mark and Beth Waller — tell them Mary Ellen is hoping to make contact with them.

13 comments:

ToddHouse said...

I find these cards now and then and have had mixed success in researching the genealogy behind them. Many of them have only the date of death, and some of the cards for women are shown as Mrs. so and so. I think I'd have better luck searching someone if the only piece of info I had was their date of birth, folks in the 1800s anyway. Glad that it worked out for your friend.

geniebug said...

Hi Dee.....I haven't given a good effort to collecting unrelated funeral cards, but are you saying that a clearinghouse of sorts would be a place to share ones belonging to our family, and thus connect to extended family? I think that is a terrific idea!! Please let me know if you decide to form this group of collectors.

Dee said...

It would be helpful to have a message board or some type of forum where individuals that have funeral/memorial cards could share the images with family historians. I need to figure out the best method to use online. Any suggestions?

Lela said...

We've been talking about using a wiki for collaboration projects. This sounds like it would be a good project for a wiki.

Dee said...

Lela,
I would like to learn more about your suggestion of using wiki. I have several cards that I would like to match to family historians. May I participate with your group?

LDPlegge said...

Several years ago, I launched a funeral card collection project through my genealogical society, the St. Clair County Genealogical Society. Our focus is on cards from St. Clair County, IL, but I have also started collecting other IL and KY cards (mostly via internet images) in the course of my personal genealogy research. For both purposes, I'd love to see some sort of clearinghouse for these. Here's the link to the SCCGS project: http://www.stclair-ilgs.org/deathcard.htm

~Tracie~ said...

Hi dee
I found this Site today when searching for some Used books and noticed they had a site set up for funeral/memorial cards. Not sure if this is what you were thinking but thought I would pass it along for you to see. http://www.ukgenealogy.co.uk/in-memoriam.htm

Dee said...

Lisa,
Wow! The SCCGS collection is substantial. With today's web technology, there has to be a better way to organize this specific branch of genealogy. For now, I am going to link you to the FC&G blog. Thank you for responding.

Dee said...

Tracie ~ In Memoriam Cards-UK is a good site. I particularly like the way they incorporated the UK Ebay section for cards that are available to purchase presently. A well-designed clearinghouse should have an easy way for the public to upload their photos and provide a unified type of description. I am thinking Find-a-grave has a good system. Wish I were more tech savvy. Thank you for responding.

Linda said...

not a collector but as a genealogist, I like the idea of being able to perhaps connect with distant kin or their friends through funeral cards

LDPlegge said...

I'm with Linda, I'm as happy to get a scanned image of the card as the actual card and wish more people would think to preserve and share these digitally. It's a great way to make family connections too. There are surprisingly few collections online: Allen County, IN: Knox County, KY; Clinton County, IL and Monroe Co, IL are the only collections of any size that I've come across besides my St. Clair County one. There are also a lot of cards in the Public Member Photos and Scanned Documents database on Ancestry.com. There's a nice setup there for leaving comments and/or asking questions of the posters.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for ways, as a genealogist, to display this funeral cards. Any suggestions?

Dee said...

Hello Anonymous ~ Please send your funeral card images to deewelborn@gmail.com. I will be happy to post to Funeral Cards & Genealogy. If you would like to share information, I can write it up for you. Thanks.