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Funeral notices in the days before obits

I recently started organizing the photos on my iPhone because there are a lot of them. In fact, there are so many that I don’t want to admit how many there are (11,131 but don’t judge me). The good news is I now have a genealogy folder, which makes it easier for me to post the photos I’ve taken of records and other documents.

The image above is a photo I snapped of a funeral notice. These used to be posted in shop windows in the closest shopping town (where you’d go to pick up groceries, etc.) when someone died. They were the 1800s’ version of an obituary or an online death announcement.

As you can see, the one above is in French. This was very common for south Louisiana. My grandmother was fluent in Cajun French. It was her only language until she went to school and learned English.

I read just enough French to know the notice tells when Mrs. Hubert Aucoin died and when her funeral will be. Helpfully, the notice also tells us how old she was when she died at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Thankfully, some people held onto these fragile pieces of paper and saved them. Even more thankfully, some of these notices ended up in libraries.

There are two bound collections of death notices for parts of south Louisiana:

  1. “Death notices, 1867-1954, Assumption Parish” by Audrey Westerman.

2. “Death notices, 1859-1961, Thibodaux and vicinity.”

You can find these in some Louisiana libraries. Nicholls University also has a few collections containing death notices: https://nichollsarchives.libraryhost.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&op%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=death+notices&limit=&field%5B%5D=&from_year%5B%5D=&to_year%5B%5D=&commit=Search

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