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Finding and using historical issues of The Dallas Morning News online

So you want to locate an obituary of your grandmother's great uncle. Or the family stories you used to hear about your great grandfather dying in a robbery in downtown Dallas have peaked your curiosity. You could go down to the county courthouse and pay for a copy of a death certificate that will give you a few details. Or you could visit your local public library or, better yet, a college or university library, and use their amazing online database resources.

The Dallas Morning News for the years 1885-1984 is available in an indexed and searchable online database, published by Readex, a division of NewBank, Inc. The database will allow you to search any string of text or keywords to pin down a date or date range to narrow your search for proof in print. Additional parameters can be added, such as the type of article, which in this case are termed "death notices" rather than obituaries. If your family owned a store or ran a business, you may find that they advertised in the Dallas Morning News.

If you're digging into genealogy, you already may know the value of an obituary, as it reveals the names of family members beyond the deceased, married names of female relatives, and where surviving family members were living at the time of the your relative's death. Such information can do wonders in furthering a genealogical quest.

You should be able to check ahead of time whether the library you plan on visiting provides to the database you need. Viewing a library's online catalog usually does not require signing in if you are not a resident or a student. Parking may not be free, but using materials in person usually is. If your relatives lived elsewhere in the DFW Metroplex, you should be aware that respective city libraries usually have historical newspapers on microfilm for that particular city or town. Another online resource for historical newspapers is the Library of Congress historical newspaper collection, and it is an ongoing project.

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