107 NE Monroe Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070

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I Seek Dead People

By Amber Lowery

I was once asked to describe my job in the worst way possible. My response was, “I seek dead people.”  Truly, one of the important tasks for the staff at Peoria Public Library is finding obituaries. Obituaries are a staple to genealogy research. Family historians are always hopeful for that exceptionally detailed written record of an ancestor’s family. We seek out names of parents, with hopefully a maiden name for the mother. We trace down through their children and siblings, eager for married names of lost daughters or sisters. We exclaim over the rare obituary that mentions a loved one of the deceased that time has forgotten to record thoroughly. We pout when we realize that an obituary we are seeking does not exist. That is the power of obituaries.

The Local History and Genealogy department at the Main Library does offer obituary lookup services for those who cannot come in to do the research themselves. We do ask that those wishing to use our services follow some guidelines. Requests are limited to four lookups per week, per patron.  Obituaries can be requested through our Ask A Librarian feature on our website, or through the mail. While our microfilm does cover Peoria papers back to 1837, we are not fully indexed, so we will need name of the deceased and date of death for them. We generally are able to reply with our results in two to three days. While we do not charge a fee for this service at this time, we are always happy to receive donations to the library for our efforts.  If you are local to the area, drop by the Main Library and make it a day of research. Our Local History and Genealogy staff will be available to help guide you through this fantastic collection.

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