To find an obituary, start by identifying as much information as you can about the decedent. Finding the date and location of their death will help you figure out where to look, but you can start by checking some online sources such as:
- See if your local library has an Ancestry.com, HeritageQuest, or newspaper database subscription.
- Check Legacy.com which is used by many newspapers to publish obituaries online.
- Find burial information using Ancestry.com or a site like findagrave, or the V.A. Nationwide Gravesite Locator. The FARRIT guide to cemeteries may also help.
- Type the information you have into an Internet search engine such as Google.
- Make sure you are looking in the right place. The Newberry Library’s Atlas of Historical County Boundaries can help.
If the above sources don’t help you will need to try to find the date and location of death in order to track down newspapers, funeral homes, or libraries that may have the obituaries.
Finding a Date of Death in Idaho
- 1907-1911 June: The County Recorder’s office in the county where the person died will have the death record if it is from between 1907 and June of 1911. Look up counties in the Idaho Association of Counties Directory.
- 1907-1911 June: County death records on microfilm (Idaho State Archives)
- 1911-1937: Idaho death certificates on microfilm. (Idaho State Archives)
- Idaho State Archives’ Guide to Adoption, Birth, Death, Marriage & Divorce Information (PDF)
- 1911-1956: The Idaho State Death Index produced by the Center for Vital Statistics is available for searching on the Web courtesy BYU-Idaho’s Family History Center Resources.
- 1911 and after: The Center for Vital Statistics and Health Policy in Boise can provide a death certificate. Check the CDC guide, Where to Write for Vital Records.
- Eastern Idaho Death Records can also be searched through BYU-Idaho.
- Cemetery records can often provide dates that will help determine death dates (Idaho State Archives)
- The Social Security Death Index, hosted by Ancestry.com, supplies birth dates, death dates, and last known addresses for over 63 million deceased individuals who had Social Security numbers and whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration.
- 1865 through 1919: The Idaho State Archives owns several obituary indexes covering a wide range of dates and newspapers, including an index to obituaries that appeared in The Idaho Statesman and other selected Idaho newspapers from 1865 to 1919. None of these indexes are available online; patrons must call or go to the library.
- 1957 through 2017: Boise Public Library maintains an index to obituaries and death notices that appeared in The Idaho Statesman from 1957 through the end of 2017. More recent obituaries can be found at Legacy.com or using Boise Public Library’s NewsBank database.
- McCall Public Library keeps clippings of obituaries from Valley, Adams, Washington, and Latah counties.
- Funeral homes. Check funeral home web sites for recent obituaries and memorials.
- Legacy.com provides obituaries back to 2000. There is a fee for archived obituaries, but recent ones are available for free.
Libraries and Obituary Search Services
Some libraries will search their local newspapers to find obituaries for patrons. Each library’s policy varies – some charge fees – so you’ll have to contact the library directly for specific information regarding policy. Libraries need to know the full name of the deceased before they can search for an obituary.
- Idaho State Archives will provide obituary search services for people living outside the Boise area.
- Find a library using the Idaho Library Directory.
Click here to find information about finding newspapers in libraries or online.
Ronnie Joiner updated March 8, 2022.