When my mother passed away, my sisters and I met with the appropriate individuals at the funeral home to make all the necessary arrangements. The papers created at that visit are often known as ‘first papers’. This was not an easy time, but my mother had already met with them before she passed away and made a lot of the arrangements ahead of time.
Often this is not the case and the whole ordeal can cause a multiplicity of errors to happen. Grief can cause a lapse in memory, as well as confusion, as to how to even handle the tiniest of details never mind remembering pertinent information. My sisters and I were very grateful for all our mother had done ahead of time.
Most of her obituary was pre-written along with her funeral arrangements and we only had to add a few minor things. Putting together the actual church service, creating the program with the right individuals and lastly choosing a ‘funeral memorial card’ were things left to our care.
My mother was a devout Catholic and so was the majority of her friends and family and tradition provided these memorial cards to all who paid their respects at the funeral home. The nice thing about these cards is that there is usually some kind of vital information of the deceased on the card as well as the name of the funeral home which can be a place to start one's’ research.
In the article by Elizabeth Kelley Kersterns, she states that "Funeral cards have a long history and have social customers attached. These cards were distributed to family members, friends, and the surrounding community in a timely manner to alert invitees to the date and time of the funeral. Recipients of a funeral card were expected to attend the funeral or risk offending family members. ..."
The Internet allows individuals or organizations to share these memorial cards and are a great resource to genealogists and family historians but often are overlooked. If you happen to find some 'funeral memorial cards' among your collection of genealogical documents consider uploading them and sharing them, you may just find some new relatives!
Here are some sites that are spotlighting these cards:
American-French Genealogical Society Historical Funeral Card Collection
I'm sure that there are other sites out there and would appreciate learning of them through the comments!
Comments and Suggestions are always welcomed!
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