Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Home-grown obituaries and online newspaper databases

When my mother passed away last June, my brother asked if I would write her obituary. After my having read and used countless obituaries as part of my genealogical research, this was my first time in writing one, and I was certainly aware that I needed to include all of the most useful information for future genealogists and family historians. This obituary is preserved in the archives of my hometown's local newspaper, the Newberry Observer. Fortunately, the contents of the Observer are available going back to the beginning of 2006 in the Access World News database (a NewsBank product), which I can access from home thru my local public library or thru the academic library at the university where I work. Here is the text of Mom's obituary:

Newberry Observer, The (SC) - June 18, 2007

NEWBERRY - Corinne Martin Smith, 86, of Newberry, widow of George Smith, died Saturday, June 16, 2007. Altha Corinne Martin was born on Dec. 19, 1920, in Newberry County in Moon Township near Chappells. Youngest of seven children, she was the daughter of George Washington Martin and Elizabeth Estelle King. She grew up in the Mollohon Village neighborhood of Newberry and graduated from Newberry High School in 1938. She married George Thomas Smith of Newark, N.J. on Jan. 31, 1943, at Epting Memorial Methodist Church in Newberry. After World War II, she and her husband established their home in East Orange, N.J., but in 1960 the Smiths returned to Newberry, where they lived the remainder of their lives. For many years, Mrs. Smith was employed as a ward secretary at Newberry County Memorial Hospital. Her husband, George, passed away in 1999.

Mrs. Smith was an avid reader of mysteries, and was well known throughout Newberry for her annual Christmas tradition of making cookies to be distributed to friends and local businesses. She was a longtime member of the Mt. Bethel-Garmany Home Demonstration Club, and of Epting Memorial United Methodist Church and its Mary Addison Circle.

Mrs. Smith is survived by her sons William Jeffrey "Jeff" Smith of Newberry and Andrew Martin "Drew" Smith of Tampa, Fla. and by many nieces and nephews.

Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Newberry Memorial Gardens. Memorials may be made to the Newberry County Library, 1300 Friend St., Newberry, SC 29108.