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About the Tacoma Area Obituary Index     Enter a Search

About | Conditions of Use | Contributors | Copyright | Help on Searching | Linking to this Database | Ordering Copies of Obituaries | Privacy Statement | Requirements | Volunteers

About the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index

The Tacoma Obituary Index contains more than 350,000 individual index records of obituaries published in the Tacoma News Tribune / Morning News Tribune.

This file is complete from 1984 to the present day. An additional 110,000 names (from 1930 to 1983) are also included in this index, but those years are by no means complete. Library staff adds new listings of obituaries published during that period of time on a regular basis. As you might imagine, the project is an immense undertaking.

Please note that this is only an index. Copies of complete obituaries included in this index are available at the Tacoma Public Library's downtown Main Library (1102 Tacoma Avenue South).

Entries are for the Tacoma News Tribune/Morning News Tribune unless some other source is specified.

The ultimate goal is to index all Obituaries and Death notices in Tacoma area newspapers.

Contributors

The Obituary Index is the product of the Tacoma Public Library Northwest Room. The original index was a paper card file, which began to be keyed into a database in 1983. Numerous library pages worked on this project as part of desk duties in the Library Public Computer Lab. If you worked on this project please let us know so we can credit you, since all records of that period are lost. Several special volunteers worked to fill in the early years of this project as well.

Since that time, the staff of the Northwest Room of the Tacoma Public Library have made a significant and continuing contribution to the quality and content of the Obituary Index, by entering new obituary and death records from the Tacoma News Tribune. Tacoma Public Library Northwest Room staff who have particularly contributed to this data entry process include Bob Schuler, Gary Reese, Jean Gillmer, Glenn Storbeck and Jody Gripp.

Volunteers

This project could not be sustained and enhanced without the dedication of Library staff and the contributions of various volunteers. In addition to the above individuals who have been essential to this project, the Library needs to recognize various volunteers who have contributed and continue to contribute to this project. These include:

The Northwest Room is looking for volunteers to work on indexing early years, and if you would like to volunteer for this project please contact the Northwest Room of the Tacoma Public Library at 253.591.5666. The Library will make available a computer station in the Library for you to use, or arrange for software if you would like to do data entry at home or work.

Help on Searching

Search Methods Available:

Browse Last Name:

Enter some or all of the last name of the person you are looking for. Enter at least three letters of the last name. If you are unsure of the spelling please enter the portion you are sure of, then look through the resulting records. If you know both the exact last name and some portion or all of the first name you can enter the full name in the format "Lastname, First" in this field. You can enter less than three letters of the last name with the first name if you do an exact match in this field. Be careful if you use this feature since if the Obituary record uses a variant of the first name you may not retrieve the Obituary even if it exists. If you enter "Johns, Harold" and the record is entered under "Johns, Harry" you will not retrieve the correct record. We recommend you enter the last name followed by a comma and the first initial if available. This may not be completely precise but will help narrow searches for common last names. Watch out for such common variations such as Bill and William, etc., which may appear in the newspaper under either format.

Name Keyword:

Enter a last name, first name or middle name as a key word. This is a useful search for when you know the first name, particularly if it is an unusual first name, but not whether the obituary might be under a married name or a birth name. You may have to do additional research to determine which is the correct result.

Date of Death: YYYYMM

If you know the date of the death you can search by this field. Searching for a particular Johnson may retrieve too many records, but if you know the death was in April of 1942 you can limit the results from more than 2,000 records to as few as 3 records very quickly by entering information in the death date field. Enter the death date in the format YYYYMM. This means you enter the month as a two digit number. January is entered as 01, February as 02, etc. Thus April of 1942 is entered as 194204 since April is the fourth month. If you know the specific day of the month you can enter the date in the format YYYYMMDD where the day is a two digit number. Thus 2 April 1942 would be 19420402, or 28 February 1939 would be 19390228.

Soundex (last name only):

When you are unsure of the spelling of a name you can enter the last name as generally spelled in the Soundex search field. The Soundex code will be generated and all the potential variations returned. This is an effective search when you have a general idea of how the last name sounds or when looking for variations such as Johnson and Johnsen and Jensen. Soundex is not perfect, but it is a commonly used method for finding names which might have been misspelled. Enter just the last name in this field. There is no soundex searching for first name available in this database. The Soundex code is displayed for each obituary record. Do not enter this soundex code in this search field.

Keyword:

Enter a last name, first name, middle name or a word that might occur in the description of the record. Be aware that only a few obituary records contain additional information beyond the name, death date and citation. These records can, however, be retrieved by using the keyword field to search. In general, if you know a first name or middle name it is better to search the name field by keyword than use the general purpose keyword field.

You can normally start a search by entering information in any one of the search fields and then pressing the Enter key. To move from field to field use the key on your keyboard (normally toward the upper left of the keyboard in the third row down--this key may be labeled "Tab" or just "<- ->" or some variation). You can also fill in the various fields by clicking on the field and entering your search, then pressing the <-Enter key or clicking on the [Search] button.

Copyright

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or any other reproductions of copyrighted materials.

Tacoma Public Library is not responsible for the improper or illegal use of any copies of materials from its collections. It is the user's responsibility to guard against the infringement of rights that may be held by others and for clearing reproduction rights and copyright restrictions. Tacoma Public Library does not claim to control the copyright for all pictorial and textual materials in its collections. Library staff will provide any information available for specific items that it has available to the user in this regard if a specific request is made. The Library provides such information as a service to aid patrons in determining the appropriate use of an item, but that determination ultimately rests with the patron. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials from the Library's collections. Patrons are reminded that these materials are provided by the Tacoma Public Library for non-profit educational, personal or scholarly purposes and that transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright holders.

The Tacoma Public Library claims copyright to the database and index that comprises the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index web site, as well as all screen and page displays that comprise the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index web site. The full text of the specific obituary or death records, which may appear as part of this index or be supplied by the Library upon request, are copyrighted by the newspaper or source within which they originally appeared, and are used with permission for the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index. Any other commercial use or use beyond the legal bounds of Fair Use without the specific premission of the copyright holder is forbidden.

The Tacoma Public Library is eager to hear from any copyright owners who are not properly identified so that appropriate information may be provided in the future. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an appropriate manner under such Act and other applicable intellectual property laws, including the removal or disabling or access to material claimed to be subject of infringing activity. Pursuant to 17 United States Code 512(c)(2) (Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998), the Tacoma Public Library is the designated agent for notice of alleged copyright infringement appearing on our Site. Direct any notices of infringement to:

Tacoma Public Library
Attn: NWR - Copyright Questions
1102 Tacoma Avenue South
Tacoma, WA 98402
Phone: 253-292-2001, Ext. 1650
Email: nwr@tacomapubliclibrary.org

To file a notice of infringment with us, you must fulfill the requirements specified in Title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. The text of this statute can be found at the U.S. Copyright Office Web Site, http://lcWeb.loc.gov/copyright/.

Conditions of Use

Tacoma Public Library may modify or terminate services from time to time, for any reason, and without notice, without liability to any user or third party. The Library reserves the right to modify the Conditions of Use from time to time without notice. Please review all conditions of use from time to time so that you will be appraised of any changes. The Tacoma Public Library disclaims any and all responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, reliability, or operability or availability of information or materials displayed in the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index web site. The Library disclaims any responsibility for the deletion, failure to store, misdelivery, or untimely delivery of any information or materials. The Library disclaims any responsibility for any harm resulting from downloading or accessing any material on the Internet through the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index web site.

The Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services are provided "as is," with no warranties whatsoever. Tacoma Public Library expressly disclaims to the fullest extent permitted by law all express, implied, and statutory warranties, including, without limitation, the warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement of proprietary rights. Tacoma Public Library disclaims any warranties regarding the security, reliability, timeliness, and performance of the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services. Tacoma Public Library disclaims, any warranties for any information or advice obtained through the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services. Tacoma Public Library disclaims any warranties for services or goods received through or advertised on the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services or received through any links provided by the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services, as well as for any information or advice received through any links provided in the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services. You understand and agree that you download or otherwise obtain material or data through the use of the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services at your own discretion and risk and that you will be solely responsible for any damages to your computer system or loss of data that results in the download of such material or data. Some states or other jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so the above exclusions may not apply to you. You may also have other rights that vary from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Limitation of liability. Under no circumstances shall Tacoma Public Library be liable to any user on account of that user's use or misuse of or reliance on the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services. Arising from any claim relating to this agreement or the subject matter hereof such limitation of liability shall apply to prevent recovery of direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special, exemplary, and punitive damages whether such claim is based on warranty, contract, tort (including negligence), or otherwise, (even if The Library has been advised of the possibility of such damages). Such limitation of liability shall apply whether the damages arise from use or misuse of and reliance on the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services, from inability to use the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services, or from the interruption, suspension, or termination of the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services (including such damages incurred by third parties). This limitation shall also apply with respect to damages incurred by reason of other services or goods received through or advertised on the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services or received through any links provided in the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services, as well as by reason of any information or advice received through or advertised on the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services or received through any links provided in the Tacoma Public Library search services. This limitation shall also apply, without limitation, to the costs of procurement of substitute goods or services, lost profits, or lost data. Such limitation shall further apply with respect to the performance or non-performance of the Tacoma Public Library search services or any information or merchandise that appears on, or is linked or related in any way to, the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index search services. Such limitation shall apply notwithstanding any failure of essential purpose of any limited remedy and to the fullest extent permitted by law. Some states or other jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitations and exclusions may not apply to you. Without limiting the foregoing, under no circumstances shall Tacoma Public Library be held liable for any delay or failure in performance resulting directly or indirectly from acts of nature, forces, or causes beyond its reasonable control, including, without limitation, internet failures, computer equipment failures, telecommunication equipment failures, other equipment failures, electrical power failures, strikes, labor disputes, riots, insurrections, civil disturbances, shortages of labor or materials, fires, floods, storms, explosions, acts of god, war, governmental actions, orders of domestic or foreign courts or tribunals, non-performance of third parties, or loss of or fluctuations in heat, light, or air conditioning.

Ordering Copies of Obituaries

Patrons are encouraged to obtain microfilm copies of the referenced newspaper and produce their own copies of the original record. Microfilm of most issues of the local newspapers are available for walk-in self service use at the Northwest Room of the Tacoma Public Library at 1102 Tacoma Ave South in Tacoma, Washington. When inter-library loaning the needed newspaper please realize that in some cases the edition of the local Tacoma newspaper that was indexed may slightly differ from the edition that appears on the microfilm. If you cannot locate the obituary in the microfilm at your library please look page by page through that day, and then the days preceding and following the indexed date. Often times the record will appear on the next day or on alternate pages, depending on the edition of the newspaper.

The Tacoma Public Library has discontinued its obituary search and copy service. There are other ways to obtain copies of obituaries if you are not able to visit us here at the Library to use the microfilm in person:

  • The Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society provides this service for a fee. Please visit their website at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~watpcgs/ for more information.
  • For Washington State residents only, the Washington State Library provides an obituary search service, although sometimes the backlog is considerable. Please visit their website at http://www.sos.wa.gov/library/obituaries.aspx
  • Request microfilm of the local papers through your library's Inter-Library Loan program, if available.
We apologize for any inconvenience.

Requirements

The Tacoma Area Obituaries Index web site requires a browser that supports cookies. Cookies are used to maintain your search progress and if your browser does not support cookies, or you choose to turn off cookies in your browser, the search functions of this index will not work.

Linking to this Database

You may link to our site for noncommercial purposes. Please do not link or shortcut to any other page than the base Tacoma Area Obituaries Index page at "http://search.tpl.lib.wa.us/obits/" If you link or shortcut (favorites) to any other page there is a good chance that your link will not work the way you expect it to. The index page will continue to work even if the search pages are moved to other servers or locations on the Library web site. No other page is guaranteed to remain available at a specific web address.

Do not frame or otherwise host any portion of the Tacoma Area Obituaries Index within any other web site without written permission in advance from the Tacoma Public Library. You may link to the search page and open it in a new browser window. You may not place any part of the Index or the content of any part of the Index within a frame, page, or portion of a page on any other web site without written permission in advance from the Tacoma Public Library.

Any harvesting of information from this database, either manually or by automated means, for use in other web sites or any other products, is expressly forbidden. The Tacoma Area Obituaries Index, graphic elements used in or on the web site, and the contents of this web site and database are copyright © The Board of Trustees of the Tacoma Public Library.

Privacy Statement

The Tacoma Public Library is committed to protecting the privacy of each Tacoma Area Obituaries Index user.

The Tacoma Area Obituaries Index does not store any personal information about you or your use of this Index. The Library does require you to fill out a form and send it to the Library in order to purchase copies of obituaries, or to share information about the database. This information may include your name, address, telephone number and/or e-mail address. We do not sell, share, or otherwise disclose any of your personal information you might supply to us to any third party, except as absolutely necessary to deliver products to you which you have specifically purchased. We will share your name and address only in order to allow us to supply products which you may order, and to mail those products to you. We will not make your e-mail address available to other parties. We will not make your telephone number available to other parties.

Personal data you choose to submit is used only for fulfilling orders for obituary fulltext products and photocopies which you have requested, and to reply to you if you choose to share information about any of the obituary index records in this collection. The Tacoma Public Library does not store or use this information for any other purposes.

The information from your order is maintained by the Library as part of its standard financial record. Those materials are open to audit review. Personal information maintained by the Library may be subject to public disclosure pursuant to the Washington State public disclosure statute.

Automatic Information. The Library collects and analyzes some information automatically whenever you use this web site. Examples of the information the Library collects includes the Internet Protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the Internet; the computer and connection information such as operating system, platform, browser type and version; and the full Uniform Resource Locators (URL) progression that you use to move around in this web site. This information is used in the aggregate for preparing usage reports, and so that the Library knows how this web site is used, and how it can be improved.

Your Postings to This Site. The Tacoma Area Obituaries Index allows any user to post or tell Library Staff information about any obituary record they view. This feature is designed to allow us to correct inaccuracies introduced either by the original publisher, in the transcription process, or in Library research about a specific obituary. By posting any information to this site you give us royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to allow other people to view and use your content, and to use, distribute, display and create derivative works from this content in any and all media, in any manner, in whole or in part, without any restriction or reponsibilities to you.

Problems? Questions?. If you feel that this site is not following our stated policy, or if you have further questions about the Tacoma Public Library Tacoma Area Obituaries Index Privacy Statement please send e-mail to nwr (at) tacomapubliclibrary.org with the subject "Privacy Statement". Please include an e-mail address or other method for replying to your comments and questions.


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