Welcome to the Butler Area Public Library Online Obituary Database--an index to 350,000 newspaper articles published in Butler County newspapers from 1818-2012.
** Index will be unavailable every night 2-3am EST for maintenance **
(Please complete this PDF form and send to us with payment.)
About The Obituary Index Database
This Index is a joint venture between the Genealogy Department of the Butler Area Public Library and The Computer Science Department at Slippery Rock University. Since The 1980s, Library volunteers have read microfilmed newspapers, extracted the names and dates of published obituaries, and created a paper index that grew to over 100,00 entries.
Due to the difficulty of managing such a large paper index, volunteers began transferring the information onto a computerized database. Recognizing the potential of such a genealogical treasure, the Library approached Slippery Rock University about preparing a more dynamic format that would be accessible on the Internet. Under the guidance of faculty, computer science students accepted the challenge and succeeded in producing a powerful Database of this valuable information.
What The Database Contains
• The Database indexes 325,000 articles published in Butler County newspapers from 1818-2012.
• More than 1,000 rolls of microfilm for 72 newspaper titles have been extracted and are included in this Index. This is the largest collection of newspapers that were published in Butler County.
• While this Index was originally designed to exclusively record obituaries, the scope has been broadened to include other events of genealogical importance--births, marriages, divorces, engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
• Beginning in 2008, births, marriages, engagements, anniversaries, multi-generational photos, and milestone birthdays have been routinely included in this Index. Births of unnamed infants are entered under the parents' last names. If there are two different parents names, the infant is indexed under both surnames. For example, if Mary Smith and Tom Jones are identified as the parents, you will need to search under Smith or Jones.
What is NOT In The Database
There are some gaps in the Online Database. There are a number of years from the 1800s when few Butler County newspapers survived.
The Butler Area Public Library is in the process of extracting articles from newspapers added to its constantly growing collection. Entries are added to the Database every week.
Value of Obituaries
Obituaries may contain a wealth of genealogical information. For some of our ancestors, obituaries may be the only extant records devoted to them. This is particularly true for those who died during the period of time when death certificates were not required by Pennsylvania law.
Obituaries vary greatly in the amount of information included. Some have only the briefest of details such as names, locations, and dates of death. Others, particularly in the twentieth century, provide three generations of relationships, places and dates of birth, spouses’ names and dates of marriage, biographical sketches, religious affiliations, survivor’s names and addresses, names of undertakers, and places of burial. Regardless of their length, obituaries provide information and clues for further research.
Acknowledgements and Thanks
Slippery Rock University
The following individuals from The Computer Science Department designed, coded, and tested the software programs to bring the Obituary Index to Butler Area Public Library’s Website.
Dr. Deborah Whitfield
Butler Area Public Library Volunteers
From the 1980s to 2010, the following people contributed in one or more ways by extracting information, designing the database, photocopying information, entering data into the computer, proof-reading entries, or testing the search software.
Mary Ann Macri
Donald & Diana Hall