Cousin Keith's funeral home record came yesterday. I must say, funeral homes can be very handy places to find information. As we're probably all aware, research is largely a process of elimination. If you can narrow down your relative's city of death, and then just start calling funeral homes till you find the one that handled your relative's funeral (easy to do in a smaller town, or the cemetery should have this information) - you have tapped into a great source of information. Of course, it only works if you have relatives who have died within the last, say, century, but if that's something you can benefit from... there you have it.
Things I learned from Keith's funeral home record:
Place of birth
Place of residence
Mom's full maiden name, and married name (Keith's parents were divorced)
List of survivors: parents, sister, grandparents
Condition on arriving at the hospital, and name of hospital
Date, place, and time of his funeral services
Occupation and place of employment
Organizations the deceased belonged to - in Keith's case, a church and a labor union
Exact age of death
Place of burial
Also included was a receipt for Keith's funeral expenses, full of non-pertinent but somewhat useful and still interesting information.
After adding Keith's new information to my PAF file, I googled his father's name, Everett Keith B., and sister's name, Mary Ann B. W. I knew Mary Ann had passed away recently, but had no other information about her or her family... I tell you, that Google thing is awesome. I found her obituary and a family record on Genforum, quite worth my while. Within minutes, I had two more generations' worth of stuff.
I was telling Joy at the D.A.R. thing Saturday - I blog about genealogy because I have so few people in my life who really "get it" about genealogy: how exciting, joyful, fulfilling, and just plain interesting it is. But another reason for the blog is to have a place out there in Internet-land for distant relatives to find me. Most recently, Julie S. of Massachusetts found me and we've been able to swap family information and update the records we already had, a very valuable thing.
If you Google your family information, nothing will show up from websites like Familysearch or Ancestry or most USGenweb or state archives sites - but this blog, and my family tree at Rootsweb, DO show up in Google. If you've been wondering about starting a blog, or posting your family tree at Rootsweb (Joy, how's that going?), I would say ABSOLUTELY do it. Take every precaution to protect living family members' privacy, but do it and reap the benefits, is my advice.