If you know the full name and date of death, you can submit an obituary request via mail or email.
Consult our obituary index for help.
Each obituary request is $2.00. Please limit requests to no more than 3 at a time.
Please send written requests to Fall River Public Library, Attn: Reference Department, 104 North Main Street, Fall River, MA 02720.
Genealogical Research at the Library
If you are searching for individuals who lived or died in Fall River, here are some places to start.
Old newspapers are a valuable source of information and provide a portrait of daily life in different time periods. Newspapers are not indexed and often lack a table of contents, so researchers should be prepared to spend some time, especially with 19th century materials.
Also note: obituaries were not standard until around the 1920s. Individuals who died in the 19th or early 20th century may not have a complete obituary and will only have a small death notice.
Our collection of newspapers on microfilm includes the Herald News (1929-present), the Daily Evening News (1862-1929), the Daily Globe (1885-1929), the Daily Herald (1877-1904) and the Evening Herald (1905-1928). Digitized Fall River newspapers are available from 1859-1923, 1924-1927, and 1999-current.
Old directories can be a valuable source of information. They provide a list of people living in Fall River, with home addresses and sometimes business addresses and occupations. They may also include dates of death. They do have limitations: they list heads of household rather than complete families and only include Fall River, not surrounding areas.
Fall River city directories are in the process of being digitized. You can access them online here. Our complete collection of directories is available in the library on microfilm (1853-1967) and in print (1967-present).
Vital Records, Census Records, Draft Registration Cards, and Church Records
Various city demographic records (including births, marriage intentions, and deaths) are available on microfilm for the years 1803-1889. Searching these can be a challenge, but this index may help. Vital records after 1889 are held at the City Clerk’s office.
Census records are available on microfilm for the years 1850, 1880, 1900, 1920, and 1930. World War I Draft Registration Cards are also available.
A limited number of Church Records have been transcribed by the American-French Genealogical Society and are available in print. These include baptism and marriage records for St. Anne’s, Notre Dame, and other Catholic churches. Ask at the reference desk.
- Ancestry has thousands of census, directory, military, and immigration records. Ancestry is available for in-library use only.
- Rootsweb is a free version of Ancestry that you can access from home.
- Heritage Quest is a genealogy search site, similar to Ancestry, that can be used from home.
- Family Search is a free genealogy site maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
- Find a Grave contains information compiled from gravestones in cemeteries throughout the world.
- Military Indexes is a directory of links to online military indexes and records.
- National Archives has a helpful list of historic and genealogical databases.
Massachusetts Genealogical Resources
- Massachusetts Historical Society
- Massachusetts State Archives
- Massachusetts Vital Records
- National Archives at Boston (Northeast Region)