by Brian Basore, Chief Library Technician
Oklahoma is a new enough state that history and family research are still pretty much the same thing, which is why so much of the Research Division’s work has been genealogical for almost 80 years. People who are looking for their family’s past want to find, among other kinds of things, death records. Information about deaths in Oklahoma before 1930 can be difficult to find. I don’t understand why any of the Oklahoma City city directories have death listings in them, but some do.
A city directory entry for a person typically lists last name, first name, spouse’s name, occupation or place of employment, and home address. Each year’s directory contains thousands of entries like that for people and businesses. What you don’t expect from a Polk’s city directory is to be told that a person has died, or has moved to another town, yet some of the Oklahoma City directories have a few such listings.
Here is an example of a “died” listing: Bader Mercy A died Jan 26 1919
Fred Gomeringer, Research Center volunteer, and I have extracted those types of listings from the 1918 OKC directory and from the 1920 through 1923 OKC directories and entered them into a database, 676 entries so far. You can now search the database online. As far as we can tell, the “died” listings start with the 1918 directory and no longer appear starting with the 1925 directory.
We’ll add the entries from the 1919 and 1924 directories when and if we can. Even without the listings from those two directories, that’s more pre-1930 death information than the Research Center had!