Obituary Searching

Gravestones at San Jose's Oak Hill Memorial Park.

Due to the immense amount of time required for obituary searches, library staff is not at liberty to assist. We can, however, offer the following tips to make your search easier:

Obituary Search Tips

  • Obituaries from 1922 and earlier can be searched in the California Digital Newspaper Collection.

  • Obituaries from 1923-1985 and later can be searched via Newsbank, accessible from home with your San Jose Public Library card, or from any San Jose library location.  We recommend that researchers search up to 10 days following the death of the person.

  • Post 1985 obituaries must be searched manually using microfilm. Given the immense time commitment required for microfilm searches, an exact date of death is necessary for anyone attempting to find an obituary. If you don’t know the date of death but you believe it was between 1940-1997, you may check the California Death Index.

  • A complete run of the Mercury News on microfilm is available both in the California Room and the lower level of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

  • The Santa Clara County Library offers a free search for 3 obituaries per month.

  • If the deceased was a prominent member of San Jose society, their obituary may be listed in the California Room Index.