History of Southern Alberta Obituary Collection Index
The Lethbridge Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society is pleased to announce that a new obituary index spanning the years 1885 to 2019 is now available on our website (http://lethbridgeags.theboss.net.
The Obituary Collection was started by Bruce Haig, local teacher, and historian. Bruce Haig searched and indexed the obituaries/death notices from the Lethbridge Telegram, Lethbridge Daily Herald and Lethbridge Herald from 1885-1959. This collection was called “Who Died When Southern Alberta 1885-1959”. The index was produced alphabetically and by date and was published in book form for sale as part of his Historical Research Centre. At some point Bruce set up a webpage and this indexed collection was accessible online. (Bruce Haig donated his Historical Collection to the University of Lethbridge and can be viewed at: (https://digitallibrary.uleth.ca/digital/collection/haig).
Bruce subsequently produced another collection of obituaries 1970-1984, this collection was only available on his website and is no longer available. (Note: this is not in the Historical Collection at University of Lethbridge).
Lethbridge AGS members under the supervision of Phyllis Burnett searched and indexed 1960-1969 from microfilmed Lethbridge Herald to complete the Haig Collection.
Our group continued where Bruce Haig stopped and began indexing of The Lethbridge Herald obituaries from 1985-1993.
In 1994 members Ray and Muriel Joliffe began scanning all the obituaries in the Lethbridge Herald. Muriel was very meticulous in her efforts to get the best copies available scanned. This continued until 2008.
In 2009 Phyllis Burnett took over supervision of the Obituary Collection and with Eleanor McMurchy’s help, the 1994-2008 scanned obits were indexed, cross referenced, correlated and placed in binders. From this date onward we have been scanning, indexing and correlating copies of the obituaries in a database. The obituaries are collected on regular basis from many sources including newspapers, funeral homes, funeral cards, etc., from all over Southern Alberta (not including Calgary).
Over the years the following volunteers, Eleanor McMurchy, Frances Vanderbeek, Doug McLeod, Ray & Muriel Jolliffe, Sherry Pinchak, Tina Williams, Alma & Charlie Berridge and Phyllis Burnett, were our major indexers. Our proofreaders were Bev Tufts and Marion Fleming.
In 2015, Bev Tufts took over the supervision and collation of the Obituary Database from Phyllis Burnett. Our current dedicated volunteer team includes Alma and Charlie Berridge, Louella Cronkhite, Eleanor McMurchy and Bev Tufts. This ongoing project is the result of hundreds of volunteer hours.
In June 2021 we began to put our ‘Southern Alberta Obituary Collection Index’ on our website to make it accessible to all and encourage research requests. The Collection is now in excess of 101,000 entries. This has taken many hours of converting, streamlining, correlating, and proofreading to make the database user friendly.
Thanks to Bev Tufts, Eleanor McMurchy and Doug McLeod (our webmaster) the Southern Alberta Obituary Collection is now available on our website (http://lethbridgeags.theboss.net and will also be featured on FamilySearch Wiki (https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Alberta,_Canada_Genealogy