The New Bedford Public Library has launched a new online index that will make it easier for people to find obituaries that were published in the Standard-Times.

It was a project that began during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the press release, “the library’s reference staff took advantage of reduced operating hours during the pandemic to meticulously scan and create digital copies of the library’s entire obituary index collection, available only in print.”

The index lists obituaries alphabetically by last name, dating from 1968 through the present day. It will be updated each day with the latest obituaries from the newspaper.

You can find the index on the New Bedford Public Library website, under the “Adult Services” tab.

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The idea is that it will make it easier for those doing genealogy research and others to find the exact date and page number of a someone’s obituary, and then located it and request it be printed out or shared with them digitally.

“The obituary index can also be used when they visit us in person, but we offer digital delivery of obituaries as a service because our newspapers are not digitized,” reference librarian Amy Ferguson told us when we emailed inquiring about the process.

Again, it’s not the actual obituary you’ll find online – but it is the first step to getting it delivered to you digitally.

“Folks can look up obituaries online to find the location in our microfilm collection, but the obituary itself is not immediately available for viewing online,” Ferguson said. “The researcher may then call us with the request at (508) 991-6278, or they can send us an email at, or follow Quick Link #15 ‘Ask A Librarian’ (on the library website) and fill out the form.”

The library also wants those interested in genealogy to know that the library has a subscription to the Ancestry Library Edition, and will be holding genealogy classes beginning in March.

“We are a city that cares deeply about family, community, and celebrating our family histories,” Library Director Olivia Melo said in a release. “This is a great example of work done by library staff during the hours we were closed to the public. Even with the doors closed, our library staff continued to work on projects that benefit the community."

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