Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stockton Newspaper Obituary Index Now Online

The Stockton Newspaper Obituary File, 1850-1990, is now available
to search and view at

Thanks to all of you who helped with the indexing at, the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library's Stockton newspaper obituary index is now online and searchable by name and date.  Give yourselves a big pat on the back!  And thanks beyond measure to the wonderful people at FamilySearch. 

While Stockton newspaper obituary entries can be found by using the opening search screen at, it is easier to locate an obituary date or image by going directly to the obituary index at

or by going to the California databases and choosing from the list:

“California, San Joaquin, County Public Library Obituary Index, 1850-1991”

The Central Library Reference Staff and library volunteers maintained the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library Newspaper Obituary File on 3 by 5 cards over several decades. Since Stockton newspapers were usually regional papers for the foothill counties of Tuolumne, Amador, and Calaveras County as well as for all of San Joaquin County, death notices from all of these counties may be encountered in the index.

The original card file still resides at the Chavez Central Library, though it can now be searched and viewed online. There are some cards in the file that were added after the 1991 microfilming.

The amount of indexing and the detail varied through the years with the availability of staff and volunteers. Below is an indication of what is included by time periods.


Extensive but not complete indexing includes citations to specific newspapers. This indexing was all done in retrospect.

The type and amount of information on each card varies widely. An early card may indicate where a person died or mention relatives. Occasionally, early papers will give vague information such as “Mrs John Smith” or “infant son of Mr and Mrs John Smith.”

Indexing is limited to a random collection of important politicians, government officials, business people and celebrities whom the staff thought might generate or answer reference questions in the future and to obituaries that were pulled for obituary requests that had been made by the public through the years.

Names and death dates were pulled from the local Stockton paper, but no specific article is cited except for random selections as noted above. Occasionally age and place of death are included in the entry.


Citations to articles in the Stockton Record are listed.


Newspaper obituaries and funeral notices were clipped from the newspaper and mounted on cards. Indexing is close to complete for this period.

The index was closed after 1990 when the Library's newspaper index went online. Obituary citations from 1991-2001 were in this online database, but it is not currently available.

The database description mentions 1991 as a closing date for the index, but there are only two obituaries for 1991 included.

Below is a sample citation to a newspaper obituary explaining its parts:

SDI May 12, 1932; 3:3    =    Stockton Daily Independent, May 12, 1932; page3,:column 3.

Newspapers Mentioned in the Index:

Stockton Times Mar 16, 1850 – Apr 26, 1851
Stockton Journal Aug 1850 – Dec 1852
San Joaquin Daily Republican May 14, 1851 – Dec 13, 1862
San Joaquin Weekly Republican Jan 6, 1855 – Nov 15, 1856
Stockton Daily Independent Aug 1861 – May 18, 1940
Stockton Daily Evening Herald July 3, 1865 – April 2, 1885
Stockton Daily Evening Mail Feb 10, 1880 – Oct 24, 1917
Stockton Weekly Mail Aug 1, 1885 – July 3, 1915
Stockton Evening Record April 8, 1895 – June 22, 1895
Stockton Daily Evening Record June 24, 1895 – Mar 1, 1904
Stockton Evening Record Mar 2, 1904 – May 5, 1969
Stockton Evening and Sunday Record May 6, 1969 – June 22, 1975
Stockton Record June 23, 1975 – Mar 5, 1994
The Record (Stockton, Calif.) Mar 6, 1994 to present

Abbreviations Encountered in the Index:

Daily Indep Stockton Daily Independent
Eve Mail Stockton Daily Evening Mail
Herald Stockton Daily Evening Herald
Mail Stockton Weekly Mail or Stockton Daily Evening Mail
SDI Stockton Daily Independent
SJR San Joaquin Republican
SR Stockton Record or The Record (Stockton, Calif.)
StevR Stockton Daily Evening Record
St. Indep. Stockton Independent
Stkn Ind. Stockton Independent
Times Stockton Times
Weekly Mail Stockton Weekly Mail

If the name you are looking for is not encountered in the index, check the California Death Index, the Social Security Death Index, or the books printed by the San Joaquin Genealogical Society that reproduce early Stockton City and San Joaquin County death indexes. Then view the newspaper microfilm. 


Obituaries in the The Record (Stockton, Calif.) between 1997 and 2006 were indexed at Rootsweb. Go to . Use Stockton Record and a name as keywords in your search.

California Death Index 1905-1939 at – Browsable microfiche images

California Death Index 1940-1997 at or

Social Security Death Index, approx. 1960 to present, at or
(The person must have been a Social Security recipient, and a death benefit must have been collected by a survivor.)

The Record newspaper has online copies of obituaries on its website, , from 2000 to present. Under NEWS in the menu bar, choose AREA DEATHS/OBITUARIES. Enter a name in the search box, ignoring the date box.

Notice that if your search is broad, maybe only a last name, you are given a list of years from which to choose on the right. You may get many results. Look for the name you want, or look at each likely date in the entries for 2005 and earlier.

Since all obituaries for a particular date may be grouped together in EARLIER entries (2005 and before), you should use your computer's search function, CTRL+F, to enter the surname of the person you want to find in EACH DATE's list of obituaries.

Some of the earlier obituaries have been edited and are not always correct, but they do indicate a newspaper date to check.

Tell us your success stories in using this index.
  Send a comment.


  1. Your attention to detail is outstanding! Thank you Karen for this most helpful article!

  2. Nice blog. I had fun reading this. And it is easy to understand. Nice going. obituaries