Monday, July 18, 2011

North Carolina Funeral Programs

I have in my possession over 200 funeral programs from the services of people who were born and/or raised in North Carolina.  The majority of the deceased either lived in, or originated from Franklin County, however, there are a few from surrounding areas.

These funeral programs date back as early as 1949, to as late as 2001.  They are from the personal collection of my late grandmother, Anna Green Yarborough (1891-1977) and her daughter Susie B. Yarborough.  My aunt was kind enough to allow me to "borrow" these precious documents last summer, so that I could index them and get the information online, in case family members or descendants would like access to the information, or receive copies of the programs.  As is common, these documents are filled with genealogical data, such as birth and death dates, names of parents and family members, and occupation, residence, and burial informaton.  The deceased individual's church affiliations and life accomplishments are typically included, and occasionally, there are pictures!

I have created an Excel document which gives the names (maiden and married for females), birth/death dates, place of death (or burial), and spouse's name for each of the dearly departed.  As of the date of this posting, I have completed 40 listings.  I will add to the document, as time permits.

I will happily scan and email a copy of any funeral program by request.  If you have an interest in a particular program, please contact me with the row number (from the Excel doc) and the first and last name of the deceased person. (I would also love to know what your connection or interest is in the deceased.)  In a few cases, there are also newspaper clippings that were with the funeral programs.  If so, you will see a comment indicating that on the document.

To give an example of what I have, I am including one program in this post.  My grandmother was a founding member of the Mt. Hebron United Holy Church in Louisburg, NC.  She was a dedicated servant of the church, and so it didn't surprise me that she traveled to Goldsboro, NC in 1949 to attend the service for the president of her church's national body, Bishop General Johnson Branch.  What did surprise me was the almost perfect condition this funeral program is still in, although it's been right on a shelf in our old homestead for the past 62 years!

Back and front of funeral program

Inside of funeral program

As you can see, this funeral program is filled with information about the Bishop's life.  There is even a photograph of him, although only a few in my collection have pictures.  For some reason though, the names of his five children were not given.  This is highly unusual, but perhaps because of his status, his program was a bit less personalized.  I don't know, but I can assure you that most of the program I have do list the departed person's children by name!

It is my plan to donate the entire lot of funeral programs to a repository in North Carolina - either to the North Carolina State Archives, or to the Franklin County Public Library.  However, I won't do that for quite some time, because currently, these bulletins remain the property of my aunt, Susie Yarborough Hawkins, of Louisburg, and are on loan to me for the above stated purpose.

Please click here to see the index of names for whom I have funeral programs.  Comments and requests for copies are welcome here, or by emailing me at yarsan@aol.com. In addition to the complimentary scanning and emailing, I'm willing to make and mail hard copies of each program for a cost of $3.00 per document, which will be payable to me via Paypal.  Please contact me directly via email if you are interested in this service.

I hope this venture will prove worthwhile for folks who are researching in or around Franklin County, NC, and/or who may be descendants of any of the people on these programs.  Please share this post with as many researchers as possible, so that the word can get out! :)

Thanks, and happy researching!


  1. Wow - what a collection. This is a great resource and treasure-trove of information. Programs like this has helped me in my research process. In some cases, I've been able to really dig and make contact with people mentioned in the program. I like the idea of cataloging information from each one into a spreadsheet. Thanks to you and your aunt, this can open many doors for people. Great job - Thanks for sharing!

  2. That's a great thing to do. What a nice collection. I was hoping the Davis family was in there, but no.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I plan to add more of the programs in a couple of weeks. Kathy, there might be some Davises in the next bunch, so check back, often! :)