Monday, July 5, 2010

Success Story! Dr William D Kelly Obituary

Never underestimate the power of the Internet and the generosity of fellow genealogists.

On January 10, 2010, I posted a request for an obituary of Dr. William D. Kelly of St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition to posting on this blog, I also posted a query on a message board on Thanks to the Minnesota death index search of the Minnesota State Historical Society I had narrowed down my search to two William Kellys in Ramsey county. One died in 1940 and the other died in 1943.

Not long ago, I received a special surprise in my email. A generous volunteer sent me not only a copy of the obituary from the newspaper, but also a copy of William's death certificate. Thanks to both, I now know that he is buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Before I received this information, I continued my search for Dr. Kelly's obituary. A Google books search resulted in a reference in the journal of the Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Medicine. Unfortunately, it was only a limited preview and the entire obituary was not available online. I found the website for the Minnesota Medical Association and sent an email to the contact listed. He referred my request to the editor of the publication, who immediately responded with a scanned copy of the page from the journal. It had helped that the Google book search indicated exactly the volume and page number I was looking for so I could provide that with my request. As Dr. Kelly's brother was also a physician in St. Paul, I obtained a copy of his obituary from Minnesota Medicine in the same manner. Kudos to the Minnesota Medical Association for their willingness to help and their prompt response on both occasions!

And, of course, my thanks to the gracious volunteer who took the time to lookup the newspaper obituary and the copy of the death certificate.

Thanks to people like this, our work as family historians is a little easier.


  1. Indeed this is a success story, how wonderful that several people were able to help you with the death and obituary information. Very interesting about the Minn. Medical Association and their assistance, who would have known.
    Also, I like how you did your locations on the sidebar.

  2. Thank you, Barbara! As I told you in my email, YOU were the inspiration for retagging my blog!