I’ve noticed that there are not a lot of records for many ancestors who lived during the mid to late 1800s which show who that person was or the role they played in the community. There are of course the standard birth, death or marriage certificates but without something more substantial, many details will remain unknown. It is helpful if a relative knows some facts about the individual in question but unfortunately most of this information can become lost through the generations. This is when eulogies can come in handy.
Though they are not readily available for every single individual, I have found that they were often printed in the newspapers if the deceased was either a prominent person or an early pioneer. Some such examples from my family tree are below.
There are also interesting examples from other families:
Filled with fascinating details about the individuals and the lives they lived, the eulogies give us a more intimate portrait of people who otherwise could’ve remained a mystery. If you are after more specific details about your ancestors I highly advise searching for them in the newspaper section of the National Library of Australia’s Trove website (http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper). If you’re lucky you may find a eulogy filled with new information and perhaps even new clues.
1914 ‘THE LATE MRS. JAMES HOUGH.’, Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885-1954), 12 June, p. 14, viewed 19 February, 2011, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37971645
1937 ‘PIONEER COUPLE DEAD.’, The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879-1954), 17 April, p. 10, viewed 19 February, 2011, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41295340
1931 ‘A BOYANUP PIONEER.’, The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879-1954), 29 June, p. 19, viewed 19 February, 2011, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32530217
1906 ‘MR. T. HURST.’, Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885-1954), 24 November, p. 19, viewed 19 February, 2011, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38819807
1933 ‘OLD COLONIST’S DEATH.’, The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879-1954), 4 October, p. 10, viewed 19 February, 2011, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article33320653
1872 ‘DECEASE OF MR. BROCKMAN.’, The Perth Gazette and West Australian Times (WA : 1864-1874), 29 November, p. 2, viewed 19 February, 2011, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3751712
1906 ‘MRS. DE BURGH.’, Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885-1954), 27 January, p. 15, viewed 19 February, 2011, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37387220