EDITORIAL: Readers, please take note of our obituary policy changes: There’s good news, and there’s not-so-good news

August 5, 2022
By Marcy Shortuse

Since the Boca Beacon began in 1980, the Boca Beacon has had the distinct honor of running obituaries free of charge. This policy has been adhered to without question until recently, when we realized that many of our readers send us obituaries that don’t go through funeral homes. This means that they aren’t being recorded in the most fitting way in order for them to be found on websites like legacy.com or other genealogy sites.
Of course, sites like legacy.com charge for every obituary made, and it is a considerable amount. For months we have been in discussions, trying to determine if we would stick to our original policy or adapt to what might be best for our readership in another way. If you’ve ever paid $500 or more for an obituary of a loved one to be placed in a newspaper, you might disagree with what I’m about to say, but so be it.
We have decided to start charging for obituaries, while also trying to be one of the least expensive options you will have. We worked long and hard with a company that handles this sort of thing, from making sure the obituaries are logged properly in places where people can find them easily online to figuring out charges that are acceptable. After this past week, we are very close.
So close, in fact, that we are about to go live with it on our own site, bocabeacon.com. The link will be found there very soon.
There are two ways that an obituary can be logged for placement on our site – by a family member or by a funeral home. The procedures are slightly different, so make sure you follow all directions carefully if you choose to use the online system. Payments can also be made through the site. Whether you run the most traditional copy of an obituary or the most interesting obituary that reads more like a story, you can still do all of that. The only thing that has changed is the way you report the obituary to us, and the fact that you will have to pay a fee.
I would like to take a moment to explain the importance of obituaries and making sure they are logged properly into mass media. People have used records such as birth certificates, obituaries and census information for hundreds of years when they’re looking for genealogical information. Creating a family tree doesn’t seem like a big deal to many people, but consider your future generations when you lightly make any decisions. If your great-great-great grandchild wants to know about who you were when you were alive, they have limited resources to pull from. A detailed obituary is like the Holy Grail to genealogists, as it not only gives information about the person who passed on, but it also tells about that person’s decedents and survivors.
In short, a well-written obituary can make or break a person 100 years from now who wants to find out about their lineage.
Obituaries and other records can also sometimes give hints as to what a person died of. It might seem trite to think about it, but for people with rare diseases or maladies that require them to have precise information about their family history, the information could be life-saving.
Yet, with all of these reasons to create the best obituary possible for someone who has passed, more and more people aren’t writing obituaries at all. Many of these people are essentially lost to the history books, unless they were famous and information could easily be found in other sources. For more, an obituary is a shining last testament to who they were, who their family was and what they were about as a person. It might be unthinkable to me, but apparently it is becoming more and more common.
If you have any questions you can call our office at 964-2995. We will do everything we can to make the process as easy as possible for you.
Marcy Shortuse is the editor of the Boca Beacon. She can be reached at mshortuse@bocabeacon.com.