Memorial cards and other funeral ephemera started to become popular from the early 18th century.
They can be a valuable resource for genealogists, as they were produced from information supplied by families shortly after the death of a family member. They often include previously unknown details not available through other sources. This information can provide new insights into the family’s history and also their place in their local community.
Funeral cards were distributed prior to a funeral as an invitation to family and friends to attend, also providing details of the arrangements. Memorial cards, as a token of remembrance of the deceased, were often not produced for some time after the funeral. Thus the wording and information on them was given more consideration, and some considerable detail about the deceased, for example, information about family and other relationships, date and place of birth, occupation/s, war and community service, previous places of residence etc. can be included. Many include photographs.
The information can usually be relied upon as being quite accurate since it was supplied by family members or friends shortly after the death.
Download an alphabetical list of surnames for which the Society of Australian Genealogists holds such memorial information.