Furthermore, just the naming of Stella - if she had not shown up in a previous census record, would lead you to search for more family members. In addition, often the children are named in the obituary when a parent dies. If you didn't know the names of the children before - you do now!
But finding obituaries is not always easy. Newspapers are obviously the place I would look first. But what if the newspapers are not online, or the OCR process from a poorly scanned original does not create an index entry that is useful. Also, what if the newspaper is available offline, and the repository is 3,000 miles away? What to do?
Well - I suggest that you try researching mortuary records.
Fortunately there has been an effort in California, where I have hundreds of family tree inhabitants. I won't go into great detail here with a list, but collections are available on FamilySearch as well as ancestry.com. There are other state and local collections available as well.
But my biggest results have come from a special project performed in conjunction with sfgenealogy.com, where thousands of mortuary records have been indexed for San Francisco and surrounding Bay Area mortuaries. Currently there are over 300,000 images available.
And why is this important? Because in the San Francisco case - the obituaries are taped or pasted to the original mortuary record. And since some of those obituaries are from newspapers that are not easily obtainable - I now can see the obituary and get access to the sibling and maiden name information that I referenced above.
Also - have you looked at a mortuary record? Here is a list of some of the information on such a record besides the brand and cost of the casket:
- Name of informant and person paying for the service
- Cause of death
- Address of the deceased
- Burial location "to be"
- In some cases - the name of the father and mother
- Name of attending physician as well as hospital or place of death
- Date of birth
- Date of death
- Date of planned burial
- Obituary from multiple newspapers
- Birth Place
- Marital Status
- Plus much more
Here are a couple of examples of mortuary records - see for yourself the gold mine of information that you can acquire.