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Valley County Archives - Obituaries

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Acknowledgements Letter

This compilation is a result of volunteer assistance by various dedicated groups in Valley County. The Valley County Genealogical Society, headquartered in Cascade, Idaho spearheaded an effort to compile obituaries for the County and was aided, over the years by the efforts of Bea Snyder, Eilene Evans and Bette Halferty Nortune. Likewise a group of ladies in McCall, Idaho, associated with the McCall Public Library, independently began collecting obituaries and making them available to library patrons. This group became affectionately known as "The Glue Ladies", for their pasting and gluing of the obituaries into a more accessible format. This group has included Nell Tobias, Martha Chitwood, Natalle Equals and Mrs. Blake Smelzer.

Recognizing the need to index and make available these obituaries at a broader level, the author sought and received the willing support of both groups for this undertaking. It was determined that the obituary data collected thus far would be compiled in three formats. One would be a printed publication including an index and all of the printed obituaries, with copies to be made available to the public libraries in Valley County, the Idaho Genealogical Library and the Salt Lake Genealogical Library. Additionally, the information would be digitalized and made available on a CD with copies for each library. Finally, the data would be made accessible on the internet, at no cost, on the USGENWEB web site for Valley County, Idaho (

The obituaries at the Cascade Library were the first to be copied, scanned into a digitalized form, then indexed. This Index was then compared to the McCall Library obituary holdings and additional obituaries (not available in the Cascade holdings) copied, scanned and included, thanks to help in McCall from Blake Voss. Where data was lacking in the Cascade holdings, the McCall obituaries were cross-checked for possible additional information.

Among the newspapers which served as the sources for these obituaries were the following: The Idaho Daily Statesman, Cascade News, The Star News, The Payette Lake Star , The Long Valley Advocate.

This compilation includes the great majority (2,750) of the related obituaries for the County, however, it is not exhaustive. Undoubtedly, a number of obituaries may have been overlooked in the process of collection and compilation. This may be particularly true for the period 1940 - 1950.

It should be noted that, in addition to the Valley County related obituaries, this compilation also includes many obits from the communities of Riggins, New Meadows and Council, Idaho--located in adjacent Adams and Idaho Counties.

As with all obituary information, the researcher should be aware that obituary data is not a primary source and is subject to many possible errors. The information is typically provided by someone (usually a relative) connected with the deceased individual. That person, whether from memory, help from other family members, or some other primary data formulates the obituary. As a result there may be errors in the details of that obituary.

Also, the process of compiling and inputting the data introduces the possibility of additional errors. Hopefully, their number is small. 

Also, in the earlier obituaries some death dates may actually refer to the date of publication in a newspaper. These disparities were not clear in the information made available to the compiler.

Because of a variety of formats for obituaries published in newspapers, some important information may be lacking, including the date of death and the place of death. An example of this: "Last Thursday morning Jane Doe passed away at her residence." (With no further clarifying information). Also, the date of publication of the obit in a newspaper may, or may not be available to the compiler. Thus, in some instances all the compiler may know is that the person died, and that someone recognized the death as being relevant to Valley County and included it in that year's file. Thus, the vacant blanks in some of this report data.

Criteria for selecting a person?s obituary for inclusion in this Valley County Index includes the following possibilities: the person resided in Valley County at the time of death, or the person used to live in the county and died elsewhere, or the person had relatives living in the county, or the person may have been traveling through and died while in the county; or a combination of these. 

It might be noted that, given the accessibility of hospitals, increasing use of nursing homes, rest homes, rehabilitation centers, etc., the deceased person may have had primary residence elsewhere than in the community in which they died.

The "Maiden Name" index for females requires some explanation. Often this information is lacking in the text of the obituary. The compiler, if the surname of the father was not included, would then check the obit for a possible surname of brothers of the female deceased in order to ascertain the maiden name. This process may have resulted in some erroneous conclusions.

Special thanks is given to the Valley County Genealogical Society and especially to Pat James, its President during this period, who provided both womanpower and financial assistance to help make this compilation a reality. Pat's willing and enthusiastic support, buttressed by many hours of personal commitment greatly facilitated the success of this project. Also, to Mary Myzka of St. George, Utah who volunteered countless hours to the successful completion of this project.

A personal note--this concludes a series of publications attempting to provide basic data for family history research in Valley County. This last publication has been a sobering experience for me. Not having lived in the county since grade school years, reading the obituaries of former class mates, relatives, friends has brought me a deeper appreciation for the lives of all of us. We who live are only momentarily distanced from those who precede us.

Wesley W. Craig, Jr.

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