The recent death of a 53-year old first cousin, who I had not seen in more years than I care to admit to, was a shock. I have photographs of Don Clay Dauthier, the son of a sister to my mother, when he was a baby, and me nearing my teenage years. It is hard to imagine that he is gone at such a young age!
As in most cases of bad news, good news often follows. As a result of Don's death I have regained contact with another first cousin, the son of another of my mother's sisters. I have had no contact with that cousin, or his brother and only sibling since 1968.
The source from which both the bad news and good news came was Don's obituary, posted on the website of my choice of Louisiana newspapers from which I get most of my state news. The editors of the on-line edition of that paper have for several years included obituaries from various parts of the state - but mostly from south Louisiana where both my wife and I were born and raised. In recent years the editors have associated themselves with Legacy.com to host the obituaries that appear in that newspaper. In fact, Legacy now hosts the obituary columns from 175 leading newspapers from around the country.
One of the features of the Legacy sites is a guest book where visitors can enter personal notes to the families of the deceased. There is also an option for the writer to enter an e-mail address. It is for that reason that I was able to contact the other first cousin. He had entered a note to the family, and had included his e-mail address.
Legacy obituaries appear for 60 days; guestbook entries remain online for 30 days unless "sponsored." For a small fee the obituary and guestbook can remain online for a year. For a larger fee the obituary and guestbook can remain online permanently. Photographs can also be posted for another small fee.
If you have not already heard about Legacy, check the Legacy website for details.