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GeneaBloggers Radio – Show Notes for Friday, October 21, 2011


GeneaBloggers Radio Episode 40

Friday, October 21, 2011
9pm-10:30pm Eastern US
8-9:30pm Central US
7-8:30pm Mountain US
6-7:30pm Pacific US
2am London UK
1pm Saturday Sydney AUS

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The Final Chapter – Obituaries, Death Records and Genealogy

This week our show is entitled The Final Chapter – Obituaries, Death Records and Genealogy. Our special guests will include: Susan Soper, author and journalist who has created ObitKit™, a book – a guide – a plan for writing your own obituary or that of a family member or friend. We’ll also talk with professional genealogist, author and educator Diana Crisman Smith, who teaches the Death Records 101 course at Family Tree University.



Susan Soper

Susan Soper

Susan Soper is the founder and author of ObitKit™, A Guide to Celebrating Your Life. She began her long career in journalism at Newsday, the Long Island paper, as a researcher in the Washington Bureau where she contributed to The Heroin Trail, a Pulitzer prize-winning series. As a reporter in New York, she wrote news and features while covering cultural affairs and personalities. Returning to Atlanta by way of Hilton Head, S.C., she was a writer for CNN before becoming the Features Editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While there, she launched a series called, “Living with Grief,” shortly after her father died. Susan’s interests include travel, hiking, reading, the arts and people (dead and alive). She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Bo Holland.

“The seeds for ObitKit™ were rooted in those journalism days but it was personal loss that motivated me to produce and publish it. After years of percolating grief over the loss of my mother, father and beloved grandmothers, ObitKit™ began to take root.

In 2004, I was drinking coffee at Starbucks with a friend who was wondering how her elderly aunt’s obituary would come together. We talked about my grandmother’s gift – the folder of instructions she left for me when she died – and hit upon the name ObitKit™. I bought the domain name that day, but it was another few years – during a spell of unemployment – before it finally took shape in published form.

The experience of creating and sharing the ObitKit™ has been more gratifying than I could have imagined.”


Diana Crisman Smith
Diana Crisman Smith

Diana Crisman Smith is a genealogical writer, speaker, editor and teacher.  She has been a lay librarian at the Family History Center in Westlake, Ohio, for more than twenty years.  She is currently on the boards of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) and the Genealogical Speakers Guild (GSG), and previously served on the board of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).  She currently teaches courses online through Family Tree University on several topics (using land records, census records, city directories, military records, Civil War Records, and death records).   She has written for various publications including the NGS Magazine, Heritage Quest, FGS Forum, Genealogical Computing and others.  In 2010 she received the APGQ (Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly) Excellence Award, which recognizes exceptional articles submitted to the organization’s quarterly magazine for her regular APGQ column on the subject of writing.


  • Family Tree University

Genealogy News

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Disclosure:  Please see Disclosure Statements for more information on my material connection with genealogy vendors and organizations.

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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