February 23, 2020
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Introducing our new online home for obituaries


There’s something special about obituaries.

They are the stories of our friends, neighbors, relatives and friendly faces we’ve never known. As a reader, I find these stories compelling, wanting to know more about each person. I am always disappointed when I realize I will never meet the person who inspired the story I’m reading.

This past winter, though, I was reminded that as much as readers value obituaries, they’re much more important to the grieving families who place them. While placing my own grandmother’s obituary in the paper, I had to stop several times, overcome by the finality of writing and then publishing a summation of her life.

Then, seeing her story in the BDN online, I — just like many of you — didn’t like seeing all the advertisements cluttering up her story. The last word on her life shouldn’t look so commercial.

And yet, as an employee of a newspaper working hard to sustain itself, I know darn well those ads have an important purpose: to help support the journalism the readers of the BDN expect and that Maine depends upon. So, we thought, there must be a better way.

Now there is. Today, I am happy to be able to show you something we’ve been working hard on: an improved online obituary experience, on a new site — with fewer ads — that’s made for honoring our loved ones.


Now my grandmother’s story is on the new site, with no ads, and you can see her recipe for the delicious gluten-free cookies that were always in her cookie jar.

I hope you’ll agree with me that our new site is a big improvement. Here’s what’s different:

  • No ads on individual obituary pages
  • Fewer ads overall
  • An attractive layout on mobile and tablet
  • Simpler navigation
  • Powerful and more accurate search
  • Easy to share through email, Facebook and Twitter
  • Easy to add photos, memories, and milestones along an interactive timeline
  • A moderated and ad-free guestbook
  • A family member can become the “story keeper,” which gives them last-word control over the obituary and all submissions to it
  • An easy to use order form for placing new notices

We’ve also created a new Facebook page to more widely share the stories of Mainers whose obituaries we publish.

If you read obituaries regularly, how you browse will change a little bit.

  • To view obits by location, scan the cards for each person’s story (the location is in bold), or type the city into the advanced search.
  • To view recent obits, click “view all obituaries” to scan the recent cards, or type the dates you want into the advanced search.

We hope you’ll like the changes. Send me a note — jeaston@bangordailynews.com — if you run into any problems reading or using the site. Your feedback will help us adjust the site as we go.

Thank you for reading the BDN.


Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

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