Florida Genealogical Society (Tampa)

Serving the Needs of the Genealogical Community for Over 50 Years


TRAILS is an electronic index that is part of the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative's catalog that can help you find death notices, obituaries, funeral notices, and local history articles that appeared in historical editions of local newspapers. These include:

Obituaries Coverage
  • The Tampa Tribune (1899-1990)
  • Assorted state and local newspapers (1855-1898)
Articles Coverage
  • Tampa Bay area history
  • Florida history 

Volunteers are currently adding obituaries from Tampa's African-American newspaper, the Florida Sentinel Bulletin.

An index listing typically includes the name of the person and a reference to the year, month, and day on which one of these death-related notices appeared in the newspaper. Using this information, you can locate the notice using the microfilm of the newspapers available at the John F. Germany Public Library in downtown Tampa or at the University of South Florida (USF) Tampa Library. You can print the obituary, save the image to a flash drive, or email the image to whatever email address you choose.

Get Started
  1. Start at the Library Catalog at the website for the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative (www.hcplc.org)
  2. From the Using dropdown menu, select TRAILS-Local History & Obits
  3. Enter your keyword search (example: name of deceased).  See table below.
  4. Choose Add Pending Results to view complete results
  5. Press Go!
  6. On the search results list, click on the blue hyperlink or the Full Display button to view the complete index entry.

In the example below, we entered Milton, Gloria; 1940 to locate any information about this person who died in 1940. The surname alone could have been entered, and the date is not required. The more keyword information entered, the narrower the search that will be conducted and the fewer results that will be displayed.  

The search results are shown below:

By clicking on either the hyperlink (Milton, Gloria Christine; 1940) or the Full Display button, the index record is displayed, as shown below:

The information displayed tells you that the item was published by the [Author] Tampa Tribune and that it is available on microfilm. The Title of this entry is Milton, Gloria Christine in 1940. The Notes area tells:

  • when the index entry was added to TRAILS (22 March 1997);
  • the date of the Tampa Tribune issue (1940 4 23 indicates that the publication date was April 23, 1940); and
  • it is a Funeral Notice (F.N.) that was published on page 2 of the newspaper.
  • The subject classification for this index entry is Deaths. 

There are newspapers, scrapbooks, and other historical materials referenced in the TRAILS database. Please ask the library staff for assistance with locating and accessing the materials.