View Full Version : Funeral... Guest Lists?

Hapax Legomenon
07-03-2007, 01:29 AM
My MC's fiance dies, and she suspect that he was involved in something dangerous... is there any way for her to find a list of the names of people who went to the funeral (not just people she sent letters to)?

Any help is very... helpful.

The Grift
07-03-2007, 01:36 AM
I doubt it. I dont think i've ever been to a funeral where i needed to sign in or have an invitation.

But, there are other ways around that. I think it all depends on what that dangerous "something" was.

For instance, the first thing that jumped to mind when you said "something dangerous" was either organized crime or secret government black ops.

Let's take the second one. They'd be too smart to just leave their names. But, perhaps they were involved in a covert military or intelligence unit. And perhaps that unit had a token or a symbol. Like a particular foreign coin. They leave one of those on his coffin because of the persistance of the brotherhood and they need to remember their fallen comrade. She finds the coin, finds the same sybmol in some of his old papers or photographs and tracks the people mentioned in those papers/photographs.

Basically, if he was involved in any sort of group in relation to his dangerous activities, they could leave something symbolic. Fiancee could find reference to it in his personal effects and the hunt is on!

But, if he wasn't involved in a group, that's probably all useless. Surveillance cameras? Check the fingerprints on the guestbook? Maybe everyone signed the guestbook? Someone else at the funeral noticed them?

07-03-2007, 01:42 AM
Yeah, funerals don't usually have guest lists, and definitely not sign-in books! Most of the time a notice is put in the paper stating the time and place and whoever comes, comes. Or it would say "the family is holding a private service," in which case you can't come unless you're invited, but then you'd be a member of the family.

You could get around this, however. For instance, perhaps the deceased person was into a certain cause or whatever. Maybe the widow would have a petition for something that he was very committed to at the funeral, asking people to sign it. Or perhaps they put one of those "instead of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to ___" requests in the paper, in which case you might be able to get a list of people who donated. Or if there was a lot of controversy surrounding his death, perhaps the police would be at the funeral checking IDs.

Mr. Fix
07-03-2007, 01:45 AM
Guest list to a funeral... Hmmm... I would suspect that people had to be invited. In more 'well-to-do' passages (Think Lady Di) I'm sure it was by invite only and there is your list. I can't believe that funerals are always just by word of mouth alone. I have to admit though, any funeral I've attended were by word of mouth. No letter sent to me, just the call/meeting with a friend of the date and place. Hope this helps, good luck.

07-03-2007, 01:54 AM
There could, of course, just be a 'suspect' anonymous bunch of flowers sent -which can be traced through the flower sellers, etc. ... It's a bit cliched but it's simple!

07-03-2007, 02:03 AM
we have a book. it stands in the mortuary and the visitors sign in. my dad died in april and we rec'd the book from the funeral home with the flowers. that is how my sibs and i got the names of the people we needed to send thank yous. of course i doubt someone would sign if they were up to something nefarious. in our small town (and my dad had a biggish funeral) SOMEONE would be able to give a description from any one "strange"--like from another state or county. and maybe the person signed some code thing--a joke or something cocky to say he had been there. that happened in "Charade" i think--s6

07-03-2007, 02:53 AM
All the funerals I've been to have had sign-in books. Of course, not everyone sees them or signs them.

Invites have always been word-of-mouth or in the paper for me.

07-03-2007, 02:58 AM
The obituary notice in the local newspaper should indicate the time and place of the wake and funeral services. Check your local obits for format. The funerals I've attended included a guest book which tells the family who needs to get thank you cards.

In your story, who sets up the obituary notice and funeral arrangements? Is there a code? Also, is there a wake? In my experience, the wake would be the place for non-family members to pay their respects, while the funeral services tend to be for family and close friends.

07-03-2007, 05:51 AM
Interesting, it seems that practices may vary according to region.

07-03-2007, 06:30 AM
Yup, we had a book for my mother-in-law's first funeral (held in Spain) but not the memorial service (held in the UK). I guess it's a matter of custom, but it's not inconceivable there might be a record.

Of course, it's voluntary whether they sign or not...you might need someone to coax them into it.

07-03-2007, 06:34 AM
All the funerals I've been to have had sign-in books. Of course, not everyone sees them or signs them.
Yes, that's what I'm most familiar with; called a Guest Register and given to the next-of-kin after the funeral.

07-03-2007, 06:50 AM
I haven't always seen a guest book at a funeral, but there has been one at every wake I've been to.

Lots of people will attend a wake and not the funeral. I hope that helps.

07-03-2007, 06:57 AM
There's also the possibility of a greeting card being passed around for everyone to write their condolences in. The peer pressure to write something in the card can be very intense.

07-03-2007, 08:28 AM
Every funeral I've ever attended had a guest book to sign, except for the one I attended up North in Michigan. They didn't have a guest book. It was for my husband's grandfather, and it was very different from the type of funeral I was used to. Anyway, I think you can make a funeral private, where people are invited, but mostly, I think that's in high society.

07-03-2007, 06:04 PM
My funeral is going to have a guest list. It's also going to have a theme and live music. It's going to be the best funeral ever. Except for the bit that I'm dead, aside from that, best funeral ever.

Anyway, most of the ones I've gone to have had guestbooks to sign. Also depending on where the funeral took place their maybe cameras. My father's funeral took place in a school. It was strange becuase class was in session that day. In any case they had cameras. I think most parlors have cameras as well but a church may not.

07-03-2007, 07:49 PM
I suppose private funerals have guest lists, the kind of funeral where the public is informed not to come.
If there was a crime the detective often attends to eyeball suspects.
The same word of mouth that gets people to attend can be worked in reverse. It is ok to ask of so and so knew or ask a friend or relative if they knew of anyone that should be thanked.

07-04-2007, 02:32 AM
My MC's fiance dies, and she suspect that he was involved in something dangerous... is there any way for her to find a list of the names of people who went to the funeral (not just people she sent letters to)?

Any help is very... helpful.

Around here (Midwest) almost everyone signs the guest book. Sometimes they include name and address, sometimes just a name and hometown. It's a little vague b/c we could put "John and Mary Doe and family" and that could include any or all of the kids.

September skies
07-04-2007, 02:40 AM
There's always a book at every funeral I've ever been to and I always sign it. I remember a month or so after my brother died, looking through it and saying, "oh my goodness, so and so was here," -- everything is hazy during the funeral time. It is always nice to go back and look at the list.

When the family does not know me, I usually put a small note as to how I know the person, and I've been told by their families they appreciate that (I'd sign my name and write "coworker" or "high school friend")

07-04-2007, 05:50 PM
I can't recall a funeral without a guest book. This would be in Arizona, the midwest and the east, FWIW.

Maryn, who knows a lot of dead people

07-07-2007, 06:10 PM
I've been to funerals with guest books as well, and many folks use them to pay respects. They'll sign their name or the family's name and sometimes leave a comment about the deceased. It's not uncommon in the southern U.S.

07-07-2007, 07:49 PM
All funerals I've attended also have registers. The funeral home usually lists names of persons who have sent flowers to the funeral home (rather than the home), with a description of what they've sent. The same book is then taken to the funeral and those attending register. The book is collected by the funeral home and taken to the home, along with the flowers (live & silk arrangements not meant to be left at the cemetary).

Also, at least here, family members usually enter without registering. . . sometimes even entering from a different entrance than the guests.

07-08-2007, 11:43 PM
One way of tracking funeral attendance is by using the register, but also you can look at the Mass or sympathy cards. After my mother's funeral, I kept the register, mass cards (memory cards), and sympathy cards from friends and co-workers.

Hope this helps. :)

07-09-2007, 05:13 AM
My MC's fiance dies, and she suspect that he was involved in something dangerous... is there any way for her to find a list of the names of people who went to the funeral (not just people she sent letters to)?

Any help is very... helpful.

If it's her fiance, chances are she won't get the book of guests anyway, that will go to his family. I know my mom got my brother's book, and he and his girlfriend lived together and had a child. But, since they weren't married she wasn't considered 'next of kin'. I think my mom gave her the book though.

Like some others said, not everyone signs the guest book, I know I was disappointed several people didn't get a chance to sign my husband's book, and I knew they were there. Also, at least in his book, there's no way to tell who signed at the funeral and who signed at the funeral home.

Another thing, it's possible for her to focus on those at the funeral and what they do. I know my mil did at my fil's funeral, and then was upset that none of us could agree with her about a particular person. Gee, I'm sorry, I was focusing on my fil, and the fact he was gone, not to mention I was keeping an eye on the girls (his granddaughters) in case one of them fell completely apart. I'm guessing the other parents were doing much the same, keeping an eye on each other to make sure everyone in the family was ok.

More info than you wanted I bet. Hope you find what you need somewhere in these posts.

07-09-2007, 06:18 AM
At my dad's funeral, which was a christian funeral, we had the guest book. At all the other funerals I've been to, which were jewish funerals, we didn't. That's not to say that the book itself is a religious thing, but different funeral houses do things differently, especially when catering to different groups. I remember that part of the idea of having the book was so you'd know who to send memorial cards to (which we've also never done for a jewish funeral). But, like everyone has said, it's voluntary, and when there's a decent crowd, you can't really see who's signed or not.