Obituaries are an excellent source for biographical information about family members. An obituary usually lists surviving family members but may also show religious preference, social club affiliations, occupation, age, education, native town, and special interests. Obituaries are usually published locally unless the individual was particularly prominent. Some obituaries may appear in college or professional newsletters.
Historically, brief death notices appeared in early newspapers but more traditional style obits occur most commonly after 1850. These obits are not as frequently available. It is more likely you will find obits after 1900.