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Obituary Daily Times Contributors' Handbook

ObitFiler 1.06 (Old Version)

(Windows only, Version 3.1 or higher)

Print a copy of this handbook as a reference guide while you are indexing.

This program handles only a single newspapers and publication frequency. A separate copy is required to process each additional newspaper.

ObitFiler Dropdown Menus:

  1. Open... Allows you to select from the "Old" folder a previous day's obits to open for review or editing.
  2. Reconfigure...
    • Change Date: Allows you to change the date using a pop-up calendar to select the day, month and year.
    • Newspaper Abbreviation: Enter or change the newspapers abbreviation here.
    • Tagname: Enter or change your tagname here.
    • No. Days in Previous Window: Change the number of previous days obits which show up in the Previous Obit window.
    • Mailer: Only for use with Pegasus or Eudora Pro.
    • Mail Entries to: Only for use with Pegasus or Eudora Pro.
    • Mailer executable (.exe file): Only for use with Pegasus or Eudora Pro.
    • Browse: Only for use with Pegasus or Eudora Pro.
  3. Exit: Exit ObitFiler program.
  1. Contents: Lets the user look up information about the program. Categories include, Limitations, Entering Data, Mailer, File Structure, and Miscellany.
  2. Abbreviation: Brings up the list of the approved abbreviations for use in ObitFiler.
  3. About: Indicates the copyright information and version of the ObitFiler that you are using.

Button Functions:

  1. Add: When you have finished entering all the information for a person click Add. This will add the persons index to Today's Obits.
  2. Edit: To edit an entry highlight it in the Today's Obits, then click Edit, this will return all the information to the input section so it may be edited.
  3. Delete: To delete highlight the Obit, and click Delete.
  4. Clear: If the information in the input section is incorrect you can click on Clear, which clears the input fields.
  5. Previous Day: Moves back one day at a time.
  6. Next Day: Moves forward one day at a time.
  7. Done: Saves all work and exits the ObitFiler.
  8. Add Auto-City: Click to put a check mark in this box, if you want to add the City of Death to your auto-cities list.
Remember: Make sure the date is correct before you start entering obits.

Key and Mouse Functions:

Capitalization and Lower Case Letters: When using this computer programs, it is not necessary to use the Shift, or Caps Lock key to get the correct capitalization in any field as the program will do that for you. To override this behaviour and obtain a lower case letter in a field which normally requires all capital letters (such as "McNEIL" in last, maiden, or other last names) press and hold the Ctrl key while typing the letter you want in lower case.

Moving between fields: Use the Tab key to move forward from one field to the next. You may either hold down the Shift key and type Tab or use the mouse to move back to the previous field.

Coping an obit: To copy all the information from an obit in the Pevious Obits window to the current obit, just double-click on it.

General Formatting Rules:

There are 6 fields for every obituary you index, separated by semicolons - no more and no less. In every record there should be exactly one comma and five semicolons:

Surname, Firstname; Age; Place of Birth>Death; Pub Name; Pub Date; Tagname

The format and puctuation of these fields is set up for you automatically by ObitFiler, but we will look at each of these fields to give you a better understanding of what makes up each of them. Some fields contain several elements.

Field 1: Name

A. Last name: The person's last name is always entered in capital letters. ObitFiler will do this for you. As usual, every rule has an exception and the exception here is MC, MAC, VAN and ST names. These should be listed as Mc, Mac, Van and St (and then capital letters for the remainder of the last name). You will have to hold down the Ctrl key and type the lower case letter or letters in ObitFiler to accomplish this. Most last names will be one name and not have a space between the first part and the rest of the name. There are other exceptions, such as Native American names. Also see Double Surnames below.

Example:        Correct       Incorrect         Correct     Incorrect
                McDONALD      MCDONALD          DeMEO       DEMEO
                McDONALD      Mc DONALD         LaSALLE     LASALLE
                McDONALD      McDonald

Accents should never be used in the indexes. Names like "Côté" should be entered as COTE.

B. Double Surnames: People who have double surnames should be listed as SMITH-JONES. If it is determined through reading the obit that the maiden name was SMITH, then add it as you would any other maiden name. Some people were given double surnames at birth, while others obtained them through marriage. By checking for a maiden name, you will be able to determine which situation you are working with.

Example:   SMITH-JONES, Mary Ann
           ROYCE-JAMES, John Adams III

C. First name: The person's first name should have only the first letter capitalized. The remainder of the name should be in lower case letters. No exceptions apply. ObitFiler will do this for you. A persons first name is not normally Robert J Mrs, unless there is no other information available. When the woman's first name is given, it is used, instead of the husbands name.

D. Middle name and initials: The middle name always follows the first name. If there is no middle name, only an initial, it belongs here. Do not use a period after the initial. No exceptions apply.

E. Titles, prefixes and suffixes: These always follow the middle name or initial. No punctuation (periods or commas) is used. The title Mr Mrs or Ms should only be used if the gender of the deceased is not obvious from the person's name. If military rank etc are given, do not include it. No exceptions apply.

Example:   JONES, Terry J Mrs 
           JONES, Earl E Sr Dr
           JONES, Earl E Dr

F Nicknames: When using this program enter the nickname in the nickname field. If more than one nickname is given, enter both, separated by a single space.

G. Maiden names: Enter the Maiden Name in the Maiden Name field. It is important to remember that some cultures allow for the man or the woman a choice of last name(s), so a man could have a maiden name. It could also be a double last name, so it is important to read the obit you are indexing and try to determine if a maiden name is involved.

Some people have stated that trying to locate the maiden name or first married name within an obit takes too much of their time. These are important elements for all researchers, take the time to look for them.

  1. Unknown Maiden Name: If the maiden name can not be determined and it is evident that the woman was married, then put a ? (question mark) in this field. This will result in the index looking like this:
    Example:  SMITH, Mary A (  ) [THOMAS]
  2. Never Married: If you can determine that a female had never been married, then use the word "miss" after her name, without the " " marks.
    Example:        SMITH, Mary Jane miss
  3. Nuns: Nuns pose a problem because they are often listed in an obit with both their birth names and their religious names. They are entered according to the following two rules:
    1. If only a single name is given, treat it as any other name followed by the word Sister:
      SURNAME, First Name Sister
      SMITH, Agnes Augustine Sister
    2. If both a birth name and a religious name is given, put the birth surname in the surname field, the birth first name in the first name field and the religious name, without surname, in the nickname field preceded by the word Sister:
      SURNAME, First Name "Sister Religious Name"
      SMITH, Mary J "Sister Agnes Augustine"
      Do not include the order (eg SC or SSF) and "Sister" should be spelled out rather than abbreviated to "Sr" to avoid confusion with "Senior".

  4. Also Known As (aka) Names: Occasionally you will run into a situation where the obituary listing has more that one name for the same person as is often the case with movie stars or stage personalities. In this case, use the birth name as the usual and treat the aka name as a nickname.
    Example:        LEACH, Alexander Archibald "Cary Grant"

H. Other Last Names: Married two or more times. This field is normally intended for other married names. If you can determine that the person was previously married (at some point, even if divorced or widowed at death), then;

Enter the other last name or names separated by one space into the field. The program will format the information correctly. The results will look like this:

Examples: SMITH, Mary Jane (JONES) [ANDERSON] 
          SMITH, Mary A ( ) [THOMAS] [ANDERSON]

Field 2: Age

Enter the person age. The program will not allow you to use such terms as, 4 months old, died at birth, stillborn, etc. If the child is less than a year old the age is to be listed as "0". If the child is 12 months to 23 months is age, the age is to be listed as "1". If an age is not listed leave the field blank. A blank space followed by a semi-colon will be inserted in the index to show that no age was included.

Field 3: Place of Birth>Death

A. Place of Birth: If no birth place is listed skip to B. Enter the city in upper and lower case letters followed by 1 blank space then enter the abbreviation for the state/province/country of birth. If the place of birth is other than USA or Canada, the three character country abbreviaton is entered following the state/province, in all upper case. If only a state or province is given, enter that. If only a country is given, enter that. Do not enter any commas or periods. Now enter a greater than sign >, no space before, no space after.

RULE: If the birth state/province/country is the same as the death state/province/country do not enter anything for the place of birth.

Note: A city of birth should not be entered without a state/province/country of birth.

B. City of Death: Enter the city of death in upper and lower case letters (eg "El Paso"). County may be entered if the city is unknown. (eg "Iowa Co") - no periods.

C. State/Province/Country of Death: Only enter the state, province or, country of death here if it is different from that which you entered as the publication state of the newspaper you are indexing. If the place of death is not listed enter one blank space.

Abbreviations lookup: Click on Help, then Abbreviation to look up an abbreviation for a state, province or country. The abbreviation will be 2 or 3 capital letters sometimes followed by a country. Do not use a comma to separate the state/province/county from the country code.

When you have finished entering the place of birth/death, the result should look like that in the following examples:


Madison WI>St Louis MO;
Calgary AB>Montreal QC;
London ENG>Montreal QC;
Boston MA; ; (no death place given)

Some obits will list three or more place names. Three places are never used in the ODT indexes. Just the place of birth and the place of death, as outlined above. Place of death should be place where the death actually occurred, not the place of residence at time of death.

Field 4: Publication Name

The publication name field will be inserted automatically for you by the ObitFiler program. This is the abbreviation for the newspaper that was given to you by your trainer or moderator and was set up by you when you configured ObitFiler. If you need to change the abbreviation for any reason, go to File, Reconfigure... and enter the corrected abbreviation in the "Newspaper abbreviation" field.

Field 5: Publication Date

This is the date that the obituary appeared in the newspaper, not the date of death and will be inserted for you automatically by the ObitFiler program. The date that will be used is shown below the Done button so be sure it is correct. The date can be changed by selecting either the Previous Day or Next Day buttons. When changes of more than a day or two are necessary, go to File, Reconfigure... and click on the Change Date button.

Field 6: Tagname

Your tagname will be inserted automatically for you by the ObitFiler program. This is the tagname that was agreed between you and your trainer or moderator and was set up by you when you configured ObitFiler. If you need to change the abbreviation for any reason, go to File, Reconfigure... and enter your corrected tagname in the space provided.

Updated: 20000122 eruii
Updated: 20000806 kpb