How long you should hold on to the obits that you have indexed? You need to hold obits for 90 days from the date of the "Obituary Daily Times" digest that the obit appears in. This gives everybody ample time to sort through the listings, send, and answer queries.
Obituary submissions should be sent in the .txt format, this is the only format that can be read by both Mac and PC systems.
What to submit:
Only current obits for the date being reported are submitted. "In Memoriam" obits should not be indexed. There is always a possibility that this would create duplication in the database. How? When the person died, there was probably an obit or death notice put in the newspapers at that time and we indexed it then.
Using the program:
This program handles multiple newspapers and the publication frequencies for them, from a single program.
oExit: Exits ObitFiler
oExport: This option is used to export unsent obits, to any e-mail package. After you click on export. You will get a pop-up window that says
§All unsent entries have been stored in the system clipboard. Open your email program and paste them in now. A backup of these entries has been stored in the file Sent\19990820.000. After you are done pasting hit the Ok button.
DO NOT CLICK on OK! Start your e-mail package, click in the message body as if you were going to type an e-mail message, then select Edit, then Paste from the menu selection at the top of the e-mail screen or hold down the Ctrl key and type V. This action pastes all unsent indexed obits in the body of your new e-mail message. After your obits are pasted into the e-mail you can click the OK in the pop-up box created when you clicked on Export.
oSet Date: A pop-up window will appear. Type the date as, for example, Sep 17, 2000. You must include the comma after the date and you must use a 4 digit year. Click on the OK box to apply the new date.
oConfigure: There are three options a General, New Paper and Remove Paper. In the General option window, if you click on the down arrow selector at the right, you can choose one of the Newspapers you are currently indexing, and then change some of the options for that paper.
§New Paper: Click on this button to add a new newspaper you are going to index. See Newspaper below for the information to enter here.
§Remove Paper: You must first select the newspaper using the down arrow selector, then click on this button to remove a paper.
§General: Allows you to change your tagname which appears on every obit. Use only the tagname you and your moderator agreed on when you became a contributor.
§Font name: There are four fonts available: Dialog, Mono-spaced, Sans Serif, and Serif. You may choose the one you like best.
§Font Size: You may change the size of the font to whatever you like. This is useful if you have trouble seeing the default fonts.
§Visible Entries in List: This field controls the number of entries that are visible in the Obits lists. Those with small screens can make this smaller than the default 5, so the whole window will fit on their screen. Those with high-resolution monitors might want to see more. The default should work for most people.
Font, Font Size, along with the number of Visible Entries determines how large the main ObitFiler screen is. You may have to adjust one or all these items to get the whole entry page so it is viewable on you monitor.
§Newspaper: Click on the small downward-pointing arrow immediately to the left of the New Paper button, then click on the newspaper that you want to change. The following fields will be presented to you:
§Paper Abbreviation: Enter only the paper abbreviation using upper and lower case letters, which is supplied by your trainer. Once entered this field can not be changed, if it is incorrect you will have to delete the incorrectly entered paper and enter a new newspaper with the correct abbreviation.
§Paper Location: This is the abbreviation for the
state/province where the paper is published. If, and only if, other than
§Days in Previous: This field tells the program how many days to display in the Previous Obits list. The default is 2, but can be changed. When reduced to zero (0) no Obits will appear in this window.
§Paper Frequency: This field indicates how often the paper is published. Daily, Weekly, Monthly are supported. For other frequencies you can set the date manually, each time you before you to index.
§Auto-City: Cities which are listed as
"Auto-City" will automatically display in the City of
oContents: Not currently active.
oAbbreviation: Brings up the list of approved abbreviations for use in ObitFiler.
oAbout: Indicates the copyright information and version of the ObitFiler you are using.
Displays the obit indexes for the previous period(s) as set in the Days in
Previous List or Window.
If you would like to copy an obit which appears in this window to the current data entry fields, just double click on it and all the fields except the date will be copied for you.
2. Today's Obits: List the obits you added for the current day.
oAdd: When you have finished entering all information for a person, click the Add button. This will add this index to Today's Obits.
oEdit: To edit an entry, highlight it in the Today's Obits list, and then click the Edit button. This will return all the information to the input section so it may be edited.
oDelete: To delete, highlight the Obit in the Today's Obits list, and click Delete.
oClear: If the information in the input section is incorrect click on the Clear button. All data entry fields will be cleared.
oPrevious Day: Moves back one date at a time. If you selected daily in Configure then the program skips back one day, if you selected weekly then the program skips back 7 days.
oNext Day: Moves forward one date at a time. If you selected daily in Configure then the program skips ahead one day, if you selected weekly then the program skips ahead 7 days.
oDone: Saves all work and exits ObitFiler.
Click to put a check mark in this box, if you want to add the current City of
oNewspaper: Above date on the main ObitFiler screen, is a box with the name of the newspaper you are currently entering obits for. If you index more than one newspaper, click on the down arrow on the right and select the next newspaper you want to index.
oTab: Moves the user one field down.
oShift-Tab: Moves the user one field up.
oSpace Bar: If you tabbed to the Auto-City block it allows you to Set & Unset the Auto-City. If you are on the Add index button and push the space bar it will act as a enter key.
oCtrl: Allows the user to force lower case letters in all Last Name fields.
Remember: Make sure the date is correct before you start entering obits.
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 behavior 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.
Copying an obit: To copy all the information from an obit in the Previous Obits Window to the Current Obit Window, just double-click on it.
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>Place of Death; Pub Name; Pub Date; Tagname
The format and punctuation 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.
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
Accents should never
be used in the indexes. Names like "Côté" should be entered as
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 the first letter capitalized; it may contain both upper and lower in the remainder of the name.
A person’s 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. is given, do not include it. No exceptions apply.
Example: JONES, Terry J Mrs
Earl E Sr Dr
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.
Unknown Maiden Name: If a maiden name can not be determined and it is evident that the woman was married, then put insert a,? (question mark) in this field. This will result in the index looking like this:
Example: SMITH, Mary A ( ) [THOMAS]
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
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:
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
If both a birth name and a religious name are 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 (i.e. SC or SSF) and "Sister" should be spelled out rather than abbreviated to "Sr" to avoid confusion with "Senior".
H. 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. Adoptive names would fall into this field too.
Example: LEACH, Alexander Archibald "GRANT Cary";
Example: "She was born Rose Julia, in Tyler TX to Martin and Bertha (Falls) Winciker of Shreveport LA. At age 2, she was adopted by Joseph and Josephine (Kral) Krobot."
Use the adoptive parents’ surname, in the surname field KROBOT, Rosa Julia and in the nickname use the birth surname. "WINCIKER Rosa Julia" this puts her birth name in as a nickname but it can still be found.
KROBOT, Rosa Julia "WINCIKER Rosa Julia ";
I. Other Last Names: Married two or more times. This field is normally intended for women 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] [
(NOTE) Duel Last names in the Other Last Name field: When entering a Duel Last Name i.e. Van De ALFREDO enters it as VanDeALFREDO, the results will look like this:
Examples: LARREA, Antonia (ESTRADA) [VanDeALFREDO]
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.
RULE: If the birth state/province/country is the same, as the death state/province/country does not enter anything for the place of birth. (i.e. CA =CA or MEX = MEX. No birthplace would be entered)
A. City of
B. State/Province/Country of Birth: If the rule above does not apply, enter the abbreviation
for the state/province/country of birth. If the place of birth is other than
Note: A city of birth can not be entered without a state/province/country of birth.
C. City of
Note: A city of death can not be entered without a state/province/country of death.
D. 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.
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.
The ObitFiler program folder has an Abbrev.txt file, which can be printed, using any word processor. Use Start, Find to locate the file.
When you have finished entering the place of birth/death, the result should look like that in the following examples:
MadisonWI> ; St Louis MO Calgary AB> ; Montreal QC LondonENG> ; 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. Only 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.
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. ObitFiler allows you to have multiple newspapers. To change to a different paper, click on the small downward pointing arrow under the Done button and select the new paper.
A newspaper name can not be changed; you must add a new newspaper then delete an incorrect paper.
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 Action, Set Date... and enter the new date in the space provided.
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.
Updated: 20071112 eruii