13 May 2010

The Obituary List

One of the most important parts of a research trip, at least to me, is making sure that I am prepared for the job I am about to do. Going into a research trip with no prep to me is just something that makes absolutely NO sense to me. The more prepared you are the more likely you are to have success.

Another aspect of my trip prep is for obituaries in Medina County, Ohio. Mark's Reusch family came from there, so there is alot to do there. This library has an obituary index on line which made my list making much easier! Whenever I come across someone on the line who has no obituary in my data base, I add them to the to do list or the spreadsheet. If you decide for the to-do list you will have to go back and put all the entries from the to do list on the spread sheet. If you go directly to the spreadsheet you will be going back there alot, adding persons of interest & resorting from time to time.

My speadsheet has six columns & when printed, it is printed in landscape mode. The six columns I use are:

  1. Name - I use surname first, the given
  2. Date - for this library I used the online obituary index and got the dates that the obits appeared.
  3. Page number
  4. Female ID number. This makes it easy to identify if I have any questions when I am putting them in my data base.
  5. Y/N - did I get the obituary or not
  6. Comments - things like "no newspaper" or "newspaper on strike" things like that.

If you have mulitiple newspapers in the area you could add another column for newspaper name. Its really comes down to what YOU need to make it work for you. I don't have the mulitple newspapers to deal with this on this trip.

After I get them all entered on the spread sheet I sort by date, with the earliest date appearing at the top. I always print TWO (2) copies - one for me and one in case the films are not open for personal "fetching", the person behind the counter can get them for me much easier if they are in some of order. If Mark is getting films its easier on him as well.

By calling ahead and confirming costs, hours & policies, then having your obituary list in order, ensures you success whether you are pulling 6 or 160 obits.

Please remember that if you have someone pulling films for you & they are on staff, a THANK YOU is always in order. Some libraries also take donations - donating to the library is a great way to say THANKS! They need to hear it and I don't know of any library that can't use some financial help as well! If its my husband Mark - I buy him dinner! ; )

An obituary spreadsheet - Its a VERY GOOD THING!

Happy Researching!



S. Lincecum said...

Great idea and method!

Linda McCauley said...

Yikes! I'm prepping for a June research trip and have not added obits to my To Do list. Thanks for the timely reminder. Now I'm wondering what other obvious things I've overlooked.

TennLady said...

I'm prepped, just need time to go.

Kim said...

This is a good idea as i prepare for summer research trips but also keep my "to dos" organized.