Additional notes about data fields for
Pre-1920 Obituary Index
If no first name of a person was given any descriptive term in the article that indicated sex of person, such as Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss was entered in the name field. For an unnamed infant only the surname was entered. If name was found with multiple spellings an effort was made to discover what is correct and variant spellings were noted in the comments field. If maiden name was given it was entered in the name field. Frequently females are identified by husband’s name, such as Mrs. Joseph Ashford; in these instances if her maiden name was given it was added to the comments field by recording as 'nee Watson'.
Date of issue of newspaper in which first article about that person was found was recorded in the obituary date (source) field. Dates always appear in form of 2/29/1912 (month, day and year). Additional articles about the same person were entered at the end of the comments field as: see also.
If no exact age in years was stated the age field was left blank. When no exact age was given any descriptive terms of age (such as elderly, young man, 13 months) were placed in the comments field. If an infant was under the age of one a 0 was entered in the age field. Frequently an obit might say the person was “in the __th year of his age”. Since the person has not yet reached the age of the number cited his actual age would be one less. For example, a person in the 27th year of his age has started his 27th year but is not yet 27, thus 26 was entered as his age.
This field was used only when an exact date or age (such as 27 years, 6 months & 3 days) was given. Any partial dates (such as born April 1812) were entered in the comments field.
Birth place or death place:
“Owensboro, Daviess County, KY” was entered for individuals who were reported to have been born or died within the city. If they died in an exact place in Daviess County the place and “Daviess County, KY” was entered. If their death was reported in a particular neighborhood only “Daviess County, KY” was entered and a note, such as died near Whitesville, was added to the comments field. For births or deaths in other places in Kentucky outside of Daviess County the city & county were entered even though the county may not have been stated in the original source. Several "Kentucky Locators" were used to identify the counties for all Kentucky cities if possible. If the county in Kentucky could not be clearly identified (where there are two places of the same name or place could not be found listed) only the city or place name and KY were entered. For births or deaths outside of Kentucky, except for nearby counties in Southern Indiana, just the city and state were entered and an effort was not made to identify the county. Standard two letter abbreviations for states were used.
A date was entered only when an exact date was cited or the date could safely be calculated from the information given. For example, if the obit appears in the issue of Tuesday, 25 December 1900 and the article states he died on Sunday the death date of 12/23/1900 can be inferred. The death date field possibly has the greatest potential for error. Frequently newspapers are found to give a different date of death than reported elsewhere (such as on a death certificate or tombstone). In these cases one can only make an educated decision on the basis of the preponderance of evidence. Also the newspapers would frequently be reporting old news. Sometimes the item, especially in the case of community columns, might be delayed and actually may be several weeks old. I used the rule that if it was a separate item or if a community column was dated and it was stated that the death occurred on a certain weekday then the death date could be calculated and entered. Separate obituaries, articles or items reported in the locals generally were published shortly after a death and thus calculations should usually be accurate. However, if a community column was undated this rule cannot always be followed. In these cases if it stated he died on Tuesday it is not clear whether it was the Tuesday just prior to the publication date or Tuesday several weeks ago. In instances where an undated community column identified place of burial I tried to find the date of death from one of the Kentucky Room’s published listings for that cemetery and entered that date if it was in agreement with the other information given.
The name of the cemetery is followed by the place, city and/or county that it is located in. The same guidelines cited above for entering place names in the birth place or death place fields was used. Great effort was made to enter a standard "keyword" for a particular cemetery even though a different name may have been used for the same cemetery. A few examples of cemeteries being grouped under the same keyword are:
- Poor Farm Cemetery, Daviess County, KY (also found referred to as the Pauper Cemetery, County Cemetery, County Farm, or Poor House Cemetery)
- Owensboro Cemetery, Owensboro, Daviess County, KY (also found as Owensboro pauper cemetery, City pauper cemetery or City Cemetery)
- Yellow Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Thruston, Daviess County, KY (also found as Thruston Cemetery or cemetery at Thurston)
- Mater Dolorosa Cemetery, Owensboro, Daviess County, KY (this cemetery in the old newspapers was generally referred to as the Catholic Cemetery; occasionally it was listed by the name of the particular Catholic Church from which the funeral was conducted such as St. Stephen’s).
If it was not immediately clear what cemetery was meant the Kentucky Room’s cemetery listings were referenced to see if the exact cemetery could be verified. For example if it was stated be was buried at Hartford this could mean he was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery at Hartford or in any number of cemeteries near there. If he was found to have a monument in Oakwood Cemetery then that was entered, if not, then only Hartford, Ohio County, KY was entered. The following are some other guidelines used in recording cemetery names:
- If article stated he was buried on the farm of Benedict Coomes and it was known or could be found that, as in this case, it was called the “Coomes Cemetery” that was entered.
- If it stated he was buried on the farm of Thomas Hicks and could not identify what the cemetery was called then “Thomas Hicks farm” was entered.
- If burial site was given as a place but actual cemetery can be one of several at that place the general place name was entered. For example if it says burial was at Union Hill or Glenville (Union Hill was a hill near Glenville) and it is not evident whether they mean the Glenville Baptist Church Cemetery, the Glenville Methodist Church Cemetery, the Glenville Cumberland Presbyterian Church Cemetery or any number of small family cemeteries near there then just “Glenville, Daviess County, KY” was entered.
- If burial site was referred to only as being near a particular place then only the county, if evident, was entered in the cemetery field and a phrase just as 'buried near Rosine' was entered in the comments field.
- If it stated person was buried in family cemetery but gave no name for cemetery then “family cemetery” followed by city and/or county was entered.
- If no name of cemetery was given tried to record any clue at all as to its location in the comments field.
- In cases where the cemetery name is not stated and it is indicated that the funeral was at a specific church tried to check listing for that church cemetery to see if he had a monument there. If it could not be verified that he was buried in that church cemetery then cemetery field was left blank and a note about the funeral (location & date) was added to the comments field.