Friday, April 25, 2008

Ordering obit etiquette

It is easy to tell just by the popularity of this blog that many family historians are interested in researching online. Even in South Carolina many of our public libraries have invested time and money in preparing online obituary indexes. Just look at the list the Dead Librarian has compiled - it is impressive. However, this is a relatively new way of doing research and I am noticing a lot of common mistakes people are making when ordering the full text of obituaries. Here are some ways to ensure your obituary request will be completed:

1. Read the guidelines carefully and follow them. Many libraries limit the number of obits you can request. Some libraries prefer requests by mail, some by e-mail. Some charge, some do not.
2.Include the whole citation when making a request. If the person answering a request has to go back and look up page numbers it will take longer to fill the request.
3.DO NOT send in another request until the previous requests have been completed. This is a big problem. It confuses us into thinking we have already completed that request and it will get deleted.
4.A thanks is great. That way we know the obit was received.

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