Obituary Coding


To search the database for a particular code used in an obituary, search using the first 7 characters of the code.

Memo from: David W. Dole

Genealogists, Librarians, Researchers - A  Challenge!

Read the "Suzie Smith Syndrome" and appoint yourself a "committee of one."

Challenge the members of your society to set a goal of convincing at least one newspaper
in your area to adopt PGCS coding of its obituaries!

It's a 1, 2, 3, 4 kind of proposition:

  1.)  "Register" - Questions? contact or
  2.)  receive the packet of material we'll send you,
  3.)  put "PGCS" on the agenda for discussion at your society's next meeting and
  4.) "move" that the society set that goal.

At the meeting, "move" that the society take action.  Ask that all members agree to "register" with PGCS and follow through by sending the material PGCS provides - all to the same newspapers and newspaper executives.


More than 750 folks have "registered"  with PGCS.  Each was provided with a ready-to-sign letter (from the registrant to an executive at the paper they chose) requesting the adoption of PGCS coding, an explanatory sheet on the coding and an Application Form - all to be sent to the paper.

But we need more help - lots more!

Remember ... many letters from many people brings home the point !

PGCS makes it possible for anyone, in the next county or in Calcutta, in the next month or the next century,
to easily learn the newspaper, location and publication date of the obit they have in hand right here -
on the Database page!

Help me make it happen!

What is PGCS?

PGCS, or Publisher's Genealogical Coding System, is a coding system for obituaries that stands the test of time. By using a simple code in obituary, future generations can quickly get more information to enrich their genealogical exploration.

The "Susie Smith Syndrome" - A Common Problem !

When someone clips a family member's obit and sends it to a relative and then–even 20 years later–that relative's daughter starts family genealogy and finds great-aunt Susie's obit ... she doesn't simply read:

            “Susie Smith died last Thursday at her lake home.
            Services Saturday, 10am at Christ Church”

...and wonder:

WHEN was Thursday?
WHERE was the lake?
WHAT city?
WHICH Christ Church?

...and, after a few minutes of being puzzled, gives up and tosses out the obit!

Instead, imagine a code tucked into the obit, such as A10023N1998FB18”(fictitious, example only). She asks a librarian, genealogist or historian about it.   She's told, “Oh, that's the Publisher's Genealogical Coding Service code!  Let me look it up.  Here it is - that obit was from the Buffalo, NY News; published the 18th of February, 1998!”

What a treasure trove of information from one small code!

See Actual Codes being used at the following ONLINE Locations:

        The Echo Press - (click obits at top)

        Shoreline Beacon - (click obituaries at bottom)

The professional associations listed below all support PGCS’s goals.
PGCS Steering Committee

Association of Professional Genealogists (APG)
    Jean Legried, CGRS, Freeborn Co. (MN) Genealogical Society, Corr. Secretary
Council of Genealogy Columnists
    Regina Hines Ellison, CGC 1996 President, Ocean Springs, MS
Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)
    Curt B. Witcher, FGS 1996 Pres; Mgr: Historical Genealogy, Allen County, IN Library
National Genealogical Society (NGS)
    Dereka Smith, Librarian, Alexandria, VA

Can We Count on You?

To make PGCS a reality, we NEED YOUR HELP! Please get the full story of PGCS by clicking PGCS History; Coding Details; Fees; Sample Obits; References; and Database.  Do so by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page. Then,
go to the registration page and complete E-mail Registration form.  When we receive it, we'll send you:

    A finished letter from you to the newspaper, ready for you to sign and send.
    A condensed PGCS explanation to send to the paper.
    A PGCS Application Form for the paper to complete, send to PGCS and start obit coding.
    and a sample letter for you to use to alert librarians, researchers & genealogists in your area.

FYI:   PGCS will not use (nor transfer to others) data requested below for any other purpose.

Complete and submit the Email Registration to get your PGCS materials. Thank you!

PGCS Contact Information:

Who: Was - David W. Dole                                              Is - Harris County (TX) Genealogical Society
Telephone: Was - 952) 830-9552                                    Is - L. E. Burns - 713) 472-4703
FaxWas - 952) 830-9552                                                  Is - 713) 472-3405
Address: Was -8102 Highwood Drive #B-125              Is - P. O. Box 391
City/State/Zip: Was -Bloomington, MN 55438-1406 Is - Pasadena, TX  77501
Country: USA
E-Mail: Was -                               Is -


Be sure to get the whole PGCS story by clicking on the links below !

About PGCS | PGCS History | Coding Details | Fees | Sample Obits | References | Database | Resources


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Copyright © 2001 - 2003 Publishers Genealogical Coding Service, Inc.
Last modified: 4 January 2003