to death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers


Where the indexer is convinced that two notices relate to the same person, the data from the notices can be merged into a single entry in Ryerson.

The operative word is "convinced". There will be cases that fall into the "is it the same person or not?" category. The simple solution - if you are in any doubt at all, then index each notice separately. Only if you are completely convinced should the notices be merged.

General guidelines to decide whether or not to merge are:

1. the surnames in each notice must be identical. This is non-negotiable - different surnames mean no merging.

2. any christian names given in the notices must be the same (allowing for variations like an extra christian name, or a nickname).

3. any dates given in the notices must be identical (ie if a death date is given in both, then the dates must be identical). If only one has a death date, then look at other data to decide.

4. names of parents, siblings or children, if given, must be similar. However, we need to allow for variations in christian names like William and Bill, Elizabeth and Betty, etc, and we also need to remember that, with multiple marriages, children from one marriage may not be listed in a notice submitted by their step-siblings or step-parent.

5. location details, if given, must be similar (allowing for variations like "at St. Leonards" and "at RNSH", or "at hospital" and "at Westmead Hospital".

6. age, if given, must be the same - or at least very close, if other evidence is compelling.

7. it is permissable to merge details from death and funeral notices. In this case, the notice type is taken from the notice which provides the most information. Given that both are published on the same day (and often on the same page), in reality it doesn’t matter which notice type you use.

Remember, the merging process applies only to notices for the same person on the same day. We do not merge details from notices published on different days - every day is treated as a separate instance for indexing purposes.

This page is owned by Ryerson Index Inc, a non-profit organisation incorporated under the laws of New South Wales, Australia. The last update was December 29th, 2008.