Author Topic: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby  (Read 12001 times)

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Hmmmmm

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Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« on: December 05, 2013, 10:37:57 AM »
In the last letter to today's Dear Abby a daughter asks whether she should state her parent's actuall anniversary date or the one that they always claimed was their wedding date.

http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/?uc_full_date=20131205

I for the life of me can't understand why the daugher would even consider "outing" her parents on their life long fibbing about the date. I think if in her position and she had a moral concern with continuing to propogate a falsehood, I'd just leave the date out of the obit.

Thoughts?

Virg

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 10:48:46 AM »
The daughter may feel the leaving out the date is a lie of omission, but I'm with you that I can't see the point of revealing this information, especially when it doesn't have any impact on her.  If I was speaking directly to her, I'd have to ask her what she hoped to achieve by doing this.

Virg

Twik

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013, 10:54:50 AM »
Yes, that's an odd letter. There are many people in the world who consider that they are married when they "feel" married, not when the paperwork is done. Perhaps her parents considered the date they celebrated to be the real date of their commitment to each other - in which case, it would be disrespectful to override it.

In any case, I'm pretty sure the rest of the world does not care much.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

mechtilde

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 10:57:04 AM »
I'd just leave the date off the obit.
NE England

123sandy

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2013, 10:57:17 AM »
I think it's best left as is.

Winterlight

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2013, 11:04:06 AM »
Unless there's a legal reason to tell, I'd give the date my mom preferred.
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Girlie

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2013, 11:09:45 AM »
I've never seen a wedding anniversary date in an obituary. I've seen "his wife of 50 years" or whatever, but never "Oct. 20, 1955," or anything like that.

Omitting it is best. There is no need to "out" a dead person.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2013, 11:37:10 AM »
I've never seen a wedding anniversary date in an obituary. I've seen "his wife of 50 years" or whatever, but never "Oct. 20, 1955," or anything like that.

Omitting it is best. There is no need to "out" a dead person.

I agree. I cannot imagine how anyone would benefit from knowing that the mother and father did the deed before they got married.

Lynn2000

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2013, 12:23:36 PM »
I do family history work and obituaries can be an important source of information, though I know not to trust all the information given just because they're often put together in a rush in the middle of emotional chaos, and sometimes people get things wrong just on accident. I can see how stating a specific date, which does not correspond closely to the official legal date, might be misleading in the sense of creating confusion in genealogical research, so I might avoid it for that reason. I didn't get the impression that her concern was future genealogists, though. I think I would just not state a specific date and go with "married 50 years" or whatever.
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nutraxfornerves

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2013, 12:28:43 PM »
Unless that letter has been trimmed by Abby or her editor, she's made an interesting assumption. The letter writer does not say how the date was altered. The couple could have been secretly married before the actual wedding, but didn't want to cheat their parents (or themselves) out of a big wedding with all the trimmings. Perhaps they feared that the parents and/or wedding guests would be upset if they knew the wedding was a fake.

I have seen wedding dates in obituaries. "While volunteering at her church, Janet met Bob Smith, the love of her life. They were married on February 7, 1975, and had 30 happy years together until Bob's death in 2005." However, I more often see "Janet was preceded in death by Bob, her beloved husband of 30 years."

It may also depend on the purpose of the obituary--if it is to be a paid obituary in a newspaper or online, of if it is more of a biography to be given to attendees at a funeral service. For the latter, people often do put in a lot of detail.

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Hmmmmm

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2013, 01:10:22 PM »
I do family history work and obituaries can be an important source of information, though I know not to trust all the information given just because they're often put together in a rush in the middle of emotional chaos, and sometimes people get things wrong just on accident. I can see how stating a specific date, which does not correspond closely to the official legal date, might be misleading in the sense of creating confusion in genealogical research, so I might avoid it for that reason. I didn't get the impression that her concern was future genealogists, though. I think I would just not state a specific date and go with "married 50 years" or whatever.

I have a curiosity about this, so slightly highjacking.

If you were doing family geneology and learned say that you had recorded a birth date as Jan, 7 1896 because that was what was on the tombstone but later ran across a document that indicates a date of Jan 7, 1898, what would the impact be to your research? I'm asking because my as this is specific to a grandparent issue. The tombstone says one year but there is a census form someone else ran across that seems to show a handwritten 1908. There was lots of back and form within the family about which was right and maybe the tombstone was wrong or maybe it really says 08 but others think the handwritten 8 is really a 6. My opinion is who cares? One family geneolgist said that if the same woman was listed with different birth dates is could be confusing to future researches. I said I figured a future researcher would probably be able to  couldn't figure out there wasn't 2 Bertha Eugene O'Mally born in the same small county within two years of to the same parents.

Twik

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2013, 01:19:12 PM »
I'd say the tombstone would be pretty definitive proof, unless you think that there might be two people, one with the stone, and one with the census/newspaper report. Basically, because I don't think it's as likely that someone carving a tombstone will mistake the date.

"Oops, I carved 1898 instead of 1908. Anyone have the Marble-Out(tm)?"
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

LazyDaisy

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2013, 01:44:59 PM »
I do family history work and obituaries can be an important source of information, though I know not to trust all the information given just because they're often put together in a rush in the middle of emotional chaos, and sometimes people get things wrong just on accident. I can see how stating a specific date, which does not correspond closely to the official legal date, might be misleading in the sense of creating confusion in genealogical research, so I might avoid it for that reason. I didn't get the impression that her concern was future genealogists, though. I think I would just not state a specific date and go with "married 50 years" or whatever.

I have a curiosity about this, so slightly highjacking.

If you were doing family geneology and learned say that you had recorded a birth date as Jan, 7 1896 because that was what was on the tombstone but later ran across a document that indicates a date of Jan 7, 1898, what would the impact be to your research? I'm asking because my as this is specific to a grandparent issue. The tombstone says one year but there is a census form someone else ran across that seems to show a handwritten 1908. There was lots of back and form within the family about which was right and maybe the tombstone was wrong or maybe it really says 08 but others think the handwritten 8 is really a 6. My opinion is who cares? One family geneolgist said that if the same woman was listed with different birth dates is could be confusing to future researches. I said I figured a future researcher would probably be able to  couldn't figure out there wasn't 2 Bertha Eugene O'Mally born in the same small county within two years of to the same parents.
My mother does extensive genealogy both for my own family and for others -- is entirely possible for a family to have more than one child named exactly the same. Mom has found several families that lost multiple children before the age of one and they would just name the next child the same name as the one who died. It could be a "family name" they were just intent on passing along. So yes, there could definitely be 2 Bertha Eugene O'Mally's born to the same parents within a year or two. A family researcher would want to know is this just a date "typo" or truly another child. Also, errors in general are frustrating to family historians -- mom has found records that indicate a child was born to parents listed as dead a year or two before, and parents who were listed as born after their child  ???

To the Dear Abby letter. I think the daughter should just omit the info altogether rather than create more confusion. To the living today it may not matter at all -- but a hundred years from now, a family historian may find two marriage dates and wonder if there was a previous spouse that time has erased the name of.
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Yvaine

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2013, 01:51:49 PM »
"Oops, I carved 1898 instead of 1908. Anyone have the Marble-Out(tm)?"

 ;D

ClaireC79

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2013, 01:55:20 PM »
People 'changing' dates of births/death/marriages is a huge pain when it comes to genealogy

My great, great, grandparents had 3 daughters with the same name - one died in babyhood, next died when she was 3 (why they used the same name again is beyond me - they did it twice with a son as well - first one died but at least in that case it was a family name, the repeated girls name was just random. 

Plus have a great grandfather with the wrong date of birth on his birth certificate (you get fined if registering more than 42 days after the birth - so his mum lied - in that case I knew the why as my nan had told me

In the case you mentioned I'd be looking for a death of a baby or toddler