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Publishers Genealogical Coding Service Offered for Takeover

By Steve Paul Johnson, October 30, 2000

The PGCS has made a name for itself by inventing a unique method for codifying the source of a newspaper obituary. That is, a code which identifies the name of the newspaper, and date of an obituary.

The obituary coding system has proven itself useful to genealogists. When families clip an obituary out of the paper, they rarely think to jot down the name and date of the newspaper. The date itself is very important, because the obituary text often refers to the death date in terms of "last tuesday", or "yesterday", and even the date of the funeral as "this saturday". Thus, the coding system records the date of the newspaper into the code itself, and is placed by the newspaper publisher into the obituary.

The PCGS licenses its coding system to newspapers. To date they have licensed it to several newspapers in Minnesota, as well as a few papers in Georgia, Missouri, and Texas.

However, David Dole, 86, the creator and owner of PCGS, must retire to attend family needs and offer his company for take over. He is not even selling it. It's free. However, those interested must make a good faith effort to keep the Obituary Coding System in operation. Furthermore, it is only offered to 501(c)(3) organizations (non-profit status).

Dole says that the PCGS can potentially generate an annual income of $500,000.00, which would greatly enhance operations of most genealogical societies. If anyone is interested, they can contact Dole at:

David W. Dole
8102 Highwood Drive #B125
Bloomington MN 55438-1406
(952) 830-9552
Email: dwdole@fishnet.com

Below is the actual notice from Dole:




October 30, 2000

Is one man's necessary departure someone else's opportune entrance?

Is one man's gift your genealogical, history or library society's challenge and "call to action"? Listen up !

Some six years ago I developed the Publishers Genealogical Coding Service to help librarians, historians, researchers and mostly genealogists - so that those obits (clipped without notation of newspaper, location or publication date) are identifiable, even decades later, by the PGCS 15-character code placed within each obit !

But after spending more than $50,000 on PGCS (according to my tax man), establishing its concept and getting a dozen papers signed up to use it, I must stop my efforts.

I am 86 years old, my wife needs my care and my personal genealogy and family history need completion.

I saw this coming. I have offered PGCS as a tax-deductible gift to appropriate organizations, but have had no "takers". The Association of Professional Genealogists, the Council of Genealogy Columnists, the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society all originally "approved" PGCS (for which I was most grateful), but none of them could see their way clear to accept PGCS as a gift and arrange to continue it.

Also, PGCS has been turned down:

  • by RootsWeb. We felt RootsWeb's conversion to RootsWeb.com, Inc. and GenSoc.org, Inc. made the latter a "perfect" recipient and we waited for GenSoc.org, Inc.'s approval as a 501(c)(3). That finally came through but remained dormant;
  • by MyFamily.com / Ancestry.Com which, as of July 1, 2000, bought RootsWeb.com, Inc.
  • by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
  • and by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

All of the above are busy operations - no question about that. And their failure to accept PGCS doesn't necessarily mean they should not accept it - it just means they ARE busy.

But some group, somewhere

  • may be just the catalyst to galvanize its membership in action to help others
  • may feel PGCS is important enough to MAKE room for it in their genealogical efforts.

And many, maybe most, genealogical and history societies are IRS-approved 501(c)(3) operations.

Is yours?

If it is, ask them if they want a potential $500,000 (or more) as a gift?

It is simple enough: if your group is a 501(c)(3) and wants to acquire PGCS, contact me.

But I HAVE to stop even my part-time efforts for PGCS.

The bottom line is this: Unless someone reading this feels that PGCS coding MUST be saved and makes it happen, it will be gone!

PGCS will cease operations on Dec. 31, 2000 unless a qualified organization offers and accepts it as a gift! How about your group?

It is my hope that this message (which appears on the PGCS website, www.obituarycoding.com ) will develop interest on the part of some who understand the need and value of PGCS coding of obituaries;

and an appropriate group will offer to accept the gift; and either now or later continue the PGCS effort.

The long-term income (potentially over a half-million dollars) takes work but a well-organized effort can bring results.

I felt I had to post this notice and take these steps - for I cannot continue even the part-time effort which my operating of PGCS takes.

PGCS deserves a group owner which will be around longer than David Dole - now age 86!

Thank you for your patience!

I hope you will consider whether YOUR group can offer to accept the gift of PGCS !

P. S. We suggest you save this postscript which lists the papers currently carrying PGCS coding.

If the PGCS website goes out of existence by Dec. 31, 2000 you may want to be able to refer to this later.

[editors note: below is a list of actual obituary codes in use by these newspapers]

  • A 00001 B Northfield News 115 West 5th St. Northfield MN 55057 USA, 5/98 Ph: 507) 645-5615 Fx: 507) 645-6005 Em: tswift@northfieldnews.org

  • A 00002 B Osakis Review 26 East Main Street Osakis MN 56360 USA, 11/98 Ph: 320) 859-2143 Fx: 320) 859-2054 Em: __________

  • A 00003 B Thief River Falls Times 324 Main Street Thief River Falls MN 56701 USA, 2/99 Ph: 218) 681-4550 Fx: 218) 681-4455 Em:jpmattson@trftimes.com

  • A 00004 B Chaska Herald PO Box 113 Chaska MN 55318 USA, 2/99 Ph: 612) 448-2650 Fx: 612) 448-3146 Em: editor@chaskaherald.com

  • A 00005 M The Family Tree 204 Fifth Street Moultrie GA 31776 USA, 3/99 Ph: 912) 985-6540 Fx: 912) 985-0936 Em: __________

  • A 00006 B Staples World 224 North Fourth Staples MN 56479 USA, 3/99 Ph: 218) 894-1112 Fx: 218) 894-3570 Em: staworld@brainerd.net

  • A 00007 B Anoka County Union 4101 Coon Rapids Blvd. Coon Rapids MN 55433 USA, 4/99 Ph: 612) 421-4444 Fx: 612) 421-4315 Em: eric.olson@ecm-inc.com

  • A 00008 B Bolivar Herald-Free Press 333 So. Springfield Bolivar MO 65613 USA,
    6/99 Ph: 417) 326-7636 Fx: 417) 326-7643 Em: bhfp@cpimo.com

  • A 00009 B Echo Press 225 Seventh Ave. East Alexandria MN 56308 USA, 9/99 Ph: 320) 763-3133 Fx: 320) 763-3258 Em: echo@echopress.com

  • A 00010 B Tracy Headlight-Herald 207 Fourth Street Tracy MN 56125 USA, 3/00 Ph: 507) 629-4300 Fx: _________ Em: tracypublishing@headlightherald.com

  • A 00011 A The Daily Tribune PO Box 2450 Bay City TX 77414 USA, 7/00 Ph: 979)245-5555 Fx: 979)244-6908 Em: bctrib@wcnet.net

  • A 00012 B The Crane Chronicle / Stone County Republican, 9/00 Ph: 417)723-5248 Fx: 417)723-8490 Em: stonecountypublishing@tri-lakes.net

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