I'm cataloguing all the characters in A Song of Ice and Fire, and am currently working out each of their status as dead or alive. Some characters are (spoilers AGOT)
missing and presumed dead, such as Benjen Stark, lost beyond the Wall. For those characters I would just say "Unknown"
Other characters you would think have died, but are still alive, such as (spoilers ACOK)
Kyra, Bandy, Palla, Turnip, Old Nan, and certain other residents of Winterfell, who didn't die in the Sack, but were taken prisoner by the Boltons. We only know about this because they're explicitly mentioned in the appendix.
What about minor characters who get no other mention in any canon source? For example, Lew and Donnis are two guards at Winterfell, mentioned in the beginning of AGOT (more spoilers ACOK)
Should I presume that Lew and Donnis are dead because Winterfell was sacked, and they haven't been explicitly mentioned? Should I presume that they are alive because there's no information to suggest that they've died? Or is their fate best marked as "Unknown"?
Essentially, what is the default position for whether a character is alive?