Re: Sources vs. Citations

Adrian Bruce

On Tue, 10 Mar 2020 at 17:40, <> wrote:
It’s vital that sources & citations should be understandable by anyone coming fresh to your tree
Think carefully about the readability of your sources / citations.
Absolutely - I seem to end up squeezing more and more text into the
publication part of the Source Record - and also into the Author part.
Thus a will in a book of copy-wills is recorded as Author =
"Consistory Court, Diocese of Chester (copyist)", just to illustrate
that this isn't the original will. And the same source's Publication
data is
"Digital image of original published in FamilySearch "Wills and
administrations of Lancashire only, 1558-1857" image-only collection
(no download), LDS film 89395, DGS 4421605, images 93-95 of 463,
filmed in 1954 at Lancashire RO (Preston)"

Note that I'm actually saying "published in...", not leaving you to
work that out. But it's also an "image-only collection" with "no
download" - that impacts on how you access the will should you want to
look at it yourself (or more likely perhaps, look at a similar one).
And I note that it's "filmed in 1954 at Lancashire RO (Preston)" - it
*might* be useful to know that - no idea if it ever will be, but it's
there. (This stuff started out at Chester, at the Diocesan Archives,
and only headed north later).

Sources & Citations must be carefully chosen to stand the test of time. I fell foul of this when the Record Office I was using decided, without warning, to re-catalogue the BMD records I was referencing. Moreover, the records are now on Ancestry, who in turn present the records by decade rather than the original document. Perhaps a good case for having a private copy of the images?
I guess that's partly why I always download a copy (except when, as
per the copy-will above, I can't!). In my case, I got slightly
battered early on when Scottish Origins turned into ScotlandsPeople -
the differences were only minor but disconcerting. One lesson from
this is not to rely only on the RO's reference but always,
additionally, to try and map through to the original paper (or
parchment) - one test that I lliked was: "Could you use this citation
to go and order the orginal document from its repository?" (allowing
for a check in their catalogue, of course).

I wish I’d started as a splitter
I did - perhaps accidentally. To start with, I was going to record
sources on the basis of the original physical object. Thus, a
microfilm of a parish register of marriages was going to be one source
record with "Where within Source" defining the actual marriage entry.
Then I realised that I already had physical copy certificates for some
of them. The physical copy certificates were clearly one physical
object, so would be a Source Record in their own right. But those
entries on the microfilm would be accessed through "Where within
Source" . Two different methods did not compute with my tidy mind.

I did suggest the wider use of user-defined templates (in AS), as that would be an obvious aid to consistency.
Trouble is, the more templates you have, the more consistency you get
until you start forgetting and getting lost in them. I remember
someone who I considered very precise in her use of source formats (on
another list) saying that when she loaded a clean version of her
software, she immediately deleted many of the templates provided
because she really couldn't see the need for 3 dozen (or whatever)
source template formats for a book!!


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