Surety of sources for a fact

Edward Sneithe

I started  with my genealogy about 40 years ago first using paper then in a computer word processor and then moving on to software solutions for genealogy. I switched to The Master Genealogist about 1993 staying with them until late 2014 when support for the development platform was cropped by Microsoft and Wholly Genes decided to end its run.

In TMG I was able to rate the value of sources and citations in a very granular way. For each fact I could Rate each source for that fact across five categories. Principal 1, principal 2, date, place, and memo or note as FH would see it. The rating followed the GEDCOM standard of using values of 0 to 3. In practice I would rate a source for a fact across these five categories. So for source 1 I may give the date a value of 2 while source 2 may generate a value of 3. 3 being a rock solid value. TMG would then allow me to customize the display of facts to show these 5 categories. It would also show the highest value for these categories based on my sources. I could then look at the facts and quickly see what facts were rock solid and which pieces needed work.

I have run into several birth registers (the source the state would use to create a birth certificate) where it was registered before the parents named the child so that the record would show “Baby” or “Infant” for the first name. This record could not be used to justify a first name for the child. Another record, perhaps a baptismal record, could show the child’s first name. By using the surety value I could then show all the facts about the birth as rock solid which would show on the list of facts for a person. Very useful feature for research and seeing what I needed to work on, etc.

Switching to Rootsmagic in 2014, after correcting many items that were not directly translatable to RM, I found that I lost much of the granularity of rating facts based on my source material. I could use Elizabeth Shown Mills approach to describe how a particular source related to a particular fact and I could then add the proof as proven, dis proven or disputed losing the granularity of TMG.

Coming over to FH it seems that I have taken another step backward on this issue being able to set a flag for Private, Preferred, Tentative or Rejected.  I don’t seem to be able to rate how each source relates to a fact like I could in TMG.

In FH is there a way to be more granular in my rating of sources and facts so that I can use this as a way to focus my research?

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