Date   

Re: Ancestry Message service - update

BillH
 

On Thu, May 7, 2020 at 02:08 PM, Sheila Beer wrote:
See enclosed screenshot  Click on 'Sent'
I don't see a screen like that.  I don't seem to have anything but an inbox.  How do you get to the screen in your screen shot?

You also say you can use search?  If you don't know who may have sent the message or what it is about, what do you search for?

Bill


Re: Ancestry Message service - update

John & Carol King
 

This is stupid, I know that my screen always had a Home option but it no longer appears. I can get into my messages but not view just a sent box. I cannot get into the screen that you are showing giving access to all mailboxes etc. I'll have to keep searching.

Thanks Carol

On Thursday, 7 May 2020, 22:08:12 BST, Sheila Beer <sheilamarcelb@...> wrote:


See enclosed screenshot  Click on 'Sent'

On Thu, 7 May 2020 at 18:12, John & Carol King via groups.io <jandcking145=sky.com@groups.io> wrote:
I cannot find my sent messages any more, amy ideas?

On Thursday, 7 May 2020, 17:24:38 BST, Sheila Beer <sheilamarcelb@...> wrote:


I suggest everyone looks for 'hidden' messages sent to themselves

How do we do that? 

You can look in your SENT file for any sign of messages you have not seen or answered.   You can also use the 'search' facility. 

On Thu, 7 May 2020 at 16:40, dhuhallow via groups.io <dhuhallow=yahoo.co.uk@groups.io> wrote:
I suggest everyone looks for 'hidden' messages sent to themselves

How do we do that?
 


Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Adrian Bruce
 

It makes perfect sense, Julia. The labels of Primary and Secondary information are just labels - they aim to help us, but the essential thing is to think about what happened to the information between the original event and it arriving in your head. 

Virtually any such information has been through some sort of copy process - censuses are transcribed by enumerators (1911 for England and Wales excepted), GRO certificates have been copied at least once, local certificates are dependent on the registrar hearing correctly (Gran's Hannah got written Anna, IIRC) goodness knows when some parish registers were written up (I have seen part entries for marriages implying a certain amount was written up before the event!) ... Thinking caps on! It all adds to the fun!


Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Julia Vokes
 

Hi
I can see that this is a real minefield.......if you want it to be.
At the end of the day, each of us has to decide what we regard as primary and what as secondary, and be consistent in our usage of the terms, possibly making a note how we define such terms. Obviously if you are doing research for others you need to have different criteria, again the use of different terms should be defined for clarity.
I personally regard very little as primary including BMD registers and Censuses, as I’m mindful that they are liable to transcription errors and are only as good as the informant provides. Ages on death certificates are notorious for being incorrect as the information relies on a third party. But an elderly relative who has good memory recall can be surprisingly accurate; my grandmother aged 90 gave me the burial places of all her siblings, and it all checked out perfectly.

I hope this makes sense

Julia

On 8 May 2020, at 12:17, Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:

On Thu, 7 May 2020 at 23:58, Jan Murphy ... wrote:
...
I'm going to be very persnickity here but bear with me while I clarify
1) Calling your 90 year old mother "a primary source" is journalism usage. In ESM's evidence anaylysis map, primary refers to the *information* not the source (container).
...
Ach - yes, you got me there. I called the mother the primary source,
when, as you say, I should have referred to the *info* that she
provided as primary. And, though you'll have to take my word for it, I
*was* trying to get it right. I can't say the habits of a lifetime but
certainly it's difficult to shake the habits of a couple of decades of
family history.
Adrian



Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Adrian Bruce
 

On Thu, 7 May 2020 at 23:58, Jan Murphy ... wrote:
...
I'm going to be very persnickity here but bear with me while I clarify
1) Calling your 90 year old mother "a primary source" is journalism usage. In ESM's evidence anaylysis map, primary refers to the *information* not the source (container).
...
Ach - yes, you got me there. I called the mother the primary source,
when, as you say, I should have referred to the *info* that she
provided as primary. And, though you'll have to take my word for it, I
*was* trying to get it right. I can't say the habits of a lifetime but
certainly it's difficult to shake the habits of a couple of decades of
family history.
Adrian


Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Ron Chapman
 

I too have numerous instances of Documents that might be considered primary evidence being wrong, deliberately or otherwise. Our best stab at proof will be combining several sources.

For instance I have assemble several items of information that to my satisfaction show who my grandfathers paternal grand parents are, even though I do not know where and when my grandfather was born, nor who either of his parents were. Every official document I have for him tell lies!

Ron

On 07/05/2020 15:21, Jenny Cochrane via groups.io wrote:
I am finding this discussion very interesting and reflects many features of a brick wall it took me years to solve. 

A woman in my family tree built a whole new life for herself in order to drag herself up the social ladder and conceal her rather dodgy personal history. Born in the slums of Dundee in 1863, she always claimed she was born in France, but fortunately she did give an accurate DOB. Her first son was illegitimate but she always claimed a spurious surname for him and a putative father who I may or may not have identified correctly. She lied about her marriage on several census to conceal the fact that her 2nd son was also illegitimate (born to her eventual husband). So in theory, she could be seen as a primary source, but in fact she was entirely untrustworthy and lied consistently on numerous official documents.

It was only when her son included her maiden name as her middle name (another fib) on his WW1 next of kin record that I followed that as a lead. It led to his maternal grandmother and hence to the real and honestly recorded, Scottish birth record and his mother's true identity. Incidentally when this woman did eventually marry, she gave her mother's occupation as "annuitant" when in fact she was a linen worker who died in the workhouse!

It was the accumulation of many documents across 3 generations that led me to discern truth from lies and be sure I had conclusive proof.

Jenny

On Thursday, 7 May 2020, 13:34:49 BST, Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:


Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian




Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Jan Murphy
 

Bob -- it is confusing! Because journalists and historians use the word one way, and Mills' system uses it a different way, and if I make reference to anthropology, you get even more collisions of words being used for different things depending on the context.

Mills introduced the division between the status of a source (original/derivative) vs. the quality of the information contained within the source (which is usually a document or book, not a person).  If you are using the Evidence Analysis Process Map, the source is the document.

It used to be the practice to call the person giving the information the INFORMANT.  (This word has acquired some negative connotations over the years, so some people don't care to use it anymore.)  Adrian's 90-year-old mother is not a "source" unless she is being referred to as such by a journalist.  For genealogical purposes, the interview Adrian did with her (captured either by recording, transcription, or both, properly cited with the date of the interview) is the source.   "Personal knowlege of Adrian's mom, recorded on [date]" etc.  

I understand Adrian's reservations about the quality of the information in his hypothetical interview, but if his mother was an eyewitness to the event, the information is still primary no matter how distant and degraded it might be.  In my example with the data-source language, eyewitnesses would say "I saw this" not "someone said this happened" (unless they were trying to be evasive).


Jan Murphy
Moderator Pro Tempore



On Thu, May 7, 2020 at 4:43 PM <rmwhunter@...> wrote:

Jan

You’ve just confused me! First you say “primary refers to the *information* not the source (container)." But then you go on to say in your final paragraph that the information is primary because of the status of the source (mother was a participant). By inference the information would not be primary if the mother was not a participant. Thus, surely, “Primary” refers to the status of the source.

BobH

 

From: family-historian@groups.io <family-historian@groups.io> On Behalf Of Jan Murphy
Sent: 07 May 2020 23:57
To: family-historian@groups.io
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

 

Adrian --

 

You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. 

 

I'm going to be very persnickity here but bear with me while I clarify

 

1) Calling your 90 year old mother "a primary source" is journalism usage.  In ESM's evidence anaylysis map, primary refers to the *information* not the source (container).

2) There are human languages which have data source as a required element ('linguistic postulate'), just as English has singular and plural.  If you were speaking such a language, you would describe your mother's utterance as "someone said so" (instead of your own direct knowledge, or the historical "No one alive could know" etc.)  If your mother chose to describe her own direct knowledge as "someone said so" rather than asserting her own direct knowledge, that could be viewed as deceptive, etc. In short, the categories are what they are, whether we use them correctly or not.

 

It's confusing enough dealing with the collision of primary/secondary being used two different ways on either side of the Atlantic and being used differently depending on what discipline we're in.  You might consider that the information is only as valid as a secondary source, but if your mother was a participant, the information is still primary information, just low-quality because of the distance.

 



 

 


Jan Murphy

Moderator Pro Tempore

 

 

 

On Thu, May 7, 2020 at 5:34 AM Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:

Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian



Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Bob Hunter
 

Jan

You’ve just confused me! First you say “primary refers to the *information* not the source (container)." But then you go on to say in your final paragraph that the information is primary because of the status of the source (mother was a participant). By inference the information would not be primary if the mother was not a participant. Thus, surely, “Primary” refers to the status of the source.

BobH

 

From: family-historian@groups.io <family-historian@groups.io> On Behalf Of Jan Murphy
Sent: 07 May 2020 23:57
To: family-historian@groups.io
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

 

Adrian --

 

You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. 

 

I'm going to be very persnickity here but bear with me while I clarify

 

1) Calling your 90 year old mother "a primary source" is journalism usage.  In ESM's evidence anaylysis map, primary refers to the *information* not the source (container).

2) There are human languages which have data source as a required element ('linguistic postulate'), just as English has singular and plural.  If you were speaking such a language, you would describe your mother's utterance as "someone said so" (instead of your own direct knowledge, or the historical "No one alive could know" etc.)  If your mother chose to describe her own direct knowledge as "someone said so" rather than asserting her own direct knowledge, that could be viewed as deceptive, etc. In short, the categories are what they are, whether we use them correctly or not.

 

It's confusing enough dealing with the collision of primary/secondary being used two different ways on either side of the Atlantic and being used differently depending on what discipline we're in.  You might consider that the information is only as valid as a secondary source, but if your mother was a participant, the information is still primary information, just low-quality because of the distance.

 



 

 


Jan Murphy

Moderator Pro Tempore

 

 

 

On Thu, May 7, 2020 at 5:34 AM Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:

Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian



Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Jan Murphy
 

Adrian --

You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. 

I'm going to be very persnickity here but bear with me while I clarify

1) Calling your 90 year old mother "a primary source" is journalism usage.  In ESM's evidence anaylysis map, primary refers to the *information* not the source (container).
2) There are human languages which have data source as a required element ('linguistic postulate'), just as English has singular and plural.  If you were speaking such a language, you would describe your mother's utterance as "someone said so" (instead of your own direct knowledge, or the historical "No one alive could know" etc.)  If your mother chose to describe her own direct knowledge as "someone said so" rather than asserting her own direct knowledge, that could be viewed as deceptive, etc. In short, the categories are what they are, whether we use them correctly or not.

It's confusing enough dealing with the collision of primary/secondary being used two different ways on either side of the Atlantic and being used differently depending on what discipline we're in.  You might consider that the information is only as valid as a secondary source, but if your mother was a participant, the information is still primary information, just low-quality because of the distance.







Jan Murphy
Moderator Pro Tempore



On Thu, May 7, 2020 at 5:34 AM Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:
Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian




Re: Ancestry Message service - update

Sheila Beer
 

See enclosed screenshot  Click on 'Sent'


On Thu, 7 May 2020 at 18:12, John & Carol King via groups.io <jandcking145=sky.com@groups.io> wrote:
I cannot find my sent messages any more, amy ideas?

On Thursday, 7 May 2020, 17:24:38 BST, Sheila Beer <sheilamarcelb@...> wrote:


I suggest everyone looks for 'hidden' messages sent to themselves

How do we do that? 

You can look in your SENT file for any sign of messages you have not seen or answered.   You can also use the 'search' facility. 

On Thu, 7 May 2020 at 16:40, dhuhallow via groups.io <dhuhallow=yahoo.co.uk@groups.io> wrote:
I suggest everyone looks for 'hidden' messages sent to themselves

How do we do that?
 


Re: Ancestry Message service - update

John & Carol King
 

I cannot find my sent messages any more, amy ideas?

On Thursday, 7 May 2020, 17:24:38 BST, Sheila Beer <sheilamarcelb@...> wrote:


I suggest everyone looks for 'hidden' messages sent to themselves

How do we do that? 

You can look in your SENT file for any sign of messages you have not seen or answered.   You can also use the 'search' facility. 

On Thu, 7 May 2020 at 16:40, dhuhallow via groups.io <dhuhallow=yahoo.co.uk@groups.io> wrote:
I suggest everyone looks for 'hidden' messages sent to themselves

How do we do that?
 


Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Julia Vokes
 

Thank you Jenny for sharing your story.  I’m sure it will resonate with many of us!

Julia


On 7 May 2020, at 15:21, Jenny Cochrane via groups.io <cochranejenny@...> wrote:


I am finding this discussion very interesting and reflects many features of a brick wall it took me years to solve. 

A woman in my family tree built a whole new life for herself in order to drag herself up the social ladder and conceal her rather dodgy personal history. Born in the slums of Dundee in 1863, she always claimed she was born in France, but fortunately she did give an accurate DOB. Her first son was illegitimate but she always claimed a spurious surname for him and a putative father who I may or may not have identified correctly. She lied about her marriage on several census to conceal the fact that her 2nd son was also illegitimate (born to her eventual husband). So in theory, she could be seen as a primary source, but in fact she was entirely untrustworthy and lied consistently on numerous official documents.

It was only when her son included her maiden name as her middle name (another fib) on his WW1 next of kin record that I followed that as a lead. It led to his maternal grandmother and hence to the real and honestly recorded, Scottish birth record and his mother's true identity. Incidentally when this woman did eventually marry, she gave her mother's occupation as "annuitant" when in fact she was a linen worker who died in the workhouse!

It was the accumulation of many documents across 3 generations that led me to discern truth from lies and be sure I had conclusive proof.

Jenny

On Thursday, 7 May 2020, 13:34:49 BST, Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:


Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian




Re: Ancestry Message service - update

Sheila Beer
 

I suggest everyone looks for 'hidden' messages sent to themselves

How do we do that? 

You can look in your SENT file for any sign of messages you have not seen or answered.   You can also use the 'search' facility. 

On Thu, 7 May 2020 at 16:40, dhuhallow via groups.io <dhuhallow=yahoo.co.uk@groups.io> wrote:
I suggest everyone looks for 'hidden' messages sent to themselves

How do we do that?
 


Re: Ancestry Message service - update

ColinMc
 

I suggest everyone looks for 'hidden' messages sent to themselves

How do we do that?
 


Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Jenny Cochrane
 

I am finding this discussion very interesting and reflects many features of a brick wall it took me years to solve. 

A woman in my family tree built a whole new life for herself in order to drag herself up the social ladder and conceal her rather dodgy personal history. Born in the slums of Dundee in 1863, she always claimed she was born in France, but fortunately she did give an accurate DOB. Her first son was illegitimate but she always claimed a spurious surname for him and a putative father who I may or may not have identified correctly. She lied about her marriage on several census to conceal the fact that her 2nd son was also illegitimate (born to her eventual husband). So in theory, she could be seen as a primary source, but in fact she was entirely untrustworthy and lied consistently on numerous official documents.

It was only when her son included her maiden name as her middle name (another fib) on his WW1 next of kin record that I followed that as a lead. It led to his maternal grandmother and hence to the real and honestly recorded, Scottish birth record and his mother's true identity. Incidentally when this woman did eventually marry, she gave her mother's occupation as "annuitant" when in fact she was a linen worker who died in the workhouse!

It was the accumulation of many documents across 3 generations that led me to discern truth from lies and be sure I had conclusive proof.

Jenny

On Thursday, 7 May 2020, 13:34:49 BST, Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:


Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian




Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Hilary
 

There are many times when we are analysing the records we use that we could say that someone was being economical with the truth. Providing proof and discussing the reason why we have put more weight on one piece of information rather than another is something we should all be doing when there are conflicting pieces of information. Evidentia was created to help us deal with this.

Hilary


On Thu, 7 May 2020 at 13:34, Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:
Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian




Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Adrian Bruce
 

Jan - I'm fairly certain that you and I would be in 99% complete
agreement about how to process a particular source of information. I
agree wholly with Thomas Jones and delight in Judy Russell's "It
depends..." The important thing is the analysis and I do worry that we
obsess over concepts like primary & secondary to the detriment of that
analysis - an obsession that is not helped by the different
definitions that we use. You might call the 90y old mother a primary
source and I might not but we would both be thinking of the memory
issue, etc. Or, to take another example, someone in the US might refer
to a politician's memoirs as primary (they were there) while I might
call them secondary (they have a stake in them) but both of us should
be thinking about whether there is any reputational advantage to the
politician being economical with the truth.

Adrian


Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Jan Murphy
 

Before I address this, I'd like to drop in one more link to Dr. Thomas W. Jones' article Perils of Source Snobbery from OnBoard 18 (May 2012).

On Wed, May 6, 2020 at 2:55 PM Adrian Bruce <abruce6155@...> wrote:

The bit that I can't get my head around is that the US definition of
Primary (info) appears to depend solely on whether the knowledge is
first hand or not. So a 90y old mother would be regarded as providing
Primary info about the birth of her child 70y previously. Regardless
of any memory problems that might, or might not, apply. The typical UK
definition of primary puts an extra criteria (criterion?) about being
close to the event, so would regard the 90y old mother as providing
secondary info, directly encouraging a degree of scepticism about the
info being provided.

Note what Elizabeth Shown Mills says in Quicklesson 17:

Primary information: that is, information based on firsthand knowledge. Primary informants tell us about events or circumstances they personally participated in or witnessed. They might provide that information at or about the time the event occurred or at a later date. A time lapse might affect the quality of the recollection, but it does not alter the primary nature of the information.

Of course we take the time lapse between the event and the recording of the event into account.  But that's a separate issue from whether someone was an eyewitness to the event vs. having "somebody said so" knowledge.  And no matter what terms we use to refer to it, we have to correlate the information with other evidence and analyze what we've found.  If we're talking about a relationship found in a record, for instance, without analysis we're only doing kinship acceptance, not kinship determination (see Dr. Thomas W. Jones' handout for his FamilySearch class on Inferential Genealogy (PDF Download) (Wiki article) 

I have to say that code values in FH for original / derivative and
direct / indirect / negative from US practice would be most welcome.
(A lack of code values doesn't stop you thinking about those concepts,
of course).

Direct / indirect / negative evidence (i.e. "the dog that did not bark", which is not the same as negative findings "I searched but I couldn't find a record") applies when we are answering a research question. This might be more appropriate for a research report instead of flagging things up in Family Historian.  
 
However, even there, once I start thinking about it,
things start to crumble a bit. I did once ask in another place
(BetterGEDCOM? Don't think it was StackExchange...) about the IGI and
other indexes. The process of creating an index clearly creates a
Derivative. What is the information though? Primary or Secondary? It
doesn't make sense to drop it down to Secondary, because that's simply
repeating the fact that it's a Derivative. So that means, and this was
the consensus reply, the IGI and other indexes provide Derivative /
Primary info. This seems weird. In fact it then becomes (to get really
philosophical) difficult to see how information becomes Secondary
because the transformation it goes through is already taken care of in
the change from Original to Derivative. Something, I feel, is missing
from the definitions.

Mills says, in her article “Working with Historical Evidence,” [pages 180-181]:

 Above all, the researcher must resist the temptation to view “proof” as the sum of an equation. Validity cannot be calculated by a simple formula such as
 
Original + Primary + Direct > Derivative + Secondary + Indirect
 
Nor can validity be quantified by assigning points to these basic elements. Rather, the bottom line is this: Can the evidence drawn from this source’s information be considered accurate? Can it be trusted as a credible indication of what the original facts
were? The physical qualities of the source, the nature of the information, and the directness of the evidence are merely the skeletal framework upon which we balance our material while we apply the finer tests of credibility. Those tests will vary infinitely, depending upon the type of each source, the specific pieces of information involved, and our perception of their meanings.   
 
The situation can be summed up nicely by a phrase often used by Judy G. Russell:  "It depends."

If you have a derivative source such as the Massachusetts 5-year indexes of Births, Marriages, or Deaths, the information in the index is a pointer to the original records.  We have to take into account that the primary information in the original source has undergone at least one round of copying and perhaps more before we get to the printed volumes that we can view on Ancestry.  We need to understand the purpose for which the index was made (despite what many hobbyists might think, it wasn't created for genealogists to copy & paste into their databases). But the information in the index is still primary information.

Contrast this with the information in the NEHGS' Vital Records to 1850 books, which gathers information from a wide variety of sources. I have a birth date which can be found in the volume Vital Records of West Springfield to the year 1850 -- it was taken from a gravestone record (memorial inscription) in a cemetery. This is how I have a record for someone born in Germany before 1850 in this record of information from Massachusetts. Whichever way you look at it, this is secondary information -- the stone was likely ordered by descendants who were born after the event, it was created long after the deceased's birth date, and another layer or more of copying has happened in the creation of the printed volume.


 
Jan Murphy
Moderator Pro Tempore


Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Ian Thirlwell <fh.thirlwell@...>
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Adrian Bruce
Sent: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 10:55 PM
To: Family Historian Groups.io mailing list
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Genealogical Proof Standard

Philosophy warning:-

On Wed, 6 May 2020 at 19:50, Jan Murphy ... wrote:
... You may already be aware that the Strathclyde course (and Family Historian itself) uses the term "primary" and "secondary" in a way that differs from the usage in the USA where people are following the model of Elizabeth Shown Mills and her book Evidence Explained. ...
I've always thought that there was a little more to it than that, Jan.
As Mike says, the Primary / Secondary attribute sits on the link
between "fact" and source-record, so it is, quite naturally, easily
applied to the particular information inside the source relevant to
that fact. A census schedule, for instance, contains primary info
about occupation (say) and secondary about a birth.

The bit that I can't get my head around is that the US definition of
Primary (info) appears to depend solely on whether the knowledge is
first hand or not. So a 90y old mother would be regarded as providing
Primary info about the birth of her child 70y previously. Regardless
of any memory problems that might, or might not, apply. The typical UK
definition of primary puts an extra criteria (criterion?) about being
close to the event, so would regard the 90y old mother as providing
secondary info, directly encouraging a degree of scepticism about the
info being provided.

I have to say that code values in FH for original / derivative and
direct / indirect / negative from US practice would be most welcome.
(A lack of code values doesn't stop you thinking about those concepts,
of course). However, even there, once I start thinking about it,
things start to crumble a bit. I did once ask in another place
(BetterGEDCOM? Don't think it was StackExchange...) about the IGI and
other indexes. The process of creating an index clearly creates a
Derivative. What is the information though? Primary or Secondary? It
doesn't make sense to drop it down to Secondary, because that's simply
repeating the fact that it's a Derivative. So that means, and this was
the consensus reply, the IGI and other indexes provide Derivative /
Primary info. This seems weird. In fact it then becomes (to get really
philosophical) difficult to see how information becomes Secondary
because the transformation it goes through is already taken care of in
the change from Original to Derivative. Something, I feel, is missing
from the definitions.

Adrian


Re: Genealogical Proof Standard

Adrian Bruce
 

Philosophy warning:-

On Wed, 6 May 2020 at 19:50, Jan Murphy ... wrote:
... You may already be aware that the Strathclyde course (and Family Historian itself) uses the term "primary" and "secondary" in a way that differs from the usage in the USA where people are following the model of Elizabeth Shown Mills and her book Evidence Explained. ...
I've always thought that there was a little more to it than that, Jan.
As Mike says, the Primary / Secondary attribute sits on the link
between "fact" and source-record, so it is, quite naturally, easily
applied to the particular information inside the source relevant to
that fact. A census schedule, for instance, contains primary info
about occupation (say) and secondary about a birth.

The bit that I can't get my head around is that the US definition of
Primary (info) appears to depend solely on whether the knowledge is
first hand or not. So a 90y old mother would be regarded as providing
Primary info about the birth of her child 70y previously. Regardless
of any memory problems that might, or might not, apply. The typical UK
definition of primary puts an extra criteria (criterion?) about being
close to the event, so would regard the 90y old mother as providing
secondary info, directly encouraging a degree of scepticism about the
info being provided.

I have to say that code values in FH for original / derivative and
direct / indirect / negative from US practice would be most welcome.
(A lack of code values doesn't stop you thinking about those concepts,
of course). However, even there, once I start thinking about it,
things start to crumble a bit. I did once ask in another place
(BetterGEDCOM? Don't think it was StackExchange...) about the IGI and
other indexes. The process of creating an index clearly creates a
Derivative. What is the information though? Primary or Secondary? It
doesn't make sense to drop it down to Secondary, because that's simply
repeating the fact that it's a Derivative. So that means, and this was
the consensus reply, the IGI and other indexes provide Derivative /
Primary info. This seems weird. In fact it then becomes (to get really
philosophical) difficult to see how information becomes Secondary
because the transformation it goes through is already taken care of in
the change from Original to Derivative. Something, I feel, is missing
from the definitions.

Adrian

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