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1 Sources & Notes Documentation & Analysis for Family History Records Sources & Notes Documentation & Analysis for Family History Records Colin A Ackehurst.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Sources & Notes Documentation & Analysis for Family History Records Sources & Notes Documentation & Analysis for Family History Records Colin A Ackehurst."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Sources & Notes Documentation & Analysis for Family History Records Sources & Notes Documentation & Analysis for Family History Records Colin A Ackehurst Genealogy Group Mornington Peninsula PC User Group Acknowledgements to the Silicon Valley PAF Users Group & Peter Beckett of the Peninsula Computer Genealogists(PCG) Acknowledgements to the Silicon Valley PAF Users Group & Peter Beckett of the Peninsula Computer Genealogists (PCG)

2 2 Topics Why Document ? What is a Source? Source Purposes The difference between a Source and a Note Sources and Citations Rules for good Documentation Entering Sources Analysing Sources/Notes

3 3 Why Document Page 1 ●The accuracy and completeness of family history information can be gauged by the quality of the sources of the information. ●When information is entered into a family history file based on Aunt Mildred always saying that “Great Grandad William was born in Manchester in 1845”; a good genealogist will want to know what other sources there are to validate that detail.

4 4 Why Document ? Page 2 1.The wrong ancestors can be linked to the family 2.Many hours of time can be wasted searching in the wrong places 3.Locating the correct ancestral information will take much longer 4.Family history will become family lore More …. When misinformation is entered in a database, it can lead to a variety of errors.

5 5 Why Document ? Page 3 5.Records submitted to other databases promulgate bad information 6.Anyone trying to validate your work will be unable to find your sources

6 6 Why Document ? Page 4  In the excitement of finding some long sought after source of your roots, it is easy to want to enter the data and “add the source information later”.  Conscientious researchers should try to resist this urge and always document as they go. It’s easy to say this but not always easy to carry it out!  One way to assist in appropriate documentation is to have a good filing system for keeping records of your sources. This can be based on folders for each family which makes it easier to select individuals on sources such as Census returns etc.

7 7 What is a Source? Page 1 A Source is a document or record that provides family history information or data e.g.  A Census will contain details about whole populations  A Parish Record will contain details about events that occurred within a church congregation over many years.  Public Records will contain details about information for events recorded by public agencies e.g. Births, Deaths & Marriages.

8 8 Source Purposes  To remind you where you acquired the information.  To give an indication of the relative "quality" of the information.  To show where additional information might be located. (Example: reference from a census index.)  To assist in an analysis or conclusion regarding the information itself or with regard to conflicting information: "This date is one month earlier than that given in a family record found among the effects of...," etc. All of the above can be important in satisfying yourself and others about the correctness of your genealogical research.

9 9 Sources and Notes Page 1 It is often difficult to figure out when something should be documented as a Source and when something should be an entry in the Notes section of your family history program This distinction is ultimately a personal preference but the following approach is set out as guide: A Source entry should be used when the item being documented is an event or statement from a source that confirms a genealogical relationship. A Note entry could be used for detail which is not able to be entered in a Source entry

10 10 Sources and Notes Page 2 Sources: Events:  Births  Christenings / Baptisms  Deaths  Burials / Cremations  Marriages Notes: Examples:  Residences  Occupations  Name Variations/Spelling  Background Information etc

11 11 Sources and Citations  All information comes from somewhere --- a Source  We normally use the term Source when we really mean Source Citation The difference then between a Source and a Source Citation is :-  Source – the actual record that contains the information  Source Citation – the detailed information required to identify the source as a distinct, traceable record

12 12 Rules for Good Documentation  Enter sources and notes in a consistent format  Use confidential information with discretion and sensitivity  List all sources found for each event  Identify and document conflicting or missing information  Use only commonly accepted abbreviations  Specify additional research where needed  Welcome input and constructive review of your documentation  Identify all researchers by name for all contributions, including your own. Use your own name, not I or me

13 13

14 14 Entering Sources There are two basic concepts concerning how to enter Sources. Each has merit and is acceptable

15 15 Entering Sources Entering Sources - Alternative Concepts - Each Certificate, Church record, Census entry etc is uniquely described in the Source’s Title field Or The general Source for the record is entered in the Source’s Title field and the details of the specific document or record are entered in the Citation Detail

16 16 Unique Source Entry Unique Source Entry - e.g. Birth Certificate- Title Publisher Repository Citation Detail Arthur J Ackehurst, Birth Certificate Register of Births for England In possession of Colin A Ackehurst Entry 360; 3 Nov 1875

17 17 General Source Entry General Source Entry - e.g. Birth Certificate- Title Publisher Repository Citation Detail Comments Register of Births for England General Register Office Birth Certificate - Arthur J Ackehurst, Entry 360; 3 Nov 1875 Certified copy in possession of Colin A Ackehurst

18 18 Analysing Sources/Evidence “… Every relationship, every fact, every identity we establish is simply a decision we base upon the evidence we have accumulated. Our challenge is to accumulate the best evidence possible and to train ourselves to analyse and interpret that evidence …” “Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian” by Elizabeth Shown Mills

19 19 Analysis Using Notes Most Family History programs have provision for entering “freehand” notes for individuals which can cover any aspect of an individual’s life. One approach that could be of help is to set up the Notes provision so that it allows analysis of data from Sources and other documents

20 20 Analysis Using Notes Residences Occupations Name (variations) Age (variations) Sources often include reference to data other than the prime purpose of the Source. Notes can be used for analysis of this data e.g.. by listing all instances during an individual’s life

21 21 NAMES: 18 Mar 1821 (Marriage) - ACKURST, John 1841 (Census) - AKEHURST, John 1851 (Census) - AKEHURST, John 5 May 1855 (George's marriage) - AKEHURST, John 2 Feb 1859 (Death) - AKEHURST, John AGES: 25 Mar 1821 (Marriage) Calculated age is either 30 or (Census) Shows age as 50 (i.e. Age Range 50-54) 1851 (Census) Shows age as 64 (Calculated birth date Abt 1787) 1859 (Death Cert.) Shows age as 68 (Calculated birth date Abt 1791) Comments on AGES: John was 34 at marriage date of 1821 if his Census 1851 age of 64 was correct. Alternatively John would have been 30 at marriage, based on his age of 68 on the Death Certificate of GENERAL COMMENTS: The Death Certificate shows Informant was Harriet Piper of Swiftsden, Etchingham. She may be a link to John's daughter, Rebecca, as the 1881 Census CD Roms show a "Rebecca" born in Etchingham of the right age married to a "James Piper", born in Ticehurst. See Rebecca's Notes for further information. Set out below are Census Returns for 1851 & Incomplete as the 1861 Census record may not be the correct family ???? Extract from Notes analysing Source Entries

22 22 Analysis of Evidence “… Above all, we must remember that historical and genealogical truths are elusive. … … We cannot – a generation, a century, a half-millennium later prove a relationship beyond a shadow of doubt. …” ‘Citation& Analysis for the Family Historian’ by Elizabeth Shown Mills

23 23 The End (or is it) ?


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