Introduction - 2 Well, I guess we all are, otherwise we would not be gathered here this afternoon. I am sure that we have all spent many hours, even years, in gathering all the references we can to our own particular families. We have spent considerable sums of money in purchasing computers, programs, reference books, copies of certificates, CD collections and innumerable postage stamps. Our relatives have been asked, even coerced into revealing the little snippets of legend and scandal that put the flesh onto the bare bones of our genealogies. Some are, even at this moment in time, in foreign lands trying to lever extra secrets from alien repositories. It will not be unexpected that during the course of this day, someone will be bailed up and forced to give an explanation of how to get that detail about cousin Fred that has so far eluded us. And, when we leave, connection to the Internet will again be difficult as we all try to gain access at once.
Introduction - 3 Our erstwhile friends and neighbours shudder when we invite them to “have a look at what I discovered the other day! “Just by chance, the computer is active and, it won’t take a moment! “I’ll start off at a familiar point for you........ “
My starting point - 1 You remember John was my earliest Quaker....
My starting point – 2 - well, here’s some things I’ve found out about him!
The response One should not be surprised if the reaction is a little luke-warm. “Gee, that’s great! “But where did ya get it?” Now, your friend or neighbour can ask you the question. What about those others who come along in future years when you are no longer around to give the answer? How will you prepare an answer for them? Ladies and gentlemen, we have to learn to document all our sources so that others can go back to them when a doubt arises. This afternoon’s exercise is an introduction to one way of doing this.
Preamble In the early days of computerised genealogy, database sizes were restricted and everyone tried to conserve space. As a result, a minimum of notes were entered and, wherever possible, codes were chosen for abbreviations to the names of counties, provinces, states and countries. These devices allowed a considerable advance in records but produced, in their turn, the possibilities of confusion. Just as the town name Richmond when unqualified could refer to a place in half a dozen different countries (or in 41 of the United States of America), so the code NFK unqualified could mean a county in England or an off-shore island of the state of New South Wales.
Preamble - 2 With the phenomenal growth in the space available for storage on modern PC systems we no longer have to consider such restrictions and, in general, we may avoid future confusion by writing all place names in full, even to the extent of adding latitude and longitude. So now we have the ability to give a precise account of the source of any piece of information. This can now be presented in a standardised format so allowing our computers to sift through information rapidly and point to the repository where another researcher may find that piece of recorded information. It also means that we can collect a number of less precise details and assess the overall reliability of the background ideas expressed. “Mony a mickle maks a muckle”
Rules for Good Documentation Document as you go. Enter sources and notes in a consistent format. Enter a source description only once. Use confidential information with discretion and sensitivity. List all sources found for each event. Identify and document conflicting or missing information. Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, Family History Documentation Guidelines, July 2000, San Jose, CA; SV-PAF-UG.
Rules for Good Documentation - 2 Avoid using abbreviations. Specify additional research where needed. Strive to obtain primary resources for each event. Welcome input and constructive review of your documentation. Identify all researchers by name for all contributions, including your own. Recognise that good documentation requires continuous refinement. Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, Family History Documentation Guidelines, July 2000, San Jose, CA; SV-PAF-UG.
How to Create a Source Citation (These guidelines are specific to PAF)
Creating a New Source Citation There is a lot of fuzzy thinking in this area. The Silicon Valley people are not alone in coming up with phrases such as “Creating a New Source.” Stop and think about it! The information was obtained from somewhere. This was the source, and there is no way in which we can go about creating a new source to record it. What we are really talking about is making a template for information that may often come from a common source which can be modified to suit a set of specific circumstances. Our purpose for doing this is to point others back to the pre-existing source so that they may check upon our individual interpretation of the recorded facts. Once again, we acknowledge the importance of primary records. The new record we will produce is best referred to as a Source Citation.
S = Source Citation Selection Buttons Notice all the letters “s” The Latter Day Saints recognise that people very quickly forget where their information came from. Yet this piece of knowledge is one of the most important when judging the accuracy of statements of fact. Thus PAF has adopted the “constant reminder” approach on this screen. Here are recorded the most important facts in any person’s life, so a request is made for a source citation for each piece of information. Now let’s look at these as you would see them appear on your screen.
Source Citation Selector Buttons - 2 These buttons are either plain or have an asterisk before them. In the first case no citation is available: in the second, one or more citations have already been attached. Clicking on one of these buttons will allow you to add a citation to that particular item. For a completely new database the procedure will be slightly different to that to be used in all subsequent instances.
Selecting a Source Only on the first occasion that you use this feature will a window appear, as it will in a moment, on the left and as it is described in the Silicon Valley Manual. From then onward, an alphabetic list of those sources entered in your particular database to date will be displayed. This is shown, below right. In either case, to add a citation, click the New button at the bottom of the window.
A Methodical Approach The next screen shows the preset Template that is chosen as the basis of organisation. Fill in each section in sequence (examples will be given later). Tab from field to field. Enter closes the window. This part of documentation requires the most thought.
The Template This is the form that will be used to enter information about the Source. Here is a blank template.
Creating a New Source Citation Adding sources to a database is a three part process. At this point you type in the source description which includes the title, author, publication information and any other information that describes the source as a whole. Let’s imagine we are recording something we found on the 1881 British Census disks. Type in “1881 British Census transcript” for the Source Title, “Public Records Office, London, England.” for the Author, and “Electronic Transcript to CD by LDS.” for Publication Information. Note the Sample Footnote that is created. Click on Repository Oh! Here we go again!
Recording a Repository This time, the only suitable button seems to be this one that is labelled Add. Fill in the requested information. In this case, Name would be Family History Library and Address would be 35 North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84150 USA. The telephone number is 1-801- 240-3702. Now the Repository panel should look like this.
How the Source and Repository Lists develop The initial hard work is worth it. Just like a person’s name, this information will only need entering once. From then on, it is available to you for reuse at any time.
Applying these Ideas For the purpose of this exercise, we will use an actual record that exists in my database. Currently it has only one Source referenced, so we will add another. We will do the following things in the order shown. 1.Click on Primary person to edit. 2.Click on the “*s” after Events, birthplace. Sources for birth of Frederick Andrews are shown. Note the Citation detail added. 3.Click New. 4.Select “Frederick Andrews of Ackworth” and add details. 5.Enter in Film/Volume/Page Number “Childhood 1850-1859” page 13. 6.Add Date of Entry. 7.In Comments enter the relevant paragraph. 8.Click OK, then Save.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel! This button helps you find a Source List while you are working. View all Sources
Guidelines for Source Citations Source Titles Author Publication Information Source Call Number Actual Text Source Comments Repository Citation Detail The preparation of Source citations may be summarised under the following headings. Each item in turn is expanded in the following slide series. Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, Family History Documentation Guidelines, July 2000, San Jose, CA; SV-PAF-UG.
Source Titles - General A Source Description is only entered once and becomes part of an alphabetised Source List. How it is worded determines how it shows up in the list. Changing any field in the Source Template will be reflected wherever that template is used. Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, Family History Documentation Guidelines, July 2000, San Jose, CA; SV-PAF-UG.
Source Titles – Basic Rules For a published book, use the title on the title page. Check the Print title in italics box. For an article, enter the title between inverted commas, do NOT italicise. Unpublished works should be given a descriptive title that clearly and uniquely identifies it. Where there is the possibility of multiple source citations select a title that is general enough to be used in many different applications, with the specific source described in the Citation Detail. Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, Family History Documentation Guidelines, July 2000, San Jose, CA; SV-PAF-UG.
Source Titles – Basic Rules 2 by record type; by place; by surname. The same source can be entered in a number of different ways - Listings by more than one of the above are possible, for example name and place, but beware of titles becoming too long and thus difficult to sort.
Author Surname first, comma, given names Give all names, or if more than three add et al. Specify an editor as: Smith, John; editor. Name author of a journal, diary or letter. Name the recorder or transcriber of an interview, audio-tape, or video-tape. Indicate the name of an institution that created a record, index or database as follows: NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, 191, Thomas Street, Haymarket, NSW 2000. Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, Family History Documentation Guidelines, July 2000, San Jose, CA; SV-PAF-UG.
Publication Information Published books: enter place, name of publisher, copyright date, in that order. Include edition number and reprint date if available. Published articles: Name the periodical or newspaper, place of publication, edition number, reprint date, etc. The name of the periodical should be enclosed by codes..... so that it appears in italics. For an unpublished or privately published work, enter the type or form of the document. For an object such as an engraved cup, sampler, medal, etc., include anything known about its origin, manufacture, creation and ownership. Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, Family History Documentation Guidelines, July 2000, San Jose, CA; SV-PAF-UG.
Source Call Number Enter the library call number or microfilm number if located in a library or archive. Source call numbers are written without No. or # and identifies the source as a book, film, or fiche. If the source is in a private collection, include any identifying label details. If the source is in a computer file, identify the disk it is on or an Internet URL. Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, Family History Documentation Guidelines, July 2000, San Jose, CA; SV-PAF-UG.
Actual Text The text you want to appear every time you cite the source should be entered here. Examples of actual text in a Source description include subtitles of books, introductions to church parish records and text that refers to a number of individuals. Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, Family History Documentation Guidelines, July 2000, San Jose, CA; SV-PAF-UG.
Source Comments Include anything that will help in evaluating the worth of the record. Describe the condition of the record. Indicate the nature of the original source if the record is an abstract, an index, or a typescript. Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, Family History Documentation Guidelines, July 2000, San Jose, CA; SV-PAF-UG.
Repository Name of the library or archive where the original source was viewed. The agency or archive holding a transcription or abstract of the original copy. Name the person in possession of a book, letter or document, even if the person only has a copy of the record. Specify the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, (FHL) if the microfilm or microfiche was borrowed from the FHL. Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, Family History Documentation Guidelines, July 2000, San Jose, CA; SV-PAF-UG.
Citation Detail Used to expand information, so page numbers, line numbers, etc. may be added. If applicable type the date that the record was made. This is the date the record was actually added to the source and NOT the date you entered it into your files. Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, Family History Documentation Guidelines, July 2000, San Jose, CA; SV-PAF-UG.
In conclusion It is hoped that this presentation together with any discussion that followed it will have placed before you a number of ideas. We hope these will enable you to modify your current Family History database so that it will help those who come after, to expand upon your current knowledge. By your provision of clear markers, any new facts that are discovered should be quickly comparable with those cited in other resources already referenced by you. In pointing you to the efforts that are currently being made to create general standards for reporting we hope we have helped you to understand the importance of collecting all the evidence that is available. Sydney DPS, November 2000