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    Vital Records...how many

    I have not touched my genealogy in a long time and decided I need to clean up my sources before I can begin to do anything else.

    I understand how to apply a source and citation within Reunion and how do edit the source list by adding or deleting fields to your liking. What I am still confused about is something that is probably very basic but is not sinking into my head, making a source that is used for many people.

    With records like Vital Records and the Census, I am not sure I am using it correctly.

    When I find someone's death cert on ancestry.com, I am able to view the cert and download it, which I do. But is something like the database "Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1958" my ONE vital records source for ALL people I find in there? Since I am able to download a copy of the actual death cert in some cases, can that document be the source? Because in other cases I've used it that way!

    In other words, I have a lot of sources, that are vital records that stem from the TN Death Records. Every time I found a death cert for someone in this database I cited it as a vital record and filled out the following source fields this way:

    Title: Certificate of Death for Bertha Tallent
    Locality: Chattanooga, Hamilton Co. TN
    Dated: filed 19 Sept 1935
    Location of Source: copy in my records

    In the free form text I would transcribe the entire death cert info for that person.

    Now I am wondering if the source TITLE should just be "Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1958" and all the details I was transcribing onto the source in the free form section (birth, parents names, burial location, cause of death), I should be putting in the details section of the individual it applies to. Therefore not having a zillion "Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1958" for so many individuals.

    For people who I have copies of birth/death certs that were emailed or given to me, I've made sources for each and every one of those documents. Is this right?

    Basically the same scenario for the census. Instead of listing "1930 Census" and have that one source be used for everyone I find in that census, I've made a new 1930 Census source, for anyone I found, titling it the 1930 Census and filling in the rest of the field info with the persons information found on the census, instead of putting it in the details field of the source citation. Aagh!

    I only have 233 sources right now, so before it continue down the wrong path, I'd like to get it cleaned up!

    I've spent tonight trying to look over Ben Sayers site and things written by Elizabeth Mills but I can't find the exact answer to my question. Maybe it's just common sense and I just am not getting it. :-(

    Thanks, Sandy
    Sandy D.
    iMac
    Reunion 10

    #2
    Re: Vital Records...how many

    You'll get different answers to this - here's what I do:

    Each piece of paper - literally or figuratively if it's something you download that you could print out - is its own source.

    So with the census, I could have dozens of different sources for the 1881 British Census, and dozens of sources for the 1891 British Census, and dozens of different sources that are "Birth Certificates"

    For most things, including census I print them out if I got them online and file them by the source number assigned by Reunion. I also stored electronic versions of sources with a scheme that allows me to find them by source number, either from the source number directly, or by having the file name as a field in the source.

    I have never wrapped my head around the methodology that people use where they have a single source for a census and cite all occurrences from that census using a single source number - for one thing - how to you file the paper copies so you can easily retrieve them if every print or file of the 1930 US census is filed by the same source number?

    Roger
    Roger Moffat
    http://lisaandroger.com/genealogy/
    http://genealogy.clanmoffat.org/

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Vital Records...how many

      Originally posted by Macworthy View Post
      I've spent tonight trying to look over Ben Sayers site and things written by Elizabeth Mills but I can't find the exact answer to my question. Maybe it's just common sense and I just am not getting it. :-(

      Thanks, Sandy
      Sandy,

      If you want, you can go to evidenceexplained.com. Once there, you can register and ask a question or two. Usually, ESM will answer your question within 24 hours. At her site, she has a bunch of downloadable files if you want to see how to do various citations.

      Jeff
      Mac OS X 10.12.3, Reunion 11.0.11
      http://www.thefamilyofmichaelmccormack.wordpress.com

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Vital Records...how many

        Here's what I do:
        Title: "Death certificate for name" where name is the name of the person as listed on the death certificate.
        Media Type: scanned image
        Location of Source: Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1951
        Publisher Name: ancestry.com

        I also include Date, Locality, File number, Register and informant.
        Tom Boyd
        boydroots.net

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Vital Records...how many

          Originally posted by thboyd View Post
          Here's what I do:
          Title: "Death certificate for name" where name is the name of the person as listed on the death certificate.
          Media Type: scanned image
          Location of Source: Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1951
          Publisher Name: ancestry.com

          I also include Date, Locality, File number, Register and informant.
          This is similar to what I've been doing. I guess I just want to make sure that when I am using a database, that it's ok to make a source like this for every individual I find in there. It feels redundant in a way, like I should only use the main database as the source and then reference my person and their pertinent information in the details section on the source line.

          And as Roger mentioned with the census, if you look at my source lists in Reunion, you'll see many I have many instances of the exact same census (same year, state, township, etc) but what makes them all different is that the families are found on different pages within that census. Causing me to have what looks like a lot of the same, but in reality I am referencing different pages.

          Thanks for both your insights.
          Sandy
          Sandy D.
          iMac
          Reunion 10

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Vital Records...how many

            I take what I would call the opposite approach. I have probably 50 death certificates from Missouri. All of them are cited to the single death certificate source for that database. In the source detail, I put the certificate number, and the information I get from the source goes in the note for the relevant individual(s).

            There is no benefit to my filing system for the individual approach, as the digital copies are all stored by name in a single folder.

            I also personally would find it extremely annoying to deal with 50 substantially identical sources in this situation. The name or location of the database changes, and now it must be changed 50 times. Lengthy source detail fields are difficult to edit and often screw up printing and reports. I value being able to recognize that information is from a particular source (i.e. #7, which I know to be this database) from the family card view, and to tell if multiple people in a view are sourced to the same source. And, although this may not be relevant to too many other, I want my sources to match correctly to the database when I upload to WeRelate, and the dozens of identical sources would be a nightmare there. For all these reasons I really dislike it when I get a gedcom that uses this approach, and have to change them all by hand.

            So, in short, for me at least, no benefits and significant drawbacks to the approach you are taking.

            Amelia

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Vital Records...how many

              I had a lot of trouble thinking about sources when I was starting out, but, being an information scientist by training, had built-in concerns about retrievability and standardization of useful metadata fields.

              The way I've found to think productively about sources is to try and distinguish between what is "fixed" and what is "flexible." For instance, US Census records have a set of fixed fields (although they vary a bit more before 1880). Taking the 1880-1940 US census, I have a set of fields that get filled in (e.g. 1920 US census; location; enumeration district' page#, source [e.g. ancestry.com]; file# [e.g. TX-0147 would be the 140th census record for Texas]). In the detail field I put the name of the householder and the lines in the census (I don't put the family number because I've encountered too many pages where this is messy or overwritten). So I end up with a unique source item record for that page of that year of that census for that state but the blank framework still remains in "sources." This system allows me to capture 3 or 4 families on the same census page (farmers in TX or TN, for instance) or families that overlap 2 pages (sequence numbered TX-0147a, 0147b). A book would have the standard bibliographic information as fixed fields and the page number as detail. In the case of something like Texas death certificates, I have the ESM-level information (original source, proximate source like familysearch.org or ancestry.com) in a free-text field and the details (county, name, film number, certificate number, my file number) in details. If it's just an index, I code the file number to reflect that. FWIW, I keep 2 sets of paper files, one by family group and one by source type, as well as digital images of anything that has been imaged, with the same file#. Comes in handy from time to time.
              Last edited by Gregg; 21 September 2012, 08:27 AM.
              Kate McCain

              Researching BARKER, FESSLER, KENEIPP, MCCAIN, MORRIS, MONTGOMERY, RAIFORD, WOOTTON,

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Vital Records...how many

                Obviously, this is a personal thing. I've come across enough completely un-sourced genealogies over the years that I would never begrudge another person's citation style. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who even makes an effort to cite sources is already among the elite.

                Over the years, I have shifted from using fewer, more general sources towards a greater number of more specific sources. The question I always ask myself is whether someone else could easily find the same piece of information anew using only my source citation for guidance. Whether I can find it in my own files is secondary. The word "easily" is important, too. In the case of a database of extracted information, a simple search will often be all that's needed to find the information again, so a single source can cover a vast number of citations. The classic example for me is the Social Security Death Index. This single source is cited hundreds of times in my main Reunion file.

                On the other hand, I record all original birth, marriage and death records (either certificates or register entries) as separate sources. I do this even if multiple records appear on the same page. Similarly, each census household gets its own source. I even use separate sources for databases if determining which specific record I'm referring to may not be straightforward. For example, if a death index provides evidence for a mother's maiden name, citing just the database might lead someone on a wild goose chase trying to find the mother's death record rather than the child's. While I'm still perfectly happy with my single "Social Security Death Index" source, I have been gradually revisiting a lot of my past work and switching over to these more specific citations.

                Why have I evolved in this direction? Well, let me tell you a little story. 15-odd years ago, I spent months of my weekends and evenings working my way through four rolls of microfilmed German church records for a single small town in Westphalia. All of the records were handwritten in old German Script, which was a challenge in and of itself. Most were in German, but some were a strange amalgam of German and Latin. I slogged through the films, extracting records of interest (which amounted to about two thirds of the total) and recording everything in Reunion 4. Good times. In my youthful wisdom, I meticulously cited every single bit of information from those hundreds of hours of work... with the same source. Ah, source number 7. Still it taunts me. Did that birthdate come from a birth record? A baptism or confirmation? Age at marriage? Age at the birth of a child? Age at death? I have no idea! Could another person find that same piece of information anew using just my citation? Yes, they probably could. But could they do so easily? Not a chance. Nor could I.

                I should mention that there was a transitional period during which I continued to use less-specific sources, but made extensive use of the citation detail field. I still think that's a perfectly reasonable approach, but I've been unhappy with how that field is handled (or not, as the case may be) when a Reunion GEDCOM is imported into another application. Separate detailed sources also make the source multimedia field more useful in my opinion.
                Brad Mohr
                https://bradandkathy.com/genealogy/

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Vital Records...how many

                  Originally posted by Amelia View Post
                  I take what I would call the opposite approach. I have probably 50 death certificates from Missouri. All of them are cited to the single death certificate source for that database. In the source detail, I put the certificate number, and the information I get from the source goes in the note for the relevant individual(s).

                  There is no benefit to my filing system for the individual approach, as the digital copies are all stored by name in a single folder.

                  I also personally would find it extremely annoying to deal with 50 substantially identical sources in this situation. The name or location of the database changes, and now it must be changed 50 times. Lengthy source detail fields are difficult to edit and often screw up printing and reports. I value being able to recognize that information is from a particular source (i.e. #7, which I know to be this database) from the family card view, and to tell if multiple people in a view are sourced to the same source. And, although this may not be relevant to too many other, I want my sources to match correctly to the database when I upload to WeRelate, and the dozens of identical sources would be a nightmare there. For all these reasons I really dislike it when I get a gedcom that uses this approach, and have to change them all by hand.

                  So, in short, for me at least, no benefits and significant drawbacks to the approach you are taking.

                  Amelia
                  Amelia (or anyone), I am a brand new Reunion 10.0.4 user and I just migrated a file of about 200 people from Ancestry.com. What I have for sources (right now) sounds a lot like your approach. For instance, there is just one source for the 1940 US Census for everyone. My problem is when I try to attach an image of the actual Census page to a Source from within a person's Event Source Citation, the image shows on every person's 1940 US Census citation. How can I work around this without having to create a new 1940 US Census source for every single person?

                  - Bill

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Vital Records...how many

                    Originally posted by Bill H. View Post
                    Amelia (or anyone), I am a brand new Reunion 10.0.4 user and I just migrated a file of about 200 people from Ancestry.com. What I have for sources (right now) sounds a lot like your approach. For instance, there is just one source for the 1940 US Census for everyone. My problem is when I try to attach an image of the actual Census page to a Source from within a person's Event Source Citation, the image shows on every person's 1940 US Census citation. How can I work around this without having to create a new 1940 US Census source for every single person?

                    - Bill
                    You could add the image to the people(s) concerned's multimedia window

                    or

                    accept this as another compelling reason to have a different source in Reunion for each image/piece of paper.

                    Roger
                    Roger Moffat
                    http://lisaandroger.com/genealogy/
                    http://genealogy.clanmoffat.org/

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Vital Records...how many

                      Originally posted by theKiwi View Post
                      You could add the image to the people(s) concerned's multimedia window

                      or

                      accept this as another compelling reason to have a different source in Reunion for each image/piece of paper.

                      Roger
                      Thanks Roger.

                      Comment

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