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#1 keithcstone

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 02:37 PM

Long long ago in a galaxy far far away I had the theory that I would research the direct lines with little understanding how that would work. Much of that had to do with the available methods at the time. As I became older and (hopefully) wiser and got better at math I came to realize that the so called "direct" lines weren't so direct or distinct. Being a history minor that should have dawned on me sooner, but I'll blame that on having literally zero knowledge of my maternal heritage until I was in my late 30's. The math part comes into question on my paternal side too, since the reverse geometric progression says there wasn't a wide swath of available spouses and the odds of certain folks *not* being related are pretty slim.

 

Thanks to the internet I've found a fairly large swath of books, both commercially and self published, covering the various branches of my family from various directions. Now I understand the the authors of these aren't infallible, but I don't subscribe to the theory that unless you have a notarized document in front of you it's not true (and old REALLY true if you witnessed the signing). I also understand that often authors use other references as sources, and could propagate an error that was in the original. So be it. The fact is not all of these people are wrong or poor researchers, and when you correlate this with other sources and public records you end up with what I'd call a "preponderance of evidence" proof.

 

I'll refer to an argument about one of my ancestors. She's referred to as Elizabeth Brooks in two books. One of her sons has been referred to as Michael Brooks Costner. It was common in the time to have the surname name of the mother, or paternal grandmother, as a middle name. Documentation of her father is a tad hazy, and the author of the first book that referred to her Elizabeth Brooks had a few errors in his research. The author of the second book did talk to the author of the first, but also says she referenced the documents in the courthouse in the 30's, but those documents are no longer available. According to purists there is no "proof" her maiden name is Brooks, and have asked that name be stricken from the records on WikiTree due to lack of evidence. Obviously I'm not in agreement with that request.

 

Since this is not a singular occurrence I've been working to enter ALL of the referred families in several publications prior to 1900. This is not such a herculean effort as it may seem. What I'm finding is there will be a small number of people to enter from the early years, and multiple families are migrating together so there's a large overlap. What this means is source A may have 2500 people, and source B may have 2500 people, but 1500 of them are in source A. Source C also has 2500 people, but 1000 of them are in Source A and 1000 in Source B. 

 

What I've started doing is more explicitly citing my sources as I've been reviewing. For example I may have:

 

 #37 Jane Doe born 1878 married John Smith born 1876 in 1896. John was the son of Simon Smith.

 

For that I have reference number 37 for Jane Doe, so I enter that as a fact, with the fact source being Doe Genealogy page 100. I also have a name source for Jane Doe, John Smith, and Simon Smith. There are birth sources for Jane and John, and a source for the marriage, and a relationship source for John and Simon. One line with 7 source references. 

 

As there are bits of information in each source that are "filling" such as dates, locations, etc., then other internet searches become more practical since a John Stone is a tens of thousands search, but John Stone in Surry Co, North Carolina in 1810 is a different situation. The RM tools suddenly starting working. That said, much of that is not considered "proof", as there's not a marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc, among them.

 

I'm trying to enter all the references for each fact to support my "preponderance of evidence" theory. It's a bit of a pain as when I'm working through a book with:

 

   John Doe         100     b 1792

 

Even though the info may already be in the database, that's three clicks after I've already clicked on the person. Considering that's going to be four more clicks when I try to sync with TreeShare it's starting to get pretty painful. If I was interested in the information only for myself I really wouldn't enter it, but since I'm trying to share this with others I'm unsure if I'm wasting my time or being helpful.

 

 

 

 



#2 JimDavis79

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 10:20 AM

Please forgive me, but I'm having trouble finding the question.  It is good practice to enter all source/ citation information that supports each fact, even if the support is of questionable surety.  Having the bad info mixed with the good provides the full panoply of information about the event, so long as you can distinguish in some way the surety level.  Yes, it takes a lot of time to enter all the data, but then when you sit back and contemplate the data, information sometimes emerges.  For example, I found a pattern of immigration from Scotland to San Diego in one family, without having letters from one urging the others to come soon.

 

If you could be a touch more explicit on your question, I'm certain the good folks on this forum will help!


Best regards, Jim

"When you shake my family tree, nuts fall out."


#3 Renee Zamora

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 04:09 PM

I would use one of the book source templates and enter the "John Doe         100     b 1792" into the Research Notes on the Detail Text tab.


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#4 keithcstone

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 06:20 PM

Please forgive me, but I'm having trouble finding the question.  It is good practice to enter all source/ citation information that supports each fact, even if the support is of questionable surety.  Having the bad info mixed with the good provides the full panoply of information about the event, so long as you can distinguish in some way the surety level.  Yes, it takes a lot of time to enter all the data, but then when you sit back and contemplate the data, information sometimes emerges.  For example, I found a pattern of immigration from Scotland to San Diego in one family, without having letters from one urging the others to come soon.

 

If you could be a touch more explicit on your question, I'm certain the good folks on this forum will help!

Sorry if I digressed, but my main question was the value of entering the same source on multiple facts for a single individual and if others find value in that practice. I've found it useful in cross-correlating the various books I've tracked down. For me, if I look at a birth date or marriage and see it's referenced in 3 books but I can't find a marriage or birth I find more credence in that than something referenced in some my heritage or Ancestry entries.

 

More specifically *I* find value in that, but I see multiple comments that these are not considered "proof", and since the whole point of me entering all this information is to share research with others is the amateurs don't care and the serious consider it irrelevant I might be wasting my time.



#5 KFN

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 08:57 PM

.... but my main question was the value of entering the same source on multiple facts for a single individual and if others find value in that practice. ...


It depends on what you consider a “source”. For me a “Source” is the book, newspaper, census, interview, etc. I enter this once into my database. I then cite the portion of the source that presents evidence for the fact/event I am putting forth.

I personally do not give additional credence to a source because it provides evidence for multiple facts/events. A source is either primary, secondary or tertiary , where primary sources are closer to being record at the time of the event and tertiary farthest away. Or in the case of a fact recorded by the governing body responsible for the fact type. In and of itself a primary source can be overridden by a secondary source if the secondary source has multiple other secondary sources that state the same fact data.

Proof is a tough word to define specifically. Primary sources have a high degree of validity but are not proof without a doubt, this is why you should look for other sources when you can and when you run out you don’t say you have “proof”, but you have a “preponderance of evidence”. Just saying! :-)

Amateurs generally don’t care about sources and the value of good scientific methods, but that’s not why we do this is it? I have this issue with my wife’s family. They have stories that are gospel in the family, and will not believe DNA evidence, or that babies can’t be born to a man that was dead for 11 months. People will believe what they want to believe!

#6 Trebor22

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 04:21 AM

Proof is a tough word to define specifically. Primary sources have a high degree of validity but are not proof without a doubt, this is why you should look for other sources when you can and when you run out you don’t say you have “proof”, but you have a “preponderance of evidence”. Just saying! :-)

Amateurs generally don’t care about sources and the value of good scientific methods, but that’s not why we do this is it? I have this issue with my wife’s family. They have stories that are gospel in the family, and will not believe DNA evidence, or that babies can’t be born to a man that was dead for 11 months. People will believe what they want to believe!

I am an amateur genealogist (never been paid for my hobby!) but I do care about proof!

 

In my own experience I have found some books relating to parts of my family that are a mix of 'research' and 'rumour' separating one from the other means doing my own research, of course they are still of great interest and I seek to record the information along with my own research,  differences would prompt me to check my own research and correct if I'm wrong. For me its part of the process for others not.

 

In the end its entirely a personal choice rather than right or wrong and if you happy with an approach - I say go with it!



#7 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 06:28 AM

I am an amateur genealogist (never been paid for my hobby!) but I do care about proof!

 

I think "evidence" is a better word than "proof". I'm not sure you ever achieve actual "proof" in genealogy.

 

Some kinds of genealogical evidence is better than other kinds of genealogical evidence, but even the best genealogical evidence can sometimes include inaccuracy.

 

Jerry



#8 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 06:43 AM

I think the overarching theme of this thread is the credibility of compiled family histories, and whether finding the same data in different compiled family histories adds anything to the credibility of the data. Such compiled family histories can be very reliable or they can be very unreliable. And they often copy from each other, so seeing the same data multiple times may or may not serve to increase its credibility. Copying inaccurate data does not improve its accuracy. Sometimes it's easy to determine if different authors have copied from each other and sometimes it is not so easy.

 

I wish we didn't have to use compiled family histories at all, but sometimes that's all we have because there are no original documents extant that can provide the same data as do the compiled family histories. My Uncle Jack Bryan produced extensive printed but unpublished compilations of our Bryan and Cox family histories. He put thousands of hours into the effort over his lifetime, and I know from discussing it with him that he tried to be very careful.  But his compilations did not cite any sources. I work with them extensively, and I am finding his work to have been very accurate. But because of his lack of citations, I work very hard to come up with original and contemporaneous records that serve as evidence for Uncle Jack's compilations.

 

Jerry

 



#9 Renee Zamora

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 08:09 AM

...my main question was the value of entering the same source on multiple facts for a single individual and if others find value in that practice.

 

Yes, I will cite the same source on every fact it supports. I like seeing what built my whole understanding of the person fact, by fact, not just on the person level. 


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#10 TomH

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 09:48 AM

my main question was the value of entering the same source on multiple facts for a single individual and if others find value in that practice. 

I would not have thought there was any reason NOT to cite the same source for every fact assertion for every person for which it provides evidence in support thereof, especially if it is not weaker than any other evidence already cited for a given fact assertion.


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#11 zhangrau

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 10:32 AM

I've held off on commenting here for awhile, but I'm ready to chime in:

 

#1 -- I strongly agree with Jerry's note that genealogy focuses on evidence, rather than proof.

 

#2 -- I refer to many sources as full of clues, but not documented well enough to say they are full of evidence.

 

#3 -- I have never bothered with the drop-down or tab for designating Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary quality sources. I have at least a couple of reasons:

 -- a -- These selections are buried under multiple clicks, are unavailable to narrative reports, and thus are a waste of my time.

 -- b -- Some sources are Primary for one fact, and Tertiary for another, and RM provides no means for indicating such. For example, a Death Certificate is of Primary quality for date and cause of death, Secondary for Burial date and location, and often Tertiary for Birth date and location.

 

#4 -- I attempt to corroborate every fact through as many sources as possible. Birth date and location can be found on a certificate, an index, a census, an obituary, a biography, etc. The more that these sources agree with each other, the better. I think they are less likely to be simply copied one to another than are family histories and/or online (undocumented) trees.

 

#5 -- I also agree with Renee that some sources support multiple facts. A census entry may contain info about name, family relationships, birth date & location, marriage date & number of children, immigration date, occupation, residence, and census enumeration (did I miss anything?) I paste the census source into each of those facts. Some facts will be corroborated by other sources, some will not.

 

#6 -- In addition to pasting each Source to every appropriate fact, I also paste it into the person's General source list. Consider this comparison: when examining linked multimedia, RM allows a selection of All media, General Media, media by Citation, or media by Fact. That's powerful. Nothing like tht usability exists in the Citation Manager, although it is certainly on the "enhancement Wish List."

 

#7 -- When I first started with FO/RM, the Citation Manager always showed the sources alphabetically. At some point (RM4?) the view was changed to chronological -- sort of. The sources are shown in the order entered, not in a strictly chronological sense as in publication date. This means that the Citation Manager presents an essentially random list of sources. An extreme example: my first North American ancestor has 93 General Sources. That randomly-organized list is quite inefficient and awkward.



#12 Trebor22

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 12:34 PM

 

I think "evidence" is a better word than "proof". I'm not sure you ever achieve actual "proof" in genealogy.

 

Some kinds of genealogical evidence is better than other kinds of genealogical evidence, but even the best genealogical evidence can sometimes include inaccuracy.

 

Jerry

Jerry is correct I should have used 'evidence' rather than 'proof'  - my intended meaning though remains the same I prefer to record the source! but its a personal choice :-)



#13 TomH

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 12:50 PM

#3 -- I have never bothered with the drop-down or tab for designating Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary quality sources. I have at least a couple of reasons:

 ...

-- b -- Some sources are Primary for one fact, and Tertiary for another, and RM provides no means for indicating such. For example, a Death Certificate is of Primary quality for date and cause of death, Secondary for Burial date and location, and often Tertiary for Birth date and location.

If you are referring to RM's QoS field, it is at the citation level, not the Master Source. Because each citation of a Master Source is unique to the person, couple, fact, event, then the QoS can be different for each use of that source. Of course, that does not change your first reason - the QoS is so inaccessible and ineffective for anything, why bother... Will RM8 exploit it further?... It's so far removed from Ancestry and FamilySearch Family Tree, one has to wonder. 


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#14 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 01:37 PM

#3 -- I have never bothered with the drop-down or tab for designating Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary quality sources. I have at least a couple of reasons:

 -- a -- These selections are buried under multiple clicks, are unavailable to narrative reports, and thus are a waste of my time.

 -- b -- Some sources are Primary for one fact, and Tertiary for another, and RM provides no means for indicating such. For example, a Death Certificate is of Primary quality for date and cause of death, Secondary for Burial date and location, and often Tertiary for Birth date and location.

 

Further elaboration on what Tom already said. RM does indeed support different QoS values for otherwise identical citations. However, the Memorize and Paste mechanism for citations sets all pasted QoS values the same. There is no good/easy/usable mechanism to overcome this obstacle because after Paste operations you might have to go back to multiple citations and change the QoS value for some of them. This is a very awkward thing to do in the existing RM user interface - just another nail in the coffin of how inaccessible and ineffective RM's QoS mechanism really is.

 

But the weaknesses in RM's handling of citation QoS is just one piece of the larger problem of RM's overall weakness in handling citations. This overall weakness in handling citations is the reason I shifted from being a source lumper in RM to being a source splitter in RM. I didn't want to become a source splitter and I still don't want to be a source splitter. But RM's weaknesses in managing citations essentially gave me no other choice.

 

I have argued that RM needs some sort of "shared citation" facility, where one citation can be applied to multiple objects such as multiple people and multiple facts. And by one citation that can be applied to multiple objects, I mean one citation, not different copies of the same citation. The fly in the ointment of my idea is QoS because the exact same citation - truly the same citation and not copies of the same citation - will usually have different QoS values for different objects. For example, a death certificate may be a citation for both death and birth, and is usually a better citation for death than it is for birth. I'm not quite sure how to make QoS work with my idea of shared citations. It will be interesting to see what RM8 offer us to address this situation and whether any such RM8 offering really solves all the problems.

 

Jerry



#15 TomH

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 01:57 PM

I'm not quite sure how to make QoS work with my idea of shared citations. It will be interesting to see what RM8 offer us to address this situation and whether any such RM8 offering really solves all the problems.

On the first part, a new table, the CitationLinkTable, could be added to link between the "fact" and the master citation which would remain in the current CitationTable which links to the SourceTable to get the Master Source data. The CitationLinkTable would take over the fields from the current CitationTable that link Citations to "facts" along with the QoS field for each. What were identical citations now has a unique link record for each in the CitationLinkTable and can be merged in the CitationTable to become the master citation. Sounds pretty straightforward but the devil is in the details.


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#16 KFN

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 02:42 PM

I am an amateur genealogist (never been paid for my hobby!) but I do care about proof!

Im sorry that what I said here was offensive to you, however, you misunderstood the definition of amateur I was using as defined by Websters dictionary. See #2 below.

Webster says:

Definition of amateur

1 : one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession
She played soccer as an amateur before turning professional a tournament that is open to both amateurs and professionals

2 : one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science
The people running that company are a bunch of amateurs He's a mere amateur when it comes to cooking

If you are following the basic guidelines of good genealogy research, sourcing, and documentation, then you are not an amateur. You may not be paid but you are doing a professional job. We all have probably known people who are being paid but have no training or experience doing what they do! But this is just how I use this term.

#17 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 04:36 PM

On the first part, a new table, the CitationLinkTable, could be added to link between the "fact" and the master citation which would remain in the current CitationTable which links to the SourceTable to get the Master Source data. The CitationLinkTable would take over the fields from the current CitationTable that link Citations to "facts" along with the QoS field for each. What were identical citations now has a unique link record for each in the CitationLinkTable and can be merged in the CitationTable to become the master citation. Sounds pretty straightforward but the devil is in the details.

 

That's clearly the way to do it. But I think also that certain kinds of changes would need to be made in the user interface. We are already hoping and perhaps have been teased that there are significant improvements in the user interface. What I'm specifically talking about here is a way to get to these proposed "master citations" without going through the Edit Person screen. Right now, you can create, edit, and delete Master Sources via Lists>Sources without going through the Edit Person screen. But for Source Details (i.e., Citations) you can only create, edit, and delete them from the Edit Person screen (actually, you can edit them but not delete them from Find Everywhere but if you do so you can't tell which person or fact the Citation goes with). It's like you would need Lists>Master Citation List, which hopefully would be more of a live report than is the current Lists>Source List.

 

Jerry



#18 zhangrau

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 05:07 PM

Jerry, your suggestion for Lists>Master Citation List has merit, and issues to be handled smoothly.

 

File > Properties shows that I currently have 15,659 Master Sources. I can jump through the list by typing the first few characters of a title, but the is no effective search capacity. When I've used Find Everywhere to hunt for Master Source whose full name is stuck in my memory, it takes NINETY MINUTES to run. Yeesh. I can go shopping while that search is running....

 

File > Properties also shows 2,426,823 citations. I sure hope that your suggested Master Citation List has a GREAT search capacity....