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When there are too many sources

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#1 SomebodySmart

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 12:29 PM

Sometimes there are too many sources. Source titles often consist of the name of the record group and the years it covers.

 

A birth source could be a birth record ... yes, but the birth record of the person's child, giving the ages of the parents. 

 

Sources need labels: This person's birth record. This person's death record. He is the groom on this civil record of marriage. She is the bride on this church record of marriage. 

 

Maybe if RootsMagic gets it started, FamilySearch would follow suit. That would make things easier when importing people from somebody else's work, taking the essential sources to check.

 

I don't need to confirm the person's birth date eight times from seven children's records and the person's own birth record.



#2 KFN

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 01:11 PM

This is the primary reason I don’t import directly from other people.  Many people have no standards for how they title things or use sources, and when they do, they very often clash with my standard.  A standard that I’ve built over decades of input and based on my background in Library Science and Database Development and GEDCOM.

 

This is also why I’m not a fan of the Mills “Evidence”, NOT because it is wrong (she has done a great job), but because it can be too complicated to follow for the average Joe/Jane.



#3 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 11:07 PM

I constantly run into the "too many sources" problem, counterintuitive as that might seem. After all, how can sources be bad? But for example, if you have a death certificate for a death, then there is seldom a need for any other source for the death fact. And in particular, a death index for the same death certificate is surely not a very useful source if you also have the actual death certificate. The problem is that I often find the least useful sources before I find the more useful sources and then I find myself loathe to remove the less useful sources even though I know that I should. I refer to the process of weeding out the excessive sources as curating the sources. It's a very inexact science that's very difficult. I'm never sure if I have hit a happy medium or not.

 

Jerry



#4 SomebodySmart

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 10:05 AM

I constantly run into the "too many sources" problem, counterintuitive as that might seem. After all, how can sources be bad? But for example, if you have a death certificate for a death, then there is seldom a need for any other source for the death fact. And in particular, a death index for the same death certificate is surely not a very useful source if you also have the actual death certificate. The problem is that I often find the least useful sources before I find the more useful sources and then I find myself loathe to remove the less useful sources even though I know that I should. I refer to the process of weeding out the excessive sources as curating the sources. It's a very inexact science that's very difficult. I'm never sure if I have hit a happy medium or not.

 

Jerry

On that point, the index card may be available on a free website, whilst the actual document image may be where "The sign said, you got to have a membership card to get inside."

 

What the document is (a birth record of this person, not a mention of his or her age when a child was born) would also have to be tagged with accessibility (available right here, available for free but not here because of copyright or terms of use, available behind a paywall, available in person) 



#5 Don Newcomb

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Posted 09 December 2020 - 03:18 PM

RootsMagic wants you to split master sources into infinitesimal slices. For instance, they want every census tract, if not page, to be a separate master source. But they only give you a flat table with which to manage master sources. My database has >29,000 citations. Using RM's system would result in probably 5,000 master sources. Completely unworkable. For this reason, I have one master source for each of the 1850-1940 US decennial censuses and a single "census" source to cover all other censuses. Similarly, I have one source for all newspaper articles, except for obits, and another for obits. I don't have a separate source for each newspaper cited. IHMO, it's the only way to handle a large number of citations and remain sane.     



#6 zhangrau

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 09:39 PM

"Too many sources" sounds, to me, like an opinion, not a fact.

 

My approach is to document as thoroughly as possible, and to recognize (and try to explain), any discrepancies uncovered.

 

I started my research in 1988, and have built my database very nearly daily, so that these are my current File > Properties:

   People - 436,043

   Families - 166,006

   Events - 993,904

   Places - 60,196

   Sources - 16,969

   Citations - 2,518,553

   Repositories - 2,472

   Multimedia Items - 31,854

 

I use a single database to contain multiple projects, and yet over 83% of the people are linked to my "main" tree. If I run a Kinship List for myself, it runs over 2,500 pages. So I don't run it anymore.

 

One of my goals is to LOOK for interconnections and distant relationships. That puzzle intrigues me.

 

I have modified my Master Source Template to include the Repository in the Bibliography. I think it's important to recognize that, someday, my research will no longer be in my control - I'm not the Highlander <snicker> - and, therefore, my documentation has evolved to allow anyone (current readers of my reports, or a future researcher) to have enough info to find and double-check any and all of my citations.

 

My current computer is a Dell with a 3.3GHz processor and 32 GB of RAM. I can't afford a Cray, so this will have to do...

 

And, as Jerry likes to point out, I'm just a sample size of one, and your mileage may vary.