Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Creating Source Citations in Family Tree Maker 2011 - Post 3: Online Databases

One of the problems I've faced in creating source citations in Family Tree Maker 2011 using the source templates has been how to create a source for vital records indexes and images found online.  I didn't find a clear model in the available Source Templates.

First, I consulted Evidence! Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills (I have the first edition).  In Chapter 9 on "Local and State Records: Licenses, Registrations, Rolls & Vital Records," there are no Quick Check models for online state vital records indexes and images.  In Section 9.6 for "Basic Formats: Online Databases," there are examples of how to cite vital records index and image databases.  The section notes:

"Online abstracts, databases, and indexes can usually be cited like any authored article at a website. The key issue is that you are not citing original records. You are citing a derivative work created by someone other than the original creator. Therefore, your emphasis will be on the derivative. Whatever data your derivative provides about the original will be cited only as the source of your source."

The example for an Idaho Marriage Index on page 438 provides a good model to follow.  The Full Reference Note using this model is:

"Idaho Marriages, 1842–1996,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/search/ : accessed 3 February 2007), entry for William E. Sebring–Mable Shown, 19 February 1900; citing Ada County, Idaho, [Marriages] Vol. 4: 280.

The Ancestry.com source description for this database reads:

Upper Snake River Family History Center and Ricks College (Rexburg, Idaho). Idaho Marriages, 1842-1996 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.

There are other source citation models that can be followed based on Evidence! Explained - for instance, the QuickSheet:  Citing Online Historical Documents has a section for Vital Records.  A Full Reference Note for the above database would look like:

Upper Snake River Family History Center and Ricks College (Rexburg, Idaho). "Idaho Marriages, 1842-1996," database, Ancestry.com  (http://www.ancestry.com) : 2005, for marriage of William E. Sebring and Mable Shown. 

Original data: These records were extracted between 1982 and 1996 primarily from marriage records held at county courthouses. Specific source information is provided with each entry.

The QuickSheet Citing Ancestry.com Databases & Images also has a section for Basic Format: Databases (Created by Ancestry).  A Full Reference Note for the above database would look like:
"Idaho Marriages, 1842-1996," database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 January 2009, entry for marriage of William E. Sebring and Mable Shown, 19 February 1900, Ada County; citing Ada County, Idaho, [Marriages] Vol. 4: 280.
How does Family Tree Maker 2011 create this source citation?  I will use one of my own database entries in this specific database in the example.  Here's my attempt to create the Source. In the "Sources" Workspace, I selected and double-clicked the "Idaho Marriage Index" item from my Source Group list, and the "Select Source Template" box opened:

Ah, there's the Source Type of "Local and State Records: Registrations, Rolls and Vital Records" and I selected "State Level Records" in the Category field.  The Template field has options of "Miscellaneous Files," "Vital Records Certificate," "Vital Records Register," and "Vital Records amended." 

Hmmm, which one fits best?  I think "Vital Records Register" fits best, so I selected that and clicked "OK."  The Template has fields for (with my inputs):

*  State or country:  I input "Idaho"
*  Agency/creator:  I input "Upper Snake River Family History Center and Ricks College (Rexburg, Idaho)"
*  Record series: I input " Idaho Marriages, 1842-1996 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005"
*  Source repository:  I input "Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/)"
*  Call number:  I left it blank
*  Comments: I input "Original data: These records were extracted between 1982 and 1996 primarily from marriage records held at county courthouses. Specific source information is provided with each entry"

I obtained all of those bits of information from the Ancestry.com source citation for the database.  The entry before clicking "OK" looks like this:


After clicking "OK" the Source citation has been created (the Full Reference Note is in the bottom right-hand corner:


The source citation using the specified FTM 2011 Source Template fields reads:

Idaho, Upper Snake River Family History Center and Ricks College (Rexburg, Idaho), Idaho Marriages, 1842-1996 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005; Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), Provo, Utah, USA.
 
Well, that doesn't look like any of the Evidence! Explained models listed above, does it?  Why is that?  I think it's because the Family Tree Maker Source Templates used only the Quick Check Models listed at the start of each Evidence! Explained chapter in the first edition. 

I did find another Source Type that has a template that works fairly well:  the "Archives and Artifacts" type, the "Archived Material" category and the "Digital Archive" template.  The template fields, with my inputs, are:

*  Collection: "Idaho Death Index, 1911-1951 [database]"
*  Collection format: "index of death records"
*  Website creator/owner: "Ancestry.com Operations Inc., Provo, Utah, USA"
*  Website title: "Ancestry.com"
*  URL:  http://www.ancestry.com/
*  Year: "2003"
*  Comments: "Original data: Bureau of Health Policy and Vital Statistics. Idaho Death Index, 1911-51. Boise, ID, USA: Idaho Department of Health and Welfare."

The screen with the information filled in on the "Archives and Artifacts" is: 

The completed Source citation using this template looks like:

"Idaho Death Index, 1911-1951 [database]", Ancestry.com Operations Inc., Provo, Utah, USA, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com).

That looks more like the Evidence! Explained source citation, and the QuickSheet examples, doesn't it?

I hope that, in a future release, Family Tree Maker will add more Source Templates that enable users to easily create quality source citations for online index and image databases.


Disclosure:  I received a gratis copy of Family Tree Maker 2011 from Ancestry.com in November 2010.  I had purchased earlier versions of Family Tree Maker myself, but also received gratis copies of some versions from Ancestry.com (which I donated to a local genealogical society).  I try very hard to be objective in my comments about Family Tree Maker, and all genealogy software, subscription sites and websites.

6 comments:

Wolfsfire said...

I have a terrible time citing sources. Thank you for posting these instructions and examples.

Jenny Lanctot said...

Randy,

I'm really glad you're doing this, especially since I'm going back over all of my FTM citations as well. A lot of them are just ... wrong. For example, a 1920 census record merged from Ancestry.com shows:

Ancestry.com, 1920 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, The Generations Network, Inc., 2005), www.ancestry.com, Database online. Mayfield, Yankton, South Dakota, ED , roll , page , image 769.. Record for Vernon Slowey.

No enumeration district, no roll #, no page #. Happy hunting, those who come after me! (It literally took me about 15 seconds to find an example to post here - out of more than 1300 citations)

I'm seriously switching to RootsMagic 4 when I can finally log into the new FamilySearch. I have spent hours upon hours trying to fix this mess. I really don't want to have to keep doing it.

Russ said...

Randy,

In the Source Workspace, click on Add, select More, and enter the keyword of MAR (and stop). MAR or mar for Marriage.

Select Church Records, as it appears that it is an LDS church record (FHC, was my hint). Select image Copies, as I am guessing that is what you are looking at, then select Digital Online.

Fill in the blanks and you should end up with:

Upper Snake River Family History Center and Ricks College (Rexburg, Idaho). Idaho Marriages, 1842-1996 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. for marriage of William E. Sebring and Mable Shown.

(oh, I added the "for marrage of.." as if it were going to be for a Citation.

Is that what you are looking for?

Russ

Eileen said...

I too use FTM 2011, probably because I am so used to it. It also has some great features but source citations are sadly lacking. I was very excited about the new templates but my experience is that, in general, mine don't come out as close as I would like to EE.

I also find the category choices difficult as I can't seem to easily map them to the source template I want.

I have to say that I found RM4 to produce the closest citations to EE and it was relatively simple to enter one from scratch, but... And this is a big one, I have to export FTM to a GEDCOM. When I import that GEDCOM to RM4, I've lost all my media, my sources are no longer linked to events, and they are mixed up.

I think it is a shame we can't go back and forth between these software packages easily.

Russ said...

Eileen,

Did you use the Templates, when you said they didn't come out the way you wanted?

Did you try Keyword search for choosing the Template?

I have a couple of postings on my Blog on this template issue.

http://ftmuser.blogspot.com

Russ

Eileen said...

Thank you, Russ. I did use the templates but may have selected the wrong ones. I will persevere.

This is not source related but one reason I have trouble giving up my FTM is that it is the best of all for showing my everything I want to see on an individual (events, media, sources, notes) without having to use excessive keystrokes.