Friday, May 20, 2011

More on Free-Form Citations and Template Source Citations

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In my post yesterday, Dear Randy: What are Free-form Citations, and why are you using them?, I defined my reasons for using Free-Form Source Citations rather than Evidence! Explained quality Template Source Citations in my genealogy family tree database in RootsMagic 4.  Interested readers in my complete archive of source citation posts can read through the list at The Seaver Source Citation Saga.

I promised to show some examples of the two and describe my method for developing the Free-Form Sources, and will provide two in this post. 

In RootsMagic 4, the user can choose from a wealth of different Master Source citation templates that are built around the examples in Evidence! Explained (and several other sources).  Each EE-quality source has a unique master source form with fields to be filled out by the user, and then each source citation has a set of fields for the unique citation - the page number or other identifier for the fact.

The EE-quality sources for published books and periodicals are fairly straightforward, and Free-form master source citations can be created for them fairly easily. 

In this post, I will show EE-quality sources for a vital record certificate and for an online database from a multi-database website.  These two are more complicated, and more difficult to create in a Free-Form source citation.

1)  Here is the EE-quality source template for a vital records birth certificate, showing the fields filled in:


With the fields filled in, the three different source citations for this entry are:

Footnote: San Diego County, California, birth certificate no. Department of Public Health No. NC-867 (1943) (31 October 1943), Randall Jeffrey Seaver; San Diego County Clerk's Office, San Diego, Calif.
Short Footnote: San Diego County, California, birth certificate no. Department of Public Health No. NC-867 (1943), (31 October 1943), Randall Jeffrey Seaver.
Bibliography: California. San Diego County. Birth Certificate. San Diego County Clerk's Office, San Diego, Calif.

2)  The Free-form source citation for a Vital Records birth certificate is below:


With the fields filled in, the three different source citations for this entry are:

Footnote: San Diego County, California, Birth Certificate, Department of Public Health No. NC-867 (1943) (31 October 1943), Randall Jeffrey Seaver.
Short Footnote: San Diego County, California, Birth Certificate, Department of Public Health No. NC-867 (1943) (31 October 1943), Randall Jeffrey Seaver.
Bibliography: California. San Diego County. Birth Certificate. San Diego County Clerk's Office, San Diego, Calif.

There are differences between these two sets of citations:

a)  The EE-quality Footnote and Short Footnote source citations read "birth certificate no. Department of Public Health No. NC-867 (1943) (31 October 1943)" while the Free-form Footnote and Short Footnote source reads "Birth Certificate, Department of Public Health No. NC-867 (1943) (31 October 1943)."
b)  The EE-quality Footnote source reads "Randall Jeffrey Seaver; San Diego County Clerk's Office, San Diego, Calif." while the Free-form Footnote source reads only "Randall Jeffrey Seaver."

I could not modify the EE-quality source to delete the word "no." after "birth certificate." Since the Repository is in the database, I don't think that it is that important in the Footnote.  I like the Free-form citations better, but they aren't "perfect" suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or book.  But my Free-form source citation is "near EE-quality" in my view.

3)  The EE-quality source template for an online database (I chose the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 database for which I have hundreds of citations) is shown below:



With the fields filled in, the three different source citations for this entry are:

Footnote: "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910," online database, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (http://www.AmericanAncestors.org: downloaded 5 March 2009), Marriages: Volume 502, Page 297, Leominster, Worcester County entry Frederick W. Seaver and Alma Bessie Richmond; citing original records in the Massachusetts Archives.
Short Footnote: American Ancestors, Marriages: Volume 502, Page 297, Leominster, Worcester County entry Frederick W. Seaver and Alma Bessie Richmond.
Bibliography: "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910." Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society. American Ancestors. http://www.AmericanAncestors.org: 2009.

4)  Here is the Free-form source citation screen for this database:


With the fields filled in, the three different source citations for this entry are:

Footnote: "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910," online database, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (http://www.AmericanAncestors.org), citing original data at Massachusetts State Archives, Marriages: Volume 502, Page 297, Leominster, Worcester County entry for Frederick W. Seaver and Alma Bessie Richmond.
Short Footnote: "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910," online database, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors, Marriages: Volume 502, Page 297, Leominster, Worcester County entry for Frederick W. Seaver and Alma Bessie Richmond.
Bibliography: New England Historic Genealogical Society. Online database. American Ancestors. http://www.AmericanAncestors.org.

The only difference between these two sets of source citations is the "downloaded 5 March 2009" in the  EE-quality Footnote.  I could have added it to the Page number in the free-form Detail field, but I don't have that information available for hundreds of source citations that refer to this Master Source.

So, again, it isn't perfect EE-quality, but it's nearly perfect. 

Eileen asked how I perform this process.  Here's my method of creating a Free-form Master Source based on an EE-quality Master Source template:

1)  For one specific source, I create an EE-quality source citation for that source but name it with an EE-prefix - the second one above was named "EE- Massachusetts VRS 1841-1910 - AmericanAncestors."  This is my "model" for the Free-form source.

2)  For the same specific source, I create a Free-form source citation for that source but name it specifically.  for example, as "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 (AmericanAncestors.org)"  One of the reasons I like RootsMagic to create source citations is the ability to create "shorthand names" for the sources (Legacy permits this too, but FTM 2011 does not).  I digress. 

3)  To create the Free-form citation, I go back to the EE-quality source and Copy the Footnote created.  I close that, then go to the Free-form source and Paste the EE-quality Footnote into the "Footnote" field.  I Cut the specific citation data (the Page number, or the other information) from the Footnote and Paste it into the "Page number" field.  I do the same thing for the "Short Footnote" and "Bibliography" entries - Copy them from the EE-quality source citation and Paste them into the Free-form source fields for "Short Footnote" and "Bibliography."  For some that I'm really used to, I just copy the "Footnote" entry, Paste it into the "Short Footnote" and "Bibliography."

4)  There is always some cleanup required when I do the Copy and Paste process.  In the Free-form source, I can edit out extraneous punctuation, and add more detail wherever I want.

5)  I can then use the "EE - Master Source" format for any other similar Free-form Master Source just by editing the details copied from the EE-Master Source."  For example, for another American Ancestors database, I would create the Free-form source for it, copy the EE - Mass Vital Records" Footnote, and edit it with the correct database name. 

That's my process.  It works for me.  If it works for you, fine. 

To re-iterate the most significant reason for doing this is to create near-EE-quality source citations in a Free-form that will transfer via GEDCOM to another genealogy program or to an online family tree without getting mangled in the process.  My process does it - I haven't found any other process that does.

1 comment:

Eileen said...

Thank you, Randy. I found this explanation very helpful. I have been using FTM 2011 and also own TMG, RM4 and Legacy 7. I can see the difference doing the citations in RM4. It is much easier. My frustration with citations in FTM 2011 is that whether I use the template or not, I can't seem to ge them close enough to EE in all the formats (reference, short, etc.)

I will have to take another look at RM4.

Thanks, again.