Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 4: Census Source Citation Comparison

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Family Tree Maker 2012 has a set of Source Templates created based on Elizabeth Shown Mills's book, Evidence! Explained.  I want to explore some of those in this post, but I also want to compare them with sources downloaded from the synchronized Ancestry Member Tree.  In my post Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 2: Syncing Both Ways on last Friday, I stated that:

"However, my earlier conclusion that I really want to download record images to my computer and attach them to persons and facts in my genealogy software database, rather than attach them to persons in my Ancestry Member Tree, is still operative. Why?

"1) Because I don't want the poorly crafted Ancestry.com source citations in my software database when I have my beautifully crafted source citations :) in my software database already."

I want to illustrate my concern here with examples for the 1920 United States Census, including using the Family Tree Maker 2012 source templates.   Here is the Person screen for my grandfather, Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1942)  from the database I synced between FTM 2012 and the Ancestry Member Tree last week:


1)  There is a Source for the "Residence" Fact in 1920 that was obtained in the Ancestry Member Tree by attaching the census record to this person.  The "Edit Source Citation" screen (obtained on the "Sources" tab by clicking the "Edit" icon on the right-hand panel) for the "Source" tab looks like this:


The "Reference Note" tab provides this source citation:

"Ancestry.com, 1920 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA. Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 on roll 323 (Chicago C), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1920; Census Place: Leominster Ward 3, Worcester, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_747; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 102; Image: 252.. Birth date: abt 1878
Birth place: Massachusetts
Residence date: 1920
Residence place: Leominster Ward 3, Worcester, Massachusetts."

2)  I created a source citation for a "Census" Fact using the "Population Schedule - United States, 1880-1930 (by Census Year" Source Template provided in FTM 2012.  The resulting "Edit Source Citation" and the "Source" tab looks like this:


The "Reference Note" tab provides this source citation:

"1920 U.S. census, population schedule, NARA microfilm publication T625, Roll 747, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Leominster Ward 3, Supervisor District 3, Enumeration District 102, Page 125, Sheet 14A, dwelling #175, family #288, Frederick W. Seaver household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com)."

3)  I created a source citation for a "Census" Fact using the "Population Schedule - United States, 1880-1930 (by Census Year and Location)" Source Template provided in FTM 2012. The resulting "Edit Source Citation" and the "Source" tab looks like this:


The "Reference Note" tab provides this source citation:

"1920 U.S. census, population schedule, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Leominster Ward 3, Supervisor District 3, Enumeration District 102, Page 125, Sheet 14A, dwelling #175, family #288, Frederick W. Seaver household; NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 747; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com)."
4)  I created my own free-form source citation in RootsMagic for the 1920 U.S. Census for this person, and this citation was imported into FTM 2012 via the GEDCOM file. The resulting "Edit Source Citation" and the "Source" tab looks like this:



The "Reference Note" tab provides this source citation:

"1920 United States Census, Population Schedule, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Leominster, Supervisor District 3, Enumeration District 102, Page 125, Sheet 14A, dwelling #175, family #288, Frederick W. Seaver household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com, accessed 21 March 2008), citing National Archives Microfilm Series T625, Roll 747."

5)  Some conclusions and comments (based on my desire to have Evidence! Explained quality source citations, and to minimize how much editing I have to do to make them that way):

*  The source citation generated by the Ancestry Member Tree (item 1 above) contains the correct master source information, but has no citation details about the dwelling number, family number, person's name, etc. It contains information about the person's estimated birth year  and birth place.  The source citation format does not follow the Evidence! Explained guidelines.

*  The source citation generated by the FTM 2012 source template for "Population Schedule - United States, 1880-1930 (by Census Year)" (item 2 above) puts the NARA publication number into the master source.  A user has to add the Roll number and all of the specific citation detail information.  This format is almost Evidence! Explained format - the difference is the NARA publication and roll number are at the end of the citation detail in the book.  This citation template could be used for all 1920 U.S. Census citations, which is a time saver.

*  The source citation generated by the FTM 2012 source template for "Population Schedule - United States, 1880-1930 (by Census Year and Location)" (item 3 above) is close to Evidence! Explained format.  The master source information includes the state, county and the NARA publication and roll numbers..  A user has to add all of the specific citation detail information.  The detail information about the database provider is provided after the citation detail.  A different master source will have to be created for each county and NARA roll number, which is not a time saver.

*  The source citation created by me using a Free-Form citation format for the 1920 U.S. Census population schedule requires the user to input all of the source citation detail (including the database provider, and NARA publication and roll numbers), but is exactly (well, as best I can) the Evidence! Explained format. 



*  When I imported my GEDCOM file (created in RootsMagic 4) into Family Tree Maker 2012, all of the source citations imported cleanly without mangling as free-form citations (i.e., not using a specified source template), with one exception:  The italicized titles of books, periodicals and database providers (as defined in Evidence! Explained), were imported with the <i> tag before and after the italicized text. 

*  My overall conclusion is that Family Tree Maker 2012 has made significant strides in getting source citation templates close to Evidence! Explained format, but the results are imperfect.

*  The more important conclusion is that the source citations created for an attached record in an Ancestry Member Tree leave a lot to be desired.  When a user attaches a document image in the Ancestry.com collection to their Ancestry Member Tree, the poorly-crafted source citation is added to the tree also.  By syncing to FTM 2012, that poorly-crafted source gets downloaded to FTM 2012 database.  Some people may not care and just want the document image - that's fine for them.  I want well-crafted source citations along with the attached document image - that's why I download the document images to my computer files and attach them manually to my genealogy database.

The above is why I'm going to continue using RootsMagic 4 to add content to my database, and to continue to create free-form source citations that can be GEDCOMed into any other database fairly well.

3 comments:

Dan Babish said...

Randy,

I use FTM 2011 and will soon use FTM 2012. I am fine with the source templates as being close to the Evidence Explained ones. My personal preference is to use the census template including the location as I like to have separate sources for each county. The location template also prompts me for the roll number which I like. I have the exact same problems with the Ancestry.com produced sources. I always download the images separately and create my sources within FTM.

Dan Babish
Columbia, MD

mottgene said...

Randy,
Like you, I download the census (or other documents) files and attach them to a person. I currently use FTM 2011 but may upgrade to 2012. Can you comment on the “bogging down” of the program that attaching a lot of files causes. Is there any limit to the amount of media you can import? How does RootsMagic 4 compare to FTM in this regard?
Judy Mott Strong
Warrenton, VA

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