See all posts in this series at Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 Compendium.
One of my major criteria for selecting a "preferred" genealogy management program is the ease in creating source citations. I want to demonstrate the source citation creation process in Family Tree Maker 2012 in a number of posts for several different types of records, both for my own education and, hopefully, to help others navigate this fairly complex process.
I worked through a Vital Records Certificate (on paper) source citation in Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 17: Creating a Vital Record Certificate Source Citation.
The next set of citations of significant interest to me is Vital Records Register information in online databases (e.g., on Ancestry.com, American Ancestors, etc.).
I'm going to work with my great-grandfather's birth, which occurred on 6 June 1852 in Medfield, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. His birth record is in the Birth register created by the Massachusetts State Archives, and is in an online searchable database at www.AmericanAncestors.org. I want to create a source citation for that Birth Register entry.
1) Here is the "Person" page in the "People" workspace for my great-grandfather:
In the screen above, in the right-hand panel for the Person, and in the "Source" tab, I clicked on the down arrow next to the "New" link, and selected "Add New source citation" from the dropdown menu.
2) The "Add source citation for ..." window opened, and I clicked on the "New" button (far left), and the "Add source" window opened, and then I clicked on the "More" button to get to the list of Source Templates, shown below:
The most logical Source Template group for a Birth Register is the "Local and State Records - Registrations, Rolls and Vital Records." I chose "State-Level Records" in the Category field and then "Vital Records Register" in the Template field. However, I found no specific template for an online database - either lists or images - in this Source Template group.
3) The "Vital Records Register" source template opened and I filled in the Source information as best I could, considering there are no fields for an online database. The data I entered was:
* State or Country: Massachusetts State Archives
* Agency/creator: [I left this blank after a trial didn't work well]
* Record series: "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910"
* Source repository: New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (http://www.AmericanAncestors.org),
Here is the screen for my entries into this source template:
I clicked "OK" on the screen above.
4) The "Edit source citation" window appeared with the source title and Repository filled in, and I entered this into the Citation Detail field:
* Citation detail: entry for Frank Walton Seaver, 6 June 1852; citing Medfield, Norfolk County Births, 1852, Volume 64, Page 198
Here is the completed "Edit source citation for ..." window:
5) The completed "Reference Note" source citation screen shows:
The resulting Source Citation for this birth register record using the only Source Template group that references vital records is:
Massachusetts State Archives, "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910", entry for Frank Walton Seaver, 6 June 1852; citing Medfield, Norfolk County Births, 1852, Volume 64, Page 198; New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (http://www.AmericanAncestors.org).
That does not come very close to the Evidence! Explained model for an online searchable image database of state vital records registers. The website information should be after the database title, the website title should be italicized, there was no field for access date, and the comma after 1910 should be within the quote mark. That is nitpicking, I know, but the nitpicks add up eventually, and the fewer things that have to be edited, the better..
Here is my interpretation of the EE model, from pages 467-469 of EE (First Edition) applied to my specific source citation:
Massachusetts State Archives, "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910," database, American Ancestors (http://www.AmericanAncestors.org, accessed 21 January 2010); entry for Frank Walton Seaver, 6 June 1852; citing Medfield, Norfolk County Births, 1852, Volume 64, Page 198.
I searched all of the other Source Template groups for online database templates that I could use, and the closest I could get to the EE example was in the "Archives and Artifacts" Source Template group, in the "Archived Material" Category and the "Digital archive" Template. The resulting source citation looks like this:
"Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910", New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (http://www.AmericanAncestors.org), entry for Frank Walton Seaver, 6 June 1852; citing Medfield, Norfolk County Births, 1852, Volume 64, Page 198.
The only things missing are, I think, the words "online database" and the access date. I entered "online database" into the "Collection format" field, but it did not print out in the source citation for some reason. I can add it to the Owner/creator line and it works. The access date issue is more difficult to fix, since it may vary for each source citation using this template.
While I was working with this, in the "Add source" window, I accidentally entered the word "online" in the field for "Source template" and saw a list of source template groups:
These are also Source Templates, but there is no obvious Source Template for an online vital records register database, similar to those common on Ancestry.com or AmericanAncestors.org. I didn't know that this set of generic (I think) source templates was available. I keep learning!
Did I miss something obvious for this type of record source? If so, will someone please tell me which Source Template group, Category and Template to use?
If I didn't miss it, I recommend that Family Tree Maker developers add an "Online Archive" or "Online Database" Template to the "Local and State Records - Registrations, Rolls and Vital Records" Source Template Group categories. Your customers will appreciate it.
The confusion over which source template to use, which took over two hours of my time today, for this particular source type adds to the conclusion that I made months ago to use Free-form Master source citations rather than the Source Templates in the genealogy software programs. However, to do that I have to learn how to create each type of Master Source. The Source Templates, and Evidence! Explained, are useful for that task.