In the process, the Media attached gets downloaded to my computer files and I can see the Source citations and the Media found by my searches on my iPhone. I was curious to see what the Source Citations looked like.
Here is the Person page for my grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942). I highlighted the Birth Fact for him (with the "Media" tab selected), and saw:
There are 9 source citations for this Birth Fact, and 7 media items. The 7 media items are U.S. census records for 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930, the World War I Draft Registration, and the Massachusetts Town Vital Record Collections, 1620-1988. The two other Birth sources (without images) are the Leominster, Mass. Birth Certificate and the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 entry for his birth, which I created using Evidence! Explained template source citations.
So what do the Source Citations created by the Ancestry Member Tree while using the iPhone App look like? Here is a screen capture for the 1930 U.S. Census entry in Family Tree Maker 2012:
Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626,), iPhone Tree, http://www.iPhone Tree, 1930 United States Federal Census. residence date: 1930
residence place: Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts
birth date: 09 Oct 1876
birth place: Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States.
The Ancestry.com source citation for this record on the website and in the Ancestry Member Tree is:
1930 United States Federal Census, San Diego County, California, population schedule, Leominster, enumeration district (ED) 226, page 3-A, dwelling 44, family 69, Frederick W. Seaver household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 July 2011); citing National Archives microfilm publication T626, Roll 192.
In my opinion, the source citation created by Ancestry.com using the iPhone App is pretty useless. It doesn't tell me the person's name, NARA roll number, the Enumeration District, the page number, the household information, or the access date. All of that is available for a source citation of the Ancestry record that was attached.
In addition, it provides a Birth Date and Birth Place in the Citation Text. That information is not in the census record - the record provided only an age of 52 and a birth place of Massachusetts. The Source citation and text should reflect what's in the record. The Birth Date and Birth Place are available in the information for the person for which the Census record is attached.
Another example: The United States World War I Draft Registration card for my grandfather. The Source citation for the image attached to him using the Ancestry.com iPhone App, as recorded in the Family Tree Maker 2012 database, is:
Ancestry.com, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.Original data - United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Admini), iOS Application, http://www.iOS Application, U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. birth date: 09 Oct 1876
birth place: Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
residence place: Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts.
The Ancestry.com record source citation on the website and in the Ancestry Member Tree is:
The Evidence! Explained format source citation is:
"U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 October 2010), Worcester County, Massachusetts, Leominster City, Draft Board 14, Frederick Walton Seaver entry, dated 18 September 1918.
The iPhone generated source citation is somewhat mangled with words not completed and the iPhone App URL incomplete. I captured that several months ago, and the App wording may have changed a bit. The App citation doesn't tell me the person's name, but it does provide the birth date and a birth place in the Citation Text, but it's not clear to me if that was taken from the record itself or from the information for the person.
I'm frustrated by all of this. My judggment is that this is a major FAIL for Ancestry.com.
Ancestry's record source citations are at least somewhat logical and useful, but are not in EE format. OK, I get that not everyone wants to do that. But why did Ancestry.com create a new and fairly useless source citation for the iPhone and (I assume) the Android app? Why not just use the Ancestry record source citation, with a notation that the source was attached using the iPhone App?
I think that these source citations are really bad examples for researchers and family members alike. In the best case, the source citation formats should be modified to reflect modern citation principles and quality.
Millions of document images have been attached to persons, source citations and Facts in Ancestry Member Trees using the smart phone Apps, so the "source horse is out of the barn," so to speak. I think that now is the time for Ancestry.com to improve their source citations, at least for the most popular record collections, not sometime later after billions of records have been attached.
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/08/source-citations-created-by-ancestrycom.html
Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver