Monday, April 22, 2013

FamilySearch Improves Record Sourcing and Linking

As part of the FamilySearch Redesign, they have significantly improved the record sourcing function in the Historical Record Collections.  Here is an example:

I was looking for my great-grandfather's birth record in the Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915 record collection.  I entered First Names = "frank" and Last Names = "seaver" in the search fields on the collection page and got results:

My target is the first one on the list, Frank Walton Seaver.  I clicked on his name, which showed me the record summary for him:

The format of the record summary has changed.  There is a "Sources" box on the right of the screen above with links to "Add to My Source Box" and "Go To My Source Box."  This refers to the "Source box" feature in the FamilySearch Family Tree, and is how a user links a record in a historical collection to a person in the Family Tree.

There are also links in the box below the "Sources" box for:

*  "View image" - clicking this takes the user to the record image
*  "Save image" - saves the record image
*  "Search collection" - takes the user back to the specific record collection (this is new and a very useful link!)
*  "About this collection" - takes the user to the FamilySearch Research Wiki article for this collection (another very useful link!)

Down at the bottom of the screen is the Source Citation that will be included in the Source Box:

"Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 Apr 2013), Frank Walton Seaver, 1852.

Note that the source citation is not in Evidence! Explained format*, and contains the link to the record summary rather than to the image.  Doing the source citation in this manner does provide a link to the record image if one is available, and saves bandwidth for FamilySearch in the Family Tree since the link is to a record summary which can be opened to see the record image (when one is available).

*  Edited:  I received this note from Elizabeth Shown Mills on Facebook, who gently corrected me:  "Actually, the citation IS in Evidence Style, considering that FS is citing its own database entry rather than the actual document. If FS were citing the actual document, then--yes--that would require a different citation."  My thanks to Elizabeth.  

I clicked on the "Add to My Source Box" link and the site told me:

I clicked "OK" and then clicked on the "Go To My Source Box" link and saw:

The record summary that I added was added to my "Home" Source Box file.  I need to add it to my file for Frank Walton Seaver and then Tag it to his Birth Event.  I showed how to do something similar in the FamilySearch Family Tree in Finding the Best Way to Attach Sources to Persons in FamilySearch Family Tree.

For record collections that do not have an image available, the record summary is similar.  Here is a death record for Juliett Bryant from another record collection:

The "Sources" box is the same, but there is no link to "View Image" or to "Save Image."

I really like this layout and process - FamilySearch has made the sourcing of record summaries and the saving of record images very easy to perform with this modification.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Geolover said...

Randy, you quote Elizabeth Shown Mills: "If FS were citing the actual document, then--yes--that would require a different citation."

Note that some document images do have a link to add to a source box. The source citation still does not cite the actual record (as to actual document source, such as XXX County, Ohio Probate Court, Marriage Licenses Vol. Z, page 23 . . .).

When you want to add an actual-source detail to the one generated by the FamilySearch program, you can add the citation provided with the extract/index entry to your source box, then use the "copy" link to make a copy of it. Then you can edit the citation and delete the first one. Otherwise, the FS-provided citation can not be edited -- though one can provide a citation to the actual document in the description field.