Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Creating a Source Citation for an Online Newspaper Collection in RootsMagic 6

I have been "mining" the GenealogyBank newspaper collection for Seaver, Carringer and Auble surnames so that I can add more information for persons in my "One Name Studies" in my genealogy database.  The historical and recent obituaries and death notices found on GenealogyBank are numerous - I have over 700 for Seaver alone (although some are repeated items.

The beauty of these obituaries and death notices is that they often provide a birth date, a death date, parents names, spouse names, children names, sibling names, etc., in addition to information about the person's life, occupation, interests, etc.

As part of my seemingly continuous "let's improve your source citations" effort (now in its fourth year, I think), I am trying to add Evidence! Explained quality  source citations to my database for the Facts that are obtained from the newspaper article.

I looked at Chapter 14 of Evidence! Explained, at the "Citing Online Historical Resources" QuickSheet, at the "Citing Ancestry.com Databases & Images" QuickSheet, and in the RootsMagic 6 Source Templates for sample source citations.  They were all very consistent.  I decided to use the RootsMagic source templates, since they appear to mimic the EE examples and are easy to use.

1)  As an example, here is an obituary from the "Recent Obituaries" collection on GenealogyBank (www.genealogybank.com):


As you can see, this obituary is from The Daily News newspaper in Wahpeton, North Dakota, published 2 February 2011.  It is a transcription of a specific article, titled "Douglas Seaver, 86" in the "Recent Obituaries" collection on GenealogyBank.  I found it by doing an online search.

What should be the source citation type?  It's a transcription of a published article in a local newspaper found in a searchable online database.  I need to include all of that information in the source citation.

2)  In RootsMagic, I entered the Fact for the birth and death dates from the obituary, and then for one of the Facts I clicked on the "Sources" button to open the list of Source Types.  I scrolled down to the "Newspapers" area on the list:


There were six different templates listed for Newspapers.  The two that seemed to be most applicable to my situation were "Newspaper, images" and "Newspaper, Online images."  There was no source template for the specific case of a transcribed article in the online database - or did I miss it?  I decided to try the two identified above.

3)  The "Newspaper, Images" source template in RootsMagic looks like this:


Before the user adds information to any field, there are descriptions in the field to help the user decide what would be appropriate in each field.

I used the information on the GenealogyBank page to fill in the information as best I could for both the Master Source and the Source Detail.  Here are the fields after I named the Master Source and edited the information a bit:


I added the word "obituary" to the "Item type" field, the word "transcription" to the "Specific content" field, and the words "online search" to the "Access type" field.  There was no apparent author of this obituary.  The page number was not provided by GenealogyBank.  I couldn't figure out what to put in the "Type" field.  The resulting Footnote created by RootsMagic is:

"Douglas Seaver, 86," obituary, The Daily News (Wahpeton, N.D.), 2 February 2011, transcription; digital image, GenealogyBank (http://www.GenealogyBank.com : online search, accessed 9 July 2013), Recent Obituaries collection.

4)  The "Newspaper, Online Images" source template in RootsMagic looks like this:


I used the information on the GenealogyBank page to fill in the information as best I could for both the Master Source and the Source Detail.  Here are the fields after I named the Master Source and edited the information a bit:


Again, I added the word "obituary" to the "Item Type" field, the word "transcription" to the "Specific Content" field and the words "online search" to the "Access type" field.  There was no apparent author of this obituary.  The page number was not provided by GenealogyBank.  I couldn't figure out what to put in the "Edition Type" field.  The resulting Footnote created by RootsMagic is:

"Douglas Seaver, 86," obituary, the Daily News (Wahpeton, N.D.), 2 February 2011, transcription; GenealogyBank (http://www.GenealogyBank.com : online search, 9 July 2013), Recent Obituaries collection.

5)  I think I prefer the second one, created by the "Newspapers, Online Images" source template.  It doesn't have "digital image" in the source citation (note that I have a transcription, not a digital image, for the obituary itself).  Perhaps I should have put "transcription" in the "Access Type" field also.

If I had the actual image of the newspaper page (and could therefore determine a page number!) available, then both of the source templates would be appropriate, I think.

6)  Source templates like this are very difficult to create in a free-form source citation, which is my preference unless and until GEDCOM export and import will render citations created by software source templates completely.  They are difficult to create because, in the case of newspapers, and several other resource types, the "Source Details" elements are mixed with the "Master Source" elements in the source citation.

Users should note that they will have to create a separate "Master Source" for every newspaper cited that are found in an online database like GenealogyBank (or NewspaperARCHIVE, or Ancestry, etc.) because the newspaper title goes into the "Master Source."  You cannot avoid that.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/07/creating-source-citation-for-online.html

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

2 comments:

Russ Worthington said...

Randy,

Interesting that your template has the subject first.

I used Genealogy Bank(online archive) template in FTM2012 and it looks like this:

Mortuary Notice; December 12, 1911, Page 3, Column 2; accessed 09 Jul 2013, Federal Gazette, Baltimore, Maryland, online archives (www.genealogybank.com).

"Federal Gazette" is in italic

Russ

Lisa Suzanne Gorrell said...

Randy,
I had come to the same conclusion about free-form source template with newspapers and used the "Newspapers, Online Images" for all of the Louisville, KY *Courier-Journal* newspapers I found at ProQuest.com. Free-form template works best for census or some vital records.