Thursday, January 8, 2015

Do Attached FindMyPast Record Hints Create Source Citations?

I was happy when FindMyPast offered a Family Tree feature, and then when they announced that Record Hints would be provided for persons in my FindMyPast tree (see FindMyPast Introduces Hints in Family Trees - UPDATED (posted 17 December 2014) and First Look at FindMyPast Hints in My Tree (posted 5 January 2015).

These were major steps in the development of FindMyPast as a modern worldwide provider of record collections and attachment of records to isolated family trees - coming close to the levels already achieved by,, and

Now I want to see if FindMyPast creates a Source citation for a record from a collection and attaches the source to the Person and Event in the family tree.

1)  Here is a screen shot of a portion of my family tree on FindMyPast:

My 8th great-grandmother, Hannah Wilson (1647-1721), has four record Hints indicated on the screen above.  I clicked on the Hint number (in the orange circle on Hannah's profile) to see the four Hints:

2)  I clicked on the "Review" button for the first Hint, Hannah's 1647 birth record in Roxbury, Massachusetts (two screens), and then on the small "Source Information" icon in the top right of Hannah's name box (obscured in the screen below).  A "Source Information" popup appears:

3)  The "Source Information" for this record is:

Record set: Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850; Record collection: Births & baptisms; Category: Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers); Collections from: United States & Canada;

That is source information, but not really a source citation.  It references a record collection, not a specific book, periodical or original source, and doesn't provide useful information like the specific town, specific page number, or subjects name and record type.  The link leads me to the record transcription (two screens below):

The second screen above provides a helpful but general description of the record collection.

The transcription of the record above does not provide the date of the event, but it does provide the record type, person's name, event year, town name, page number, etc., but not the actual date of birth, parents names, etc.  In order to obtain those, I have to click on the blue "View Image" button to see the page from the Roxbury, Massachusetts Vital Record book:

On the record page, I learn that Hanna Wilson was the daughter of Nathaniel, and was baptized (not born) in May 1647 (the listing helpfully tells me that the church record says the date was 2 : 3m, or 2 May 1647).

4)  Now I'm wondering if the inadequate source information is attached to the Birth of Hannah Wilson in my FindMyPast family tree.  Here is Hannah's profile in my tree, on the "Fact & events" tab:

There are two Sources listed.  However, both of them were created by me before I uploaded my GEDCOM file to FindMyPast.  So a source citation for the FindMyPast record is not added by FindMyPast to the Person or to the Event.

5)  The Media item was added to the "Media" tab in Hannah Wilson's profile:

The media item shows a shortened source information of:

"Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 Transcription - US-BMD-MASS_VITAL-1468453"

That is a link to the record transcription, from which the user can see the record image.

6)  So the answer to my question is:  "No, an attached FindMyPast record does not create a source citation for either the person or the event."  It does not provide a new event either.  FindMyPast does provide limited source information.   In this case, the user had to review the record image in order to obtain birth/baptism date information and a parent's name.

I expected, and desire, better.  My preference would be that the record image be sourced to the website, record collection, record book, page and record person,such as:

"Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850," FindMyPast ( : accessed 8 January 2015), digital image, "Roxbury, Massachusetts Vital Records to the Year 1850," Births, page 386, Hanna Wilson baptism record, 1647; citing New England Historic Genealogical Society vital record book collection.

That is pretty close to Evidence Explained source citation standards, describes where I found the record, and provides sufficient detail that another researcher can find the record (perhaps with the link to the record transcription added?) and can evaluate the value of this source.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Linda Stufflebean said...

I've never taken the time to comment on your technology analysis posts, but I wanted to let you know that I appreciate them. as I use some of the products/sites you test out. However, aside from FTM, I don't use the others enough to know the ins and outs. I learn a lot from your posts. Thanks!