Monday, November 21, 2011

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 27: Doing a Web Search - Case 1 - Source Citations

See all posts in this series at Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 Compendium.

I have not done many Web Searches from within genealogy management program software, mainly because I am past "family trees" and "census records" for most of my research, and have sourced the records myself and captured the images to my computer files (but not attached them to persons or Facts in my database).

A user can do a Web Search from within FTM 2012 in (and and and add the Fact, Source and Media for a record to their FTM 2012 database.

In Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 25: Doing a Web Search -Case 1, I started a Web Search for William Knapp (1775-1856), and in Post 26 I attached an 1850 census record image and source to him.

In email, Russ Worthington told me that there was a Death record in New Jersey State records, and wondered if I had seen it, and asked how I would source that record.  I love challenges, and have spent 90 minutes trying to make useful sources (I know, I'm probably a bit eccentric with this obsession). 

1)  I did a Family Tree Maker 2012 Web Search in on William Knapp (using only birth and death years) and easily found the item easily:

2)  I clicked on the "View Record" link and saw:

3)  This was the right one, so I clicked on the "Merge" button:

4)  After selecting the Name and Death date to be included in the Facts, along with their Sources, I clicked on "OK"

5)  The screen above showed me the information that would be added to my Facts for William Knapp.  I clicked "Merge Now"

The Fact and the Source were added to my Fact List for William Knapp.  I double-clicked on the Source citation and saw the "Edit Source citation for ..." window:

The source citation that was imported with the Fact was:, New Jersey, Deaths and Burials Index, 1798-1971 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2011),, Database online.

I thought that it would be useful to see how the FTM 2012 program would create this source citation for this specific Fact.  However, it was difficult to find an appropriate source template for a Death record in an online database (I addressed this in
Post 18).  I again chose the "Archives and Artifacts > Archived Material > Digital Archive" source template and came up with:

"New Jersey Deaths and Burials Index, 1798-1971," online database,, entry for William Knapp, 16 June 1856.

Is that good enough?  It's the source that I used.  If you carefully read the source information, you see that the database came from a FamilySearch indexed database created from New Jersey manuscript records that are on a series of FHL microfilms.

I created this source citation based on all of the above information:

"New Jersey, Deaths and Burials Index, 1798-1971," online database, ( : accessed 21 November 2011), entry for William Knapp, 16 June 1856, Newton, New Jersey.  Indexed data from "New Jersey Deaths and Burials, 1720–1971," FamilySearch (Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2010); Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records, extracted from more than 1 million death and burial records from New Jersey.

However, I actually obtained the microfilm and extracted information for this specific record back in 1992, and thus can legitimately create this source citation:

New Jersey State Library, "Records of births, marriages, and deaths of New Jersey, 1848-1900," Volume AF, 1848-1867 (Sussex County)., page 655, William Knapp entry, FHL Microfilm 0,584,582.

That is as close to Evidence! Explained quality as I can get, using the section 10.18 model for Deeds and Probates on microfilm (I found no examples for Vital Records in State/County records on microfilms - I figured that Deeds and Probates were the same type of record).  

One of the major principles of source citations is to "cite the source you see" so that you, or another researcher, can access that source, and perhaps be able to find the "source of the source" until you get to the original source (there has to be one, right?). In this case, there are at least five levels of sources here:

*  the original source is the handwritten manuscript in the county record book now at the State Library; 
*  an image copy of the original source is the FHL microfilm;
*  a derivative source is the extraction of information from the record in my notes dated 18 January 1992.
*  a derivative source is the FamilySearch index database obtained by extracting information from the FHL microfilm;
*  a derivative source is the index database obtained (apparently directly) from FamilySearch. I've looked at all five of them for this particular record! 

Is my extract of the information on the microfilm correct? I don't know because I did not make a photocopy of the page on the microfilm. 

In this age of digital archives on free and commercial websites, by far the easiest source to find for this record is FamilySearch (and it's free), followed by  As noted above, these are derivative sources, and should lead the researcher to the original source (either at the repository that holds it or on a microfilm at another repository) so that the Fact is correct.

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