Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My First Look at FamilySearch Family Tree - Post 2: Source Citations

In  My First Look at FamilySearch Family Tree - Post 1, I briefly described the content, navigation and look of the interconnected family tree on FamilySearch.  Note that this is not yet available to interested users - only to some users in a Beta release.  

I noted that there was no sources attached to the persons that I had previously added to the Family Tree using RootsMagic 5 software.  I was curious as to the source information and format that could be added at present to the system, so I decided to do one source citation manually using copy and paste.  Here was my process:

1)  From the Person page for Isaac Seaver:

2)  At the bottom of the Person page above, is the "Sources" area, and a link to "Add a New Source."  I clicked the link and saw:

3)  The screen above has a "Create" button and says "To add a new source, select the Create button.  I did, and the "Create a Source" window opened:

There are four fields in the "Create a Source" screen above - "Source title (Required)," "Web Page (Link to the Record)," "Where the Record is found (Citation)" and Describe the Record (Note)."  Each field has example text that can be typed over.  Here is what I added (rightly or wrongly):

Source title:  Westminster, Massachusetts, Copy of Record of Birth

Web Page:  blank (since I have a piece of paper, not a web page)

Where the Record is Found:   City Clerk's Office, Westminster, Mass.

Describe the Record: Copy of Record of Birth: Isaac Sever, born 16 October 1823 to Benjamin and Abigail Sever (birth certificate dated and seal affixed 17 September 1990).

4) I clicked the "Save" button above and another window appeared for "Attach to Isaac Seaver" saying "Explain why you are attaching this source to this person...":

I entered this text into the field:

"Source provides derivative source, primary information and direct evidence of birth of Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), son of Benjamin and Abigail Seaver in Westminster MA on 16 October 1823."

5) I clicked on the "Attach" button and saw:

The screen above shows the source information for what I entered into the source fields.  Apparently, there is no source citation in a "footnote" or "bibliography" format for this source.

6)  I went back to the Birth record information and clicked on the Birth Record, and edit fields opened for the birth date, the birth place and an "Evidence and Analysis:"

Note that the date and place fields have a green background, indicating that the format for the date and place are correct.  I added text to the "Evidence and Analysis" field:

"Westminster town clerk records (original handwritten page), Westminster town vital record book, and birth certificate obtained from Westminster town clerk's office indicate this date and place, and parents Benjamin and Abigail Sever."

7)  The Birth Record information now shows my input:

This source citation, and the evidence and analysis, input was fairly simple.  But it took some time to figure out just what to enter in the fields.  

The process will probably be a lot easier if the genealogy software (like RootsMagic 5 or another program) can add the source citation without the information for every Fact/Assertion being typed in by hand.

I have these concerns:

*  I think that the Source citations should be attached to the Event or Fact/Assertion rather than to the Person.  

*  I don't see a way to add more than one assertion for a given Fact/Event.  We don't always have direct evidence in primary information form that definitively identifies the name, date and place for an event, and this information is useful to draw a conclusion.

*  I'm curious as to how the genealogy software will add the different source elements in the software to the Family Tree fields.  All of my sources are "free-form" meaning that the information is not in separate title, author, web site, description, detail fields.  Some software has this information in source template fields that are unique to the source type being cited.  

I'm not going to take this series much further until some of the sourcing, merging, deleting and other issues are settled and included in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/03/my-first-look-at-familysearch-family_27.html

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Geolover said...

Randy, thanks for this account. I noticed that the source-citation pane does not have a place for an author.

My understanding is that two of your wishes that I share are not on a present agenda. There is no present plan to have a source citation for each event, nor the option for more than one citation for each event, nor a source citation option specifically for relationships.

Suemax said...

This is really an issue that FamilySearch needs to deal with. They are trying to make it easy enough that MOST people will add a source. However, it will probably never be as detailed as us genealogists want it to be. The best solution I can suggest is to go to FEEDBACK on the site and voice your opinions. They DO listen to feedback and the more feedback saying the same similar thing, the more they listen. So feedback every chance you get.