Friday, March 29, 2013

Follow-Up Friday - Interesting and Helpful Reader Comments

It's Follow-Up Friday - where I post interesting and helpful (and sometimes funny) reader comments, and respond to them.

1)  OCreating the Land Record Source Citation in RootsMagic 6 (11 February 2013):

*  Ann Gilchrest commented:  "I am curious as to why you decided to put Erie County New York Deeds, 1844-1850, Volumes 78-79 in quotes? The quotes would indicate that this is the title of the deed book. The cover was not microfilmed so I don't know if that is really the title. Typically deed books have the county name and a single number. IMHO adding the words, "deed in Aurora N. Y" is not necessary to find the deed. If this was important to my narrative it would be in the body and not the citation.

"I am also curious as to where you found the "citing original records... " came from? When I looked at the records the images came from FHL microfilm 590047. Looking up the film number the records came from the Erie County Clerk's office. 

"If I was writing this citation the first half would look like yours. The second part would be: Erie County, New York, Deed Book 78, p. 396, Seth Sprague & Lucy his wife to Samuel Vaux; FHL microfilm 590047

"I wouldn't use the word volume as that is implied by the number after book. If I chose to use volume it would be abbreviated as vol. For page numbers, I use p."

My response:  I used the "Digital Archives" source template in RootsMagic 6 because I found the deed records in an online FamilySearch record collection, not on a microfilm at the FHL, and not on the shelf at the Erie County Clerk's office.  Evidence! Explained tells us to cite the source that we used, and also to cite the "source of the source"  if we can find it out.  I used the online record collection at FamilySearch.

In the FamilySearch record collection, the deed was found by selecting "Erie County" and then (after using the index book), the "Erie County New York Deeds, 1844-1850, Volumes 78-79" sub-collection.  I tried to lead a future researcher to the deed by dropping those bread crumbs in my source citation - again, I'm citing the source I used.  I added the image number so that a researcher could easily find the deed (assuming the image number doesn't change!) The sub-collection is from one FHL microfilm, which is for Volumes 78-79.

If I had visited the Erie County Clerk's office and pulled Volume 78 from the shelf, then I would have cited the specific Volume without the sub-collection note.

I recall finding something when I was working with these records two months ago that the deeds were located at the Holland Land Office Museum, but now I cannot find that information.  The FamilySearch Wiki article, and the FHLC entry, say that they were filmed at the Erie County Courthouse, so I will modify my citation to show that.

My personal preference is to not abbreviate words or terms, so I use "Volume" and "page" in my citations.  I'm trying to not confuse any other researcher (and myself) by using abbreviations, or even an implied abbreviation like "78:396."

I take your point about the superfluous "deed in Aurora, N.Y." and using the "from X to Y" in the citation.   

Thank you, Ann, for taking the time to help me out on this - I'm still learning how to do this, and am open to constructive suggestions such as yours.  Here is the revised source citation for this record, showing the bread crumb trail and modifying as noted:

"New York, Land Records, 1630-1975," digital images, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, FamilySearch ( : accessed 2 February 2013), Erie County > Erie County New York Deeds, 1844-1850, Volumes 78-79 > image 184 of 792; Volume 78, Page 396, Seth and Lucy Sprague to Samuel Vaux, 1845; from FHL US/CAN microfilm 590,047; original records at Erie County [N.Y.] County Clerk's office, Buffalo, N.Y.

2)  OFollow-Up Friday - Helpful/Interesting Reader Comments (8 March 2013):

*  Michael Hait said:  "Just to clarify: "Unknown" is not a third category for information. Information is either primary or secondary, period. We just can't always identify whether it is one or the other due to lack of necessary data to make that determination. In these cases, it is better to abstain."


"A derivative source can contain primary information. There is no bearing of one on the other."

My comments:  Michael and I discussed this issue twice while in Salt Lake City, and I appreciate his view.  I think what he said to me was (my paraphrase): "If the primary information given in an original source is repeated in a derivative source, it is still primary information."

This is at odds with another view that "A derivative source cannot contain primary information because the informant (the writer of the derivative source) was not an eyewitness or participant in the event."

If I don't know whether the information is "primary" or "secondary," how do I "abstain?"  In that case, I guess I would choose "secondary" as a fallback option.

I don't know the correct answer to this, and hope that other "experts" will weigh in on the issue.

3)  On RootsTech New Product Alert - Legacy Mobile (21 March 2013):

*  Doug Williams said:  "Hmm, interesting, but when I saw the title of your blog post, my first thought was, 'Cool, Legacy Family Tree has a new app.' I was especially hopeful since I've never been able to configure the app that Legacy Family Tree requires for use on my Motorola Xoom tablet. Methinks there will be others confused by the naming of this new app. Thoughts?"

*  Laila Christensen noted:  "Agree with Doug Williams, I first thought this was my favorite genealogy program, Legacy Family Tree for my Android! "

*  Jasia commented:  "Yah, I'm disappointed that this is a FamilySearch app. I was really hoping Legacy Family Tree had finally gotten with the times and released their own mobile app."

*  Taneya said:  "This is great to hear about! As you know, I've been spending time on the FamilySearch FamilyTrees, so I look forward to seeing this. Thanks!"

My comment:  I think that it is unfortunate that they named it "Legacy Mobile" because of the implication that it is related to Legacy Family Tree software.  There will be confusion among users.  The appropriate name that fits would be "Family Tree," but that name for an app is already taken, or FamilySearch wouldn't allow it to be used.  

4)  On William Hutchi(n)son (1745-1826) Family History - Post 1 (30 October 2007):

*  Anonymous asked:  "Randy - how are you related to William Hutchinson?"

My response:  William Hutchinson is one of my fifth great-grandfathers, through his daughter Mary Jane (Hutchinson) Sovereign > Alexander Sovereign > Mary Jane (Sovereen) Kemp > Georgianna (Kemp) Auble > Emily Kemp (Auble) Carringer > Betty Virginia (Carringer) Seaver > me.

5)  I will hold comments on this week's posts until next week.  My thanks to all of my readers for their Comments, and appreciate their perseverance in overcoming the Captcha in order to do so.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver  

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