Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dear Randy: What Did You Mean by "Don't Want to Crap Up My RootsMagic Tree?"

Reader Joe asked "You say 'I don't want to crap up the RootsMagic tree with Ancestry source citations.' Why?" in an email reacting to my comment in Dear Randy: How Do You Update All Your Online Trees? (posted 22 February 2017).

Here is my response to Joe:

I try very hard to use source citations that conform to the Evidence Explained style of source citations.  My entire RootsMagic database has over 81,000 source citations done in that style.

Ancestry.com provides source citations that do not conform to the Evidence Explained style.  Their source citations are too general and not specific.  Let me give you an example.

Here is the source citation information from Ancestry.com for the 1940 U.S. Census for my father:

The transcription of the source citation and source information areas is:

Source Citation

Year: 1940; Census Place: Newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: T627_1614; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 9-398

Source Information

Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.
Note that the Ancestry source citation does not refer to a line or household number on the census page, or the head of household name, or an access date.  Most source citation models don't have separate named sections like "Source Citation" and "Source Information." [Note:  I didn't mention the italicization problems in the Source Citation ...]
Here is the source citation for the same record using the Evidence Explained source template in RootsMagic:
1940 United States Federal Census, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Newton, ED 9-398, Page 81A, line 20, Frederick W. Seaver in Patrick J. Delaney household, digital image, Ancestry.com  (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2013); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T627, Roll 1614.
It's my personal preference to use the EE source citation models, but I think they are infinitely better than the Ancestry citations.  
When I use Family Tree Maker software to attach records to my FTM family tree, the Ancestry created events, media and source citations are downloaded to my FTM database.  I could modify the downloaded source citation using a free-form citation template, or use the citation information to create an EE template citation, but that creates extra work on my part, especially when I have over 1,000 1940 U.S. census events in the database. 
I don't want that to happen when my RootsMagic database will be able to attach Ancestry records and Ancestry source citations, using "TreeShare" and/or "Web Hints" in the near future.  In other words, I don't want Ancestry.com source citations to "crap up" my RootsMagic database and create extra work for me to fix it.  
Unless Ancestry.com significantly modifies their source citation models using Evidence Explained principles, I doubt that I will add records directly into my RootsMagic database because of the extra work involved.  
I am heavily invested in the Evidence Explained source citation models now, with over 81,000 source citations at present.  I want to continue to adhere as best I can to that standard style.


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Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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Cousin Russ said...


For your reader Joe:

Like Randy, I ALWAYS redo the "source information" that Ancestry provides. It is NOT in Evidence Explained format.

I did a number of blog posts on how I handle them, but this one is probably the closest.



Nettie said...

I also agree with Russ and Randy. I am a RootsMagic user and redo every citation according to Evidence Explained [EE] format. Also I believe Legacy uses Evidence Explained [EE] also. IF You have to find your source again, make it so it works for refinding it. Which the way it is done in EE.