German parish register citation

 
 
 
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niteowl1851
niteowl1851's picture
German parish register citation

I've been spending part of this Labor Day weekend doing a little genealogy and Ancestry had some "new to me" images online that has the marriage record of my 3x great-grandparents!  Yay!

So I'm trying to craft the citation and while I think I have a pretty good handle on it, wanted to ask 3 questions I think.  For information purposes, the register appears to contain the entries for a parish comprised of 3 communities. The register has NO page numbers. There are sections for births/baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials/deaths, but there is no "table of contents" - the sections are not called A, B, C, and D for example.  In each section the entries are by year, but separated by community. So in the marriage section, for a given year, you will first have the entries for the parish of Weitin, then the parish of Neuendorf, then the parish of Zirzow. Then for the next year, the same order again.

Here is my initial go at it:

Weitin Parish (Weitin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Germany), "Kirchenbüch ... Weitin ... 1842-1870," section Copülirte, 1868, Weitin, entry 5, Beggerow-Albrecht marriage, 26 Sept. 1868; imaged in "Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971," database and digital images, Ancestry ( http://ancestry.com : accessed 03 Sept 2017); citing FHL microfilm 69852.

I do not know who holds the originals...the church/parish, a regional office, etc. The film number comes from checking image number 1 when viewing the images (and confirmed by the familysearch catalog to match).

So my questions...author: I used Weitin Parish (title page of film is labeled "Kirchenbüch der Parish?? Weitin (some other words) 1842-1870" though the family search catalog entry uses Evangelische Kirche Weitin. My entries are from the "main church" not the secondary communties (Neuendorf, Zirzow). Which is more appropriate? "Weitin Parish" or "Evangelische Kirche Weitin"?

Next, for the title of the book, there are some smaller words that I cannot decipher. Even the word for parish appears to be a derivation (looks like Paroshin, but I am a very beginner at trying to decipher German). However Kirchenbüch, Weitin, and 1842-1870 are unmistakeable. Is the use of ellipses there OK?

Finally, given the way the 3 communities are handled in each section...what is the best way to specify? I specified the section (Copülirte) then year, then parish, then entry. Is that best?

So, what did I not think about?

EE
EE's picture

niteowl, you've done well. Commendably so, given that there are two approaches you could have taken with this situation:

  1. Study the record book—not just the isolated page with the item of interest—in order to understand how this set of records was created and organized. That process also led you to discover that you were examining images taken from microfilm which also carries a target more fully identifying the record. This approach best equips you to understand the source and it enables users of your citation to find the record via the film or even the original, if they don't maintain an Ancestry subscription.
  2. Take the quick-and-dirty approach of just citing waypoints and the image, creating a citation that’s useful only for someone else who subscribes to this paid site.

When I used your citation to examine the images, I had no problem quickly locating the record from the details you provide. That's the first test of a good citation. There’s only one point we might quibble over: the red word in your citation below:

Weitin Parish (Weitin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Germany), "Kirchenbüch ... Weitin ... 1842-1870," section Copülirte, 1868, Weitin, entry 5, Beggerow-Albrecht marriage, 26 Sept. 1868; imaged in "Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971," database and digital images, Ancestry ( http://ancestry.com : accessed 03 Sept 2017); citing FHL microfilm 69852.

After you identify Ancestry’s database, you add a layer saying “citing FHL microfilm 69852.” However, Ancestry’s database doesn’t cite this. Ancestry’s description of the database does not seem to mention the film at all. You are the one who is citing this, having discovered that identification by thoroughly examining the set of images; so you would not want to word it in a way that implies Ancestry actually cites the film.  It would be more accurate to say:

Weitin Parish (Weitin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Germany), "Kirchenbüch ... Weitin ... 1842-1870," section Copülirte, 1868, Weitin, entry 5, Beggerow-Albrecht marriage, 26 Sept. 1868; imaged in "Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971," database and digital images, Ancestry ( http://ancestry.com : accessed 03 Sept 2017); imaged from FHL microfilm 69852.

In answer to your specific questions:

1. Which is more appropriate “Weitin Parish” or “Evangelische Kirche Weitin”?

The choice is yours. However, if others who use your work do not speak German, they would appreciate the English translation. EE 7.16 “Record Books with Foreign Language Titles” offers more on this issue.

2. Is the use of ellipsis OK for the words in the book title that aren’t decipherable in the image?

Yes. Or you could place square editorial brackets in that position to say something such as [undecipherable words].

3. What is the best way to explain how the 3 communities are handled in the year-by-year sectioning of the book?

Your approach works well.

The Editor

niteowl1851
niteowl1851's picture

Thank you for taking the time to look and evaluate!  I appreciate it! Part of the reason I spent so much time with these images is that I have multiple entries for my ancestors in this volume including 4 births, 2 marriages, and 2 confirmations. I was about to order this microfilm thru FHL, but then found that at some point ancestry had added it!

I do see the difference is using citing vs. "imaged from." So I will change that. 

One piece of additional information...I have found that the church books are archived at Landeskirchliches Archiv Schwerin (Schwerin, Germany). I'm of two minds about adding this information. On the one hand, unless one is in Germany, it is easier to utilize the FHL film or Ancestry. Plus, I found this information after the fact...it wasn't particularly straightforward to find. And of course, I didn't visit the archive or use them to find the information. On the other hand...they are the location of the original books (even though they only make them available on film at the archives). Your thoughts?  After all, in 7.36 (pg. 350), the archive is listed as an essential element to cite/identify! :>  

Here are my attempts at the short note and source list:

Biblio/Source List:
Weitin Parish (Weitin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Germany). Kirchenbüch, 1842-1870. "Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971." Database with images. Ancestry. http://ancestry.com : 2017.

Subsequent/Short:
Weitin Parish (Weitin), "Kirchenbüch ... 1842-1870," Copülirte section, 1868, Weitin, entry 5, Beggerow-Albrecht, 26 Sept. 1868.

 

EE
EE's picture

niteowl, 7.36 does cite the archives as an essential element and 7.40 demonstrates doing that for Germany, when one actually uses the record in the archives. If we use the film, however, we cite the film—to which we can add a note that the producer of the film cites the location of the original as Such and Such Archives. (This is the purpose of the "citing ....." layer, of course.) If we use digital images and the producer of the digital images tell us that the records are in such-and-such archives, then we add a note to say "citing Such and Such Archives, Whatever Place."  

That said, if the provider does not identify for us the archive that holds the original and we learn that information elsewhere, we can always add another sentence to our Reference Note to say that "According to Whatever Source, the original of this register are in Such and Such Archives in Whatever Place."

Your Source List Entry and Subsequent Notes are well-handled.

The Editor

niteowl1851
niteowl1851's picture

Thank you ESM!

I just got one of my ordered microfilms in from FHL, so I'm about to have even MORE German parish register fun!

GoneResearching
GoneResearching's picture

It seems to have been the Summer of Source and Citation Figure It Out.

I spent some time in July creating my own “format templates” for the Citation Detail for a large variety of sources I will be either adding or updating in my Family Tree Maker program. Now I can copy/paste, change the text to specifics and all citations are consistently formatted the same way for a particular source. My EE3 is well-tabbed and well-thumbed through; after a while I didn’t even feel the weight in my bag anymore as it was a constant companion.

I’d like to expand on some information for this particular collection (Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971) at Ancestry, and share how I crafted a couple sources and citations for it that I think follow EE.

Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971 is a vast collection made of up records from a variety of areas (provinces), from a variety of sources (archives), and an even larger number of churches. It is not completely indexed and what is indexed is not well indexed in many cases. Events were indexed simply by church location not the specific village someone resided which would be the most likely place a birth (Geburt) or death (Sterbefall) occurred rather than in the church location. Whereas a baptism (Tauf), marriage (Heirat) or burial (Beerdigung) most often occurred in the church. (Or in the case of the burial the cemetery was next to the church.) Due to that and how church/parish location names were recorded by indexers it can be very difficult to narrow one’s search to a specific province and even a specific church. But at least the records are digitized.

The Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz church records were added to this massive collection in October 2016. These are digitized images of the Family History Library microfilm for primarily the Evangelische churches in the former areas of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Not every microfilm has been digitized yet as some were apparently missed.

With regards to the source of the source, it seems Ancestry is not taking the time to provide detailed “citing” information for its collections like it used to do in the past. Compare a Record View for a result from this collection to a Record View for a result from just about any US Federal Census collection which were some of the earliest collections. With those earlier collections, you see specific source of the source information just down below the abstracted/indexed information from the record. With this collection you simply see Ancestry’s  source line for the collection itself instead of a detailed  “citing …” statement. However, Ancestry has included a “bare bones” source reference in the abstracted/indexed information in each Result Record View … Film Number:  ###### and Author: Evangelische Kirche Name (AG Name) lines. But researchers not familiar with the records might not realize this.

Thus the trick to learning more about the source of the source in this case is to look at the entry in the FamilySearch catalog  https://www.familysearch.org/catalog/search  for the Church Location to fill in the details that Ancestry failed to do for each specific church and its records.  Search by the town name of the church or search by the film number referenced to find the catalog entry. The catalog entry tells you where the original church books filmed were located at the time of filming (though some have since been moved/condensed to other archives) if your chosen source template requires such info.

I’ve used the FHL films for a good chunk of the churches in Mecklenburg-Schwerin for 20 years. I have blogged about my view/experience with these records in the Ancestry collection in this http://goneresearching.blogspot.com/2017/02/more-digitized-mecklenburg-records.html post

niteowl1851 asked about which name to use, I suggest sticking with the German name Evangelische Kirche Weitin (AG Neubrandenburg) as that will be how someone identifies they have located the correct referenced source/church. And how it is listed in the FamilySearch catalog. Weitin Parish does not specify which Weitin village nor what religion. (Yes the database collection title says Lutheran but actually there are other non-Catholic churches included in the collection.) Including the AG = Amtsgericht (lower court district) with the church name/description can help determine between two villages of the same name in the same province. Luckily there is only one Weitin in Mecklenburg-Strelitz so the AG isn't as necessary. If foreign language is a problem I would bracket the translation for key words or add a statement at the end of the citation clarifying/providing a translation of what the source is in the researcher’s language.

[Sidebar Note: In German research. churches are the key source and not every village had a church so once you know your village and province you have to find the right church/parish. For Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz a church guide was once accessible online. (The original was in German Blackletter which a group typed up and put online for free.) Though the webpages don’t exist anymore they were captured on the Internet Archive WayBackMachine so see this    https://web.archive.org/web/20110930162335/http://www.progenealogists.com:80/germany/mecklenburg/meckgaz.hht   page to determine the church parish for any village in Mecklenburg-Schwerin or Mecklenburg-Strelitz.]

I’m not sure which genealogy program or source template niteowl1851 is using assuming he/she is using a genealogy program.

These are what I had crafted trying to implement EE as best I could using the Source Template choices in Family Tree Maker. I know EE does not cover the various quirks and issues with built-in source and citation features of various genealogy programs which is fine. Otherwise the EE tome would be at least twice its current size. But I think this is where many struggle.

With regards to Family Tree Maker and Ancestry.com Web Search Record Merge, one must realize that FTM and/or Ancestry does not use any source template when doing web search record merges into FTM. Thus the resulting source and citation that EE users or those trying to be EE users expect often falls short. (I haven’t used the other programs yet to see how sourcing is done in them when merging records.)

In my example below, Green type is what Ancestry puts into various source fields with no template. Black type is what the FTM/Ancestry merge puts into the citation detail. Since record search/merge is based on an individual usually only one person is mentioned in the citation detail even if there are multiple persons involved like a marriage or a census household. (Colored text in the sources and citations examples are simply to highlight where each segment of text came from. In FTM it is all simple black text. At least I hope these lines appear here in color as I'm not a coder.)

FTM Source Template Used
FTM > web search and merge [no template used]

Ancestry.com, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971 (Lehi, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016), Ancestry.com, Record for Jensen Warhelow.

In case the color isn't showing Ancestry.com ... Ancestry.com is green text while Record for ... is black text.

This above is obviously not an Evidence Explained Source and Citation with so many vitally needed details left out. And Ancestry.com appears as the author, publisher and repository which is correct but a bit redundant . A specific web address to the image is an option to include or not include in the reference note and would appear after the Citation Detail and Citation Text (if any). But the above source and citation really does not tell anyone what was specifically looked at because of the missing details.

If I were to do Web Search Record Merges with this collection I would tweak the citation detail to better meet EE. I would not adjust the source information itself (like change it to a template) because as others have discovered the next time you do a web search record merge from the collection it adds that original non-template source back into FTM because it does not recognize the change you did to the source. Changing the citation detail and/or citation text does not cause such a problem. Though elements may not exactly fall into EE place in the final source and citation, the needed details get added … sometimes it helps to remember, “Citation is an art, not a science.”

So in the example below which is actually for the exact same record above, Green type is what Ancestry puts into various source fields (remember no template). Blue type is what I formatted and typed into the citation detail myself trying to implement EE principles. Black type is what Ancestry had put into the citation detail when merged. I either just delete it or move it to the citation text (as shown here) and then decide to check or uncheck the box to include it in reference. If I use it I make any [sic] additions necessary like shown below also in Blue (what I typed) so the Ancestry text is preserved yet the correct information is given too.

FTM Source Template Used
FTM > web search and merge [no template used]

Ancestry.com, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971 (Lehi, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016), Ancestry.com, database and images, Path: Mecklenburg > Gnoien > Tauf, Heiraten, u Tote 1654-1790 > image 778 of 860, Laas Jensen and Maria Possehl marriage 26 Apr 1782, p. 62; imaged from  “Gnoien III Heiraten, Tote 1743-1786,” Evangelische Kirche Gnoien (AG Dargun), Taufen 1654-1790, Heiraten, Tote 1654-1786, on FHL microfilm 0069120. Record for Jensen Warhelow [sic Laas Jensen].

In case the color isn't showing Ancestry.com ... Ancestry.com is green text while Record for ... is black text. The blue text is database ... 0069120 and also [...].

Note: I personally prefer the waypoints method over the specific URL address to the image. URLs seem to change too often and are usually quite lengthy though some waypoints can get long too.

Note: The “Gnoien III Heiraten, Tote 1743-1786” is the actual name on the church book that was imaged. (Yes, sometimes this is hard to read or missing so an alternate is to use the filming section card created by the film camera operator which gives type of records contained and a date range.) You just have to scroll/click forward to find the start of an imaged book.

[Sidebar Note the indexing job on this particular collection is not the best so you get what Ancestry indexers read which is not necessarily what the record really says. So I suggest always look at the record image. As you might notice Ancestry indexed Laas Jensen of Warbelow as Jensen Warhelow. I knew he was there because I used the microfilm years ago finding him the old-fashioned way by reading each page. To find him online I found the page image and then opened the index view to see how they mis-read his name. I also added a correction to the record entry on Ancestry.]

I think my compromise came out okay I hope. It is a compromise allowing one to use the FTM Search/Merge feature and yet applies EE as best as possible to the citation.

BUT …

Using the database as the lead is one way to go. But if you have used the Family History Library microfilm for years and already have many sources and citations based on the actual Family History Library film, do you really want to add another source in your gene program to what is essentially the same source? For me I’d rather use the source entries I have for the microfilm and add the “consulted as” similar to how niteowl1851 formed his/her source and citation.

My source and citation looks like this when I consult just the Family History Library microfilm.

FTM Source Template Used
FTM > Church Books > Microfilm – FHL-GSU Preservation Copy (Church Record)

Evangelische Kirche Gnoien (AG. Gnoien) (Gnoien, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany), Kirchenbuch, 1654-1898, “Gnoien III Heiraten, Tote 1743-1786,” Laas Jensen and Christina Possehl marriage 26 April 1782, p. 62, on FHL film 0069120; FHL microfilm 0069120 - 0069123.

In case the color isn't showing, red text is Evangelische ... 1898, and ;FHL ... 0069123. The blue text is database ... "Gnoien ... 0069120.

 

In the above example again covering the exact same record above, the Red text this time is what I entered in creating the Source in FTM while the Blue text is what I formatted and typed into the Citation Detail. Instead of the total number of film I choose to list the beginning and ending film numbers since they were just a few and sequential. Then reference the specific film number on which the specific record is located. This results in one Source serving for all four films covering this church. If there were a large number of films I would just use the total and reference the specific film used in the citation detail.

The specifics I use to pinpoint the specific record depend on if the pages are numbered, if the record entries are numbered sequentially overall or within each year or not at all, etc. To keep me consist I created my citation detail templates so I don’t have to remember the order of elements. I could have put the physical page number first but in FTM Sources Workspace I might not see the people’s names in the Source Citations window pane meaning I would have to select each citation and look to the right in the citation detail pane to see if I selected the citation I was seeking. When you have hundreds of citations for the same source I opted for the formatting that saved some time since the meaning in the citation didn’t change.

So when I consult the same source (FHL microfilm) in its digitized form in the Ancestry.com collection I use the same source above from my source list in FTM but adjust the citation detail to reflect how I consulted it (the Purple Text.)

FTM Source Template Used
FTM > Church Books > Microfilm – FHL-GSU Preservation Copy (Church Record)

Evangelische Kirche Gnoien (AG. Gnoien) (Gnoien, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany), Kirchenbuch, 1654-1898, “Gnoien III Heiraten, Tote 1743-1786,” Laas Jensen and Christina Possehl marriage 26 April 1782, p. 62, on FHL film 0069120; consulted as “Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971,” database and images, Ancestry (Ancestry.com), Path: Mecklenburg > Gnoien > Tauf, Heiraten, u Tote 1654-1790 > image 778 of 860; FHL microfilm 0069120 - 0069123.

In case the color isn't showing, red text is Evangelische ... 1898, and ;FHL ... 0069123. The blue text is database ... "Gnoien ... 0069120. The purple text is consulted ... 860.

Since in these last to examples of mine I am manually adding the source and citation, and not using FTM/Ancestry Web Record Merge I don't have the Ancestry added Record for ... text like in the first two examples. With these last two examples, I could and often do enter in the Citation Text field a transliteration (transcription in German) or a translated transcription of the relevant record details for the citation.

For FTM users, you can change text to italic and/or underlined in your Citation Detail (like for a website title) from within the Reference Note pane on the Sources Workspace. This would have to be done on each citation.

One aspect I realize you might point out is my lack of published or accessed date. For example, (Ancestry.com : accessed 31 Oct 2016). There are a lot of times I don’t add the created or accessed date after the website address. Why? When it is part of the FTM source entry fields and I’m creating citations to that source that were accessed at different times. Often trying to add the access date in the citation detail then becomes awkward. Also,  a lot of my digital record images were found/downloaded when I wasn’t actively keeping a Research Log and because I often crop out the black surrounding area/tweak brightness/contrast of the saved images after the fact I cannot rely all the time on a file’s creation date/modified date . Sometimes I might be able to narrow it down to a month and year but not always. I've actually accessed these records from FHL film (two filing cabinet drawers of photoscopies) and the digitized images on the database so I'm considering adding a statement to reflect this meaning both access dates or approximates of those dates.

Hopefully the rest of meets EE standards.

More than three-quarters of my ancestors are from Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Without these records I would not know of most of them so in a way they have become a passion despite the “chicken scratch” handwriting.

GoneResearching

GoneResearching

niteowl1851
niteowl1851's picture

Wow.

Thanks for all that information.

It is going to take me several read-throughs to even start to take it all in. ;> But it is helpful in approaching how Ancestry organized (well...didn't organize) the collection. I've only know that collection went online for about 2 weeks. So your information is very helpful.

niteowl1851 asked about which name to use, I suggest sticking with the German name Evangelische Kirche Weitin (AG Neubrandenburg) as that will be how someone identifies they have located the correct referenced source/church. ... Including the AG = Amtsgericht (lower court district) with the church name/description can help determine between two villages of the same name in the same province. 

Thanks...I will reconsider the author name I use. 

I know EE does not cover the various quirks and issues with built-in source and citation features of various genealogy programs which is fine. Otherwise the EE tome would be at least twice its current size. But I think this is where many struggle.

I use RootsMagic.  I agree this is where many struggle. I gave up last year or the year before on using the built-in templates. For reasons of not exporting well via gedcom among other reasons.  I created my own 2 templates. Each template has a "master" field and then has either 2 or 3 "detail" fields for me to fill out in the manner that I want.  Depending on the arrangement of the details, I use either the 2 field or 3 field template.  They sometimes are not perfect EE citations, but they are close...and my choice is to be able to "lump" some of my citations together under one master source rather than have 100's of master sources that are really for the same source.