Find A Grave's New Source Citation Feature

 
 
 
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eevande
eevande's picture
Find A Grave's New Source Citation Feature

At the bottom of each memorial is a new link that, when clicked, will give you a source citation for it. In my opinion, Find A Grave nearly gets it right.

Here is what Find A Grave gives for Ellen Rider (memorial 34455016).

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1. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 07 November 2017), memorial page for Ellen Rider (27 Jul 1896–25 Jan 1980), Find A Grave Memorial no. 34455016, citing South Whitley Cemetery, South Whitley, Whitley County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by JC (contributor 46984629) .

Extra space before the semicolon and ending period are in the citation provided. I copied it as is.

It seems to miss the point of the layered citation by placing the information about the maintainer after the cemetery name and information. It also includes what I consider extraneous information ("memorial page for," Ellen Rider's birth and death dates, "Find A Grave Memorial no." instead of simply "memorial." It also does not put the alias of the maintainer "JC" in double quotes.

 

Here is what I would do based on discussions I've seen on here since EE2 was published.

1. Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 7 November 2017), memorial 34455016, Ellen Rider, created and maintained by “JC” (contributor 46984629); citing South Whitley Cemetery, South Whitley, Whitley County, Indiana, USA.

 

I wanted to get input before I send the suggestion to Find A Grave. I think this is a fabulous addition, and all in all, the necessary information is in the citation Find A Grave gives. I think it's a win. There are no source citations provided for images. The Source Citation link is also way down at the bottom of the memorial page. I think it would be nice if it were up near the top, flashing, in red, with a siren.

 

EE
EE's picture

eevande, for certain Find A Grave's new feature is fantastic. We all need to thank them for it.

That said, as you also note, it's a bit wordy, the ID of the "contributor" is indeed a misplaced modifier; and it may represent a misunderstanding of one core need that researchers have. The emphasis on identifying the person who "maintains" the page is well-meant, but the "maintainance" person may not be the person who provided the specific information we are citing. Many pages have multiple contributors. One person may copy the tombstone data. Another may provide an image of the tombstone. Another person may write a bio or genealogical sketch. To evaluate the realiability of evidence, and to respect copyrights, we need to identify the person who provided the specific data we are citing. We see that, in fact, in the example you are citing. While "JC" is identified as the creator of the page, the photograph rights to the stone are owned by (and credit is due to) "OPPSheryl."

In the example you give, EE would be inclined to leave in the parenthetical birth-death dates for the person--unless the note was being attached to a sentence or paragraph that also contains those dates.

Do keep us posted on the response that you get from the wonderful folks at Find A Grave.

 

The Editor

eevande
eevande's picture

Editor,

Thank you! I did see in EE that the birth-death dates are in the citation for the person. However, since on Find A Grave, they don't necessarily represent what is on the stone and, in fact, fluctuate based on input given to the creator if that input is accepted, I hesitate to put the information in the citation. Being devil's advocate, though, even the name of the person for whom the memorial is made can be changed on the fly, so it does make me wonder if it matters.

This brings me to the question of what is EE's reasoning behind having the parenthetical birth-death dates in the citation? Is it based on the concept of it being the title of the page? Is it to have the additional information in the citation for identification purposes? Because the information is basically crowd sourced and can change on the fly, and because the general public does not know when it changed or what was changed, unlike on Wikipedia (for example), the accessed date is not enough to tell us if something has changed since the researcher used the source. There is no last modified date available. A modification history with the old and new values would be of extremely helpful use here. That information does exist; however, it is only accessible from the maintainer's Edits page.

eevande

 

EE
EE's picture

eevande, your observations about the unreliability of dates in a certain percentage of Find A Grave memorials (and most other sources) are well made. When conflicts exist at a source, our source notes might discuss the conflict and state our reasoning for the dates we choose; but there are occasions when we decide it's just not worth wading into those waters.

As for the parenthetical inclusion of dates in EE's citation: No, they don't represent the "title" of the page. If they did, then they would be in quotation marks. For example:

... memorial page 123456 "Mary Jane Whazername (1757–1938)."

As a rule with citations (recognizing that all rules have their exceptions), we include some data that indicates a time context. With manuscripts or letters, we cite a date that appears thereon. With books, we cite a publication date. With books that have been reprinted long after the fact, we cite both the date of the original work and the date of the new publication. With database entries for historical records, we cite the date the database gives for the record. With tombstones, we cite the dates thereon. For a memorial page at a site such as Find A Grave, we'd likely cite the date that the memorial page—uses to assist with relocation. Then, if our research establishes that the page is wrong, we would likely say so in out citation and provide the evidence to support our contention.

The Editor

eevande
eevande's picture

Editor, thanks. I get the reasoning behind all of the other dates that you listed, except for the birth-death dates when identifying a memorial on Find A Grave. Am I dense, stubborn, or wanting to rewrite the rules? Ugh.

You said, "As a rule with citations (recognizing that all rules have their exceptions), we include some data that indicates a time context." Regarding Find A Grave memorials, a time context for what? Help!

eevande

EE
EE's picture

eevande, we need a time context for the person. If the grave marker or other data provided in the memorial does not date to the time of the person, then we need time context for that data also.

The Editor

eevande
eevande's picture

Okay, I got you in the first sentence, but then you had to throw the monkey wrench in the second sentence. In that sentence, I think I read you to say that if the memorial data and marker photo do not have dates identifying when the person lived, died, or both -- the time of the person -- then we need to provide something that identifies the age of the data as it relates to the age of the person. Correct?

 

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

Reading your comment, my "current thinking is" (read conclusion) that my adding the two dates is over kill. There is enough information without those dates to ensure that I, or others, are on the same page. And, I link that Citation to those events in my database.

Thank you,

Russ

eevande
eevande's picture

Russ, eevande here. Could you give an example of how one of your Find A Grave citations will look without the dates?

 

rworthington
rworthington's picture

eevande

Find A Grave database and images, (https://findagrave.com : accessed 03 November 2017), memorial page for Rev Adam C. Jones, Find A Grave Memorial no. 173273248, citing Chesterfield Cemetery, Centreville, Queen Anne's County, Maryland, USA; Maintained by Corey & Douglas Marshall-Steele (contributor 47477063).

Easy fix. Also removed the "new". That is ONLY for the Memorial Page and that Reference Note is linked to all of the Claimes from that Memorial.

Russ

eevande
eevande's picture

Thanks, Russ. Using your example, and based on the discussions you and I have had on this thread and on another Find A Grave EE forum thread from last year, this is what I would do for a full reference note:

Find A Grave, database and images (findagrave.com : accessed 7 November 2017), memorial 173273248, Rev Adam C. Jones, created and maintained by “Corey & Douglas Marshall-Steele” (contributor 47477063); citing Chesterfield Cemetery, Centreville, Queen Anne's County, Maryland, USA.

The differences are as follows:

  • Removed some wordiness (e.g., "Find A Grave Memorial no." becomes "memorial")
  • Put the name of the deceased after the memorial number to serve as its clarifier rather than the other way around (putting emphasis on the memorial number, as that is what is unique, and always will be)
  • Added "created" to give that credit also to Corey and Doublas Marshall-Steele, and were the creator and maintainer two different contributors, I would include both
  • Put the contributor name in quotation marks because I consider them aliases unless otherwise known, in which case, I would treat them differently (which I won't go into here)
  • Moved the "citing..." modifier at the end. The creator and maintainer belongs to the Find A Grave layer of our citation. It does not belong to the cemetery layer. Above, in comment #2, The Editor called the "maintained by" section a "misplaced modifier."  

What do you think?

eevande

rworthington
rworthington's picture

eevande

Please remember that what I have in this thread is from my genealogy program, based on the "Citation" provided by the Beta version of the Find A Grave website.

Russ

eevande
eevande's picture

Russ, I see. I am interested in your input on my differences, though.

Also, if were you making citations to Find A Grave memorials on a blog page or in another published document, how would you do your Find A Grave full citation? Do you think it would be the way it's provided on Find A Grave? I ultimately want to make some suggestions to them, which is one of the reasons I made this forum thread, as well as ask you. The second reason is that I'm interested in the input on Find A Grave's examples from EE and from the EE community.

eevande

rworthington
rworthington's picture

eevande,

I am not the person to ask that question. I have many blog posts on how I cite my sources with the software that I use.

You should be able to find my blog but doing a search. Won't clutter this conversation with that link. Sorry.

Russ

eevande
eevande's picture

Thank you.

EE
EE's picture

eevande, EE is with you on all points--except for that need for a date context.

If, for consistency, you wanted to follow the pattern and the rationale about the placement of memorial number/name, you might also express the next element as

"... created and maintained by contributor 47477063, Corey & Douglas Marshall-Steele.

That would simplify the puntuation--removing the parentheses, which could then be placed around the relevant dates for the person in the memorial. Also in this case, the ID of the contributors appear to be their actual names rather than a pseudonym or screen name, in which case the quotation marks would not be needed.

Using your adaptation of Russ's example, EE's adaptation would be this:

Find A Grave, database and images (findagrave.com : accessed 7 November 2017), memorial 173273248, Rev Adam C. Jones (1841–1908), created and maintained by contributor 47477063, Corey & Douglas Marshall-Steele; citing Chesterfield Cemetery, Centreville, Queen Anne's County, Maryland, USA.

The Editor

eevande
eevande's picture

 

I just had a lightbulb! Why should the reader need to pull up Find A Grave every time he or she wants to check on the time context for a person? What if there is no computer in sight?

EE, that's all you needed to say. :)

My original modification of Russ' citation:

9. Find A Grave, database and images (findagrave.com : accessed 7 November 2017), memorial 173273248, Rev Adam C. Jones, created and maintained by “Corey & Douglas Marshall-Steele” (contributor 47477063); citing Chesterfield Cemetery, Centreville, Queen Anne's County, Maryland, USA.

Two modifications of that, with the dates added:

10. Find A Grave, database and images (findagrave.com : accessed 7 November 2017), memorial 173273248, Rev Adam C. Jones (1841-1908), created and maintained by “Corey & Douglas Marshall-Steele” (contributor 47477063); citing Chesterfield Cemetery, Centreville, Queen Anne's County, Maryland, USA.

OR

11. Find A Grave, database and images (findagrave.com : accessed 7 November 2017), memorial 173273248, Rev Adam C. Jones (1841-1908), created and maintained by contributor 47477063, “Corey & Douglas Marshall-Steele”; citing Chesterfield Cemetery, Centreville, Queen Anne's County, Maryland, USA.

I'm leaning toward reference note format in 11.

EE
EE's picture

eevande, 11 is EE's preferred citation also.  As for having to go back to a website whenever we want to check details, there's also one other consideration:  The data may not be there next time we go back to it.

 

The Editor

eevande
eevande's picture

EE, Thank you for your knowledge and patience! ~eevande

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

Now I remember why I have a date or dates after the name. I have attached an image. Pleae understand that this is from my database and the last two items are gentlemen with the same name, yes the spelling is differnet for their first name but this is an example of why I usually include a date, to tell the two apart. 

This image is not citation material, though me software lets me craft won, and not everything on the image is part of a Citation. 

This is a part of a List of Citations from the Ancestry Find A Grave Index. This index will lead me to the Find A Grave Website. 

I had been working in my file, not even looking for an example, but there is was. I have others, just not in this file that I am working on.

The short answer, To tell be something unique about the two people, to find real information. This is the beginning of a breat crumb trail.

Thank you,

Russ

eevande
eevande's picture

I previously said (in comment #3) that the modification history for a memorial is only accessible to the person who maintains it. It is probably more like who maintained it at the time the edit occurred. It is also available to the person who requested the change. At this time, we do what we can, which is to cite the creator/contributor that we can see.

It excites me that Find A Grave has added the source citation. To me, it seems as though this opens up a whole world of possibilities!

rworthington
rworthington's picture

EE,

I am glad this topic came up as I have been struggling, but only a litte, about the new Citation / Full Reference Note that is on the New Find A Grave website. Here is my first attempt:

Find A Grave database and images, (https://new.findagrave.com : accessed 03 November 2017), memorial page for Rev Adam C. Jones (1841-1908), Find A Grave Memorial no. 173273248, citing Chesterfield Cemetery, Centreville, Queen Anne's County, Maryland, USA; Maintained by Corey & Douglas Marshall-Steele (contributor 47477063).

I included the (1841 - 1908) to ensure, or another bread crumb, that I cited the right person. There maybe other Adam C Jones buried in the same cemetery. I may have bad example for the "Rev" is on the headstone, which might make him unique.

As a contributor myself the elements are there, hopefully in the right order. The Memorial #, for searching purposes, the contributor #, again for Contact. Some, but not this one, the Contributor may be different from the person who maintains the informatoin on the Memorial Page. That number is important for me. 

When I take a photograph, create a Memorial, I become the "owner" of the Memorial and Contributor. In it is an ancestor or family member I may or may not put any additional information on the Memorial. I do the transcription based on what is on the headstone. I do link memorials together for family or my own research.

If I "own" the Memorial and a member of that family contacts me to post an Obitiuary, for example or make links to other family members, I will get into a dialog with the person with the intension to transfer "ownership" over to a family member who has knowledge of that family. In most cases, my transfer makes that person the user that Maintains the memorial.

There is one othere, small, issue with the citation that I had to modify a little for my genealogy database management software, but my question is about the URL.

I found that Full Reference Note on the BETA version of the New Website. My question is, what if (or really when) Ancestry retires the legacy website, will that URL change for "new.findagrave.com" to "findagrave.com:

I am guessing that I should not include the "new." in the URL. During beta the findagrave.com URL may take me to the legacy website, with the option to view the New, now beta, website.

Long winded reply, but relatively simple question. Do I include "new." in the Full Reference Note.

Thank you,

Russ

eevande
eevande's picture

Hi, Russ,

I'm not EE (just eevande :) ), but since I'm up late, and I'm aware of how website redirection works behind the scenes, I will jump in and at least answer the short question with the hope that I can be of some help. I apologize in advance if I say anything that you already know. I fear my answer may end up long as well.

Anytime a company is running a website, they have a web address that users can type in to direct them to whatever server (e.g., big computer sending out data to the world) the company wants to use. Those servers can even be "virtual," as in on the same computer but just in different directories.

So, for example, Find A Grave has possibly had old.findagrave.com and new.findagrave.com for several months now, but until a few days ago, if you typed www.findagrave.com into a browser, it would automatically take you to the old one. On Tuesday, they just made a change (sort of "flipped a switch") so that typing www.findagrave.com into your browser would take you to wherever they have the new Find A Grave, possibly at new.findagrave.com. If for some reason, they want to redirect the main address (www.findagrave.com) back to the old site, they can reset that "switch."

Long story short, in our citations, we will be taken to the correct Find A Grave location regardless of what it is as long as we use www.findagrave.com. We don't need to worry about the "new" or "old" designations, and actually, were we to use one of them, we would be in danger of having incorrect web source locations later because at some point, Find A Grave will almost invariably get rid of those "old." and "new." directories.

I hope this helps.

eevande

eevande
eevande's picture

Russ, to add... the "new." designation is no longer on the life website when you click for the Source Citation suggestion from a Find A Grave memorial. Although I didn't see it, as you show, it must have just been on the Beta website.

Today, for the example you gave, it looks like this verbatim:

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 9 November 2017), memorial page for Rev Adam C. Jones (1841–1908), Find A Grave Memorial no. 173273248, citing Chesterfield Cemetery, Centreville, Queen Anne's County, Maryland, USA ; Maintained by Corey & Douglas Marshall-Steele (contributor 47477063) .

 

eevande

rworthington
rworthington's picture

eevande,

I hope that in my last paragraph, that you see that I agree with you about the "new" part of the URL.

The other difference between what the website has, and what my Full Reference Note shows is that it is from my genealogy stabase management program. There as been and will continue to be some difference between what I am able to craft and the EE format. My goal is to get as close to EE as possiible within my program.

I have been known to provide feedback to the company / developers as to what they need to do to make my Reference Notes EE compatible. As a matter of fact, my reason for my comment her is just that.l

Thank you,

Russ

eevande
eevande's picture

I have noticed that there are quite a few of us on the forum that have software, database, and/or technical experience. Perhaps evidence's required attention to detail is what attracts us.

Russ, I thought you were asking what would happen if you included the "new" and whether or not you should do that in your citations.

Like you, I would not include the "new" in a citation, even though the "new" was there when you viewed the page on the Beta website. It is an interesting question, though.

One way to handle it would be for us to not use either and just put http://findagrave.com. This way, our citation is still correct, and the URL is "safe" unless the website goes away, and Find A Grave could redirect us to wherever it wants us to go.

Incidentally, I think this is a similar discussion to one that began almost a year ago entitled "Using Permalinks in Citations" at https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/using-permalinks-citations.

eevande

rworthington
rworthington's picture

eevande,

Thank you. I have a number of reasons for me to post here, with your example.

One to point the vendor to this discussion, and to point out that Ancestry may be showing that they are aware of EE. That is probably the best Full Reverence Note from many of our genealogy websites that provide Citations.

I get the re-direction point, I just now have to convience the vendor to deal with the HTTPS option. They, by default provide http:// but need to change that to https:// , I think. I also agree with the use of www as well. Do we really need it. For now, I am OK with continuing to use the WWW, but I have been manually adding the S.

Thank you

Russ

eevande
eevande's picture

For that matter, I suppose we could simply use "findagrave.com" without any http or https designation in our citations.

EE
EE's picture

eevande, that is the direction in which URL identifications are moving.

The Editor

eevande
eevande's picture

This is good, because it will eliminate the dozens of hyperlinks in an online publication as well as the automatic formatting (color change and underline), look clean, and serve the same purpose.