Recent comments

  • Reply to: Citing multiple dates   1 day 15 hours ago

    What a wonderful project, trashhound!

  • Reply to: Citing multiple dates   2 days 11 hours ago

    Dear editor - thanks for clearly pointing out my error.  Each date will be cited.  The majority of the people involved in this project have their records at St. Anne's.  The church put out a CD in the late 1990's.  I have indexed it and spent a great deal of time with it.  It is in at least 3 languages - French, English and Latin.  Thank you for your advice.  Trashound

  • Reply to: Citing multiple dates   2 days 13 hours ago

    Trashound, if a cluster of children are said to be "baptized at St. Anne's on Mackinac Island," then where exactly, will each baptismal record be found? Must everyone who reads your work be forced to read multiple baptismal books, page by page, to ferret out each baptismal record? Would every reader of your book even know where to go to find that set of records? Would they have access to it? If they aren't allowed to read the registers for themselves and--on the basis of your generic reference--they must write the church for the record, then the church clerk must read the registers again and again to find what would be easily locatable if you had only said "Book __: page ___." While I've not personally worked that set of records on Mackinac Island, I've worked the registers of hundreds of early Catholic churches from Canada to Mexico City to Cuba and beyond--and in most, it's not a simple matter of one nicely indexed book to go to for a certain date. In many of them, without a book and page (or entry number, if unpaginated), locating a single record could take hours. Many exist in varied forms--original registers, copied registers (often with "helpful" but wrong additions made long after the fact by those who made the copies), transcriptions, abstracts, etc., with varying degrees of reliability for each. If we don't say exactly what we used, no one knows.

    Or, to put things another way: {smile here} Do you expect all your readers to just "take your word for it" that everything you say is totally accurate, that you've gleaned all possible clues from each record, and that they therefore have no need for anything else other than what you say? {end smile}

    Beyond that, an even more important point exists:

    Identifying our sources precisely, not off-handedly, is not a matter of "academic" research. Indeed, academics, these days, are far more likely to demonstrate the "you can just take my word for it" approach. Because their focus is on the interpretation of broad patterns, they are less concerneed about errors on "small things" such as personal identifications. Their rationale is that an error here or there is not going to affect their broad interpretations (a point that's valid for their particular work, but misleading to all who use their work and believe particular asssertions).  But when genealogists assemble families, any misidentification, any assignment of a child to a wrong same-name couple, or a similar error will mean that every bit of work done thereafter on the ancestry of that person will be wrong research.

    The root of the issue here is that, way back in middle-school when we learned to write research papers, we were taught that citations were important so others will know where we got our info. The far more important reason is this: We identify our sources so we can keep ourselves straight. Across 40+ years of research, writing, and publishing in several academic fields as well as genealogy, I've noticed one thing consistently: Those who say "exact citations don't matter" are those who make the most mistakes. Unfortunately, once they go to print, they cause unrelenting work for everyone else doing research on that topic who can't just present their own accurate research but must, over and again, debate and explain the errors to others who believe what they see in print. None of us are perfect. But the willingness to take the time and trouble to precisely identify our source for each assertion is a very visible sign of whether we took the time and trouble to ensure precision in other aspects of our research and decision making.

    Bottom line: genealogical research is not a choice of "academic" vs. "normal."  It's a matter of "accuracy matters" or "it doesn't reallly matter."

  • Reply to: FHL microfilm numbers vs. digital folder numbers   3 days 15 hours ago

    Thanks, Robert, for weighing in.  One thing is for certain: Finding a system and a set of terms that works consistently for thousands of different record types is not easy. EE went through that--which is why the first edition was 10 years in the making. Terms and systems that worked for one type of record would work for some others but then fail with a different type of record that was created in a different fashion. With EE, I could simply go back to Square 1 and rethink (and redo) everything until all fit the newest and broadest set of parameters--eventually arriving at an approach and a set of terms that fit everything. At FamilySearch, you don't have that option to redo everything and delay production until your framework will cover everything that comes your way.

    My hat is off to you and your colleagues for the challenges you are working through daily.

    Grateful Lizzie.

  • Reply to: FHL microfilm numbers vs. digital folder numbers   4 days 13 hours ago


    My apologies for the confusion. We are still trying to determine the best terminology and the best user experience. 

    As you and Elizabeth have already determined, GS number is another name for FHL microfilm or fiche number. DGS number is another name for Digital Folder number. Sometimes film number is displayed, sometimes digital number. Sometimes only one of the two exists. This often confuses the code that displays the citation. When you search for a number, you can always specify either one (I hope). 

    It is no wonder users get confused!


    Robert Raymond