Tuesday, 23 August 2016

ESM's QuickLessons A DearMYRTLE Genealogy Study Group Lesson 19

Hilary Gadsby

QuickLesson 19: Layered Citations Work Like Layered Clothing    
Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 19: Layered Citations Work Like Layered Clothing,”Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation and Source Usage( : acessed 17 Aug 2016).         
RE: QuickLesson 19 - Layered Citations / Penned Question
Elizabeth Shown Mills, “RE: QuickLesson 19 - Layered Citations / Penned Question,"Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation and Source Usage( : accessed 17 Aug 2016). 

Using layering is becoming more important with the proliferation of digital records on numerous websites.

We need to understand the source of any information we are using to provide evidence for our assertions.

I use the website Find My Past for research and have found records of interest in the 1939 Register. On the website I can view both the transcription and a digital image. The transcription and image may not match so it is important to look at both.

I was looking for a relative Ruth Gadsby who I knew was born in 1901 and had died before the cut off date when the register ceased to be used by the NHS. She should be there so I looked for her with her birth year.

I eventually found her with a birth year of 1910.

Here is the part of the image with the entry.

It is obvious when you see the entry how the mistranscription happened. So citing that you viewed the actual image and not just the transcription is important to the accuracy of what we record.

My second example comes from Find My Past again.
Some of the images on the website are not fully indexed and do not show up in the records when you do a general search.

If I do an A-Z search of the records for Lincolnshire here is what I saw today.

One of these record sets states Lincolnshire, Parish Registers Browse 1538-1911.
Here is what I find when I filter down to the parish of Swinstead.

However this is not the only place online where I can find images of the parish registers. The website Lincs to the Past was the first host and still hosts images from the registers. If you type swinstead par1 into the search box on the website it brings up all the registers which, apart from the post 1837 marriages, are viewable on the website.

Let me compare them.

This register does not exactly match any of those record groups on the Find My Past website. They appear to have broken the register images into smaller groups.

This register has been included with part of another to cover these events from 1780 on the Find My Past website.

This book (PAR/1/3) has been combined with the later register for marriages (PAR/1/5) as a single group at Find My Past.

Only Baptisms (PAR/1/4) and Burials (PAR/1/7) have been kept as the same record group catalogued the same as the Lincolnshire Archives. The Baptisms and Burials 1765-1780 are missing from the Find My Past website but are viewable at the other website.

Citing the records viewed on the Find My Past website is going to be extremely difficult as they do not provide the necessary archive references and have not grouped the images in the same manner as the original archive.
The only way we can cite these records at Find My Past is to state the record group where we found them on the day we searched and that the original registers can be found at Lincolnshire Archives. It is unfortunate for us as researchers that we cannot use the reference used by the archive as this is likely to be useful to others should Find My Past no longer host these images.

To sum up we must be certain with our citations to record exactly what we used. Do not include archival references unless they are explicitly stated as the organisation on the website may be different.
Many websites licence the images and may only host them for a limited time so be certain to include a date accessed and as much detail as needed to be able to find that record again.
A record found on one website may appear to be the same as another, but sometimes there were more than one copy made of the original or the original may have been copied, ensure you know what you are looking at so that you can explain any differences.

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