25 February 2012

Tying Those Sources to the Correct Information

This is in response to my recent post on the citing of sources in Ancestry.com trees (Citing What It Does Not Say) and how frequently sources are indicated as implying more precision than they actually do.

As a quick experiment, I created a new person in a new file. This new person was entered in as a female named Nancy Newman with a year of birth of 1846 in Indiana and a year of death of 1923 in Illinois. Her husband of Riley Rampley was entered. That was it. 

There were several "leaves" that came up for Nancy in my tree. One was the 1900 census. This year was chosen because it included a month and year of birth for her. I already knew where Nancy would be in 1900, so that wasn't the problem. 

The 1900 census enumeration extraction is shown on the left and my file information is shown on the right. 

Before I did anything, I chose the "advanced options" at the bottom of the screen. (click on the image to view larger)

 Doing so brought up the boxes as shown below. I decided that I did not need the alternate for Nancy from 1900 as I always use maiden names and the 1900 enumeration uses her married name. I do wish that the name could be separated into the last name and the "rest" so that alternate first names could easily be recorded.

The 1900 residence information was completely new for my file, so adding it and the source was not really a big deal.

The birth was more problematic.

If I simply add the 1900 as a source for the 1846 year of birth then I will be implying that the 1900 census indicated Nancy was born in 1846 in Indiana. That's not what the census says. Ancestry.com easily allows me to do this. In this case, I want an alternate fact and add the source. That's NOT how the screen below is set up.(click on the image to view larger)
To get it correct, I should click on "Add as an Alternate Fact" which is done in the image below. Unfortunately I LEFT THE "ADD SOURCE" clicked under Nancy's name so the 1900 census is linked to her name as a source, although I did not check the "Add as an Alternate Fact." (click on the image to view larger)

We'll discuss additional issues in future blog posts on this topic.