07 August 2012

Ancestry.com defines a Source and Indicates "original" means "irrefutable"

This is the brief snippet of how Ancestry.com defines a "source" when a user of their tree is on the "create source" page.

I'm not certain I agree with all of it.


I realize that an index can be a source, but I think I would have left index off the list in this quick blurb. In my opinion, indexes should only be used as sources when the records which were used to create them cannot be located. Indexes are finding aids to guide one to sources. Have I used an index as a source? Probably, but rarely.

I'm not certain that legible images qualify as original sources either. The actual document itself is the original. It's been my perspective that reproductions are derivative in nature, regardless of the means by which the reproduction was made. I think there's the unspoken assumption that derivative sources are "bad," which is not true. Derivative or original merely discusses the form of the source.

Original sources do NOT provide "irrefutable proof." Whoa. That's such a loaded statement. Are there any genealogists who take their research relatively seriously who think that an original source is irrefutable "proof." And one source is not proof either, but that's a post for another day.

Just because a source is "original" does NOT mean it is irrefutable. I don't think any source is irrefutable, even Grandma.

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