APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2008-07 > 1216093992
Subject: Re: [APG] Evaluating and revising
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 23:53:12 EDT
I suspected that I wasn't alone in my efforts to make sense of my own
inadequate early efforts at citation. It's been reassuring to have others confirm
they are in the same position--and gaining new insights from reviewing and
reconsidering the old sources..
I was lucky that someone early on recommended the family group sheets that
Netti Schreiner-Yantis introduced in 1969. They demanded a source citation for
every item entered, but the form and substance were left to the user. Most
frustrating are the non-specific citations--"obit, 27 Nov 1921" for a death in
a city with five newspapers, or "family list from dau.-in-law," when there
are three of them who married into the family at widely varying dates. One can
only hope that reference to the list itself will indicate which
daughter-in-law prepared it, and how much first-hand knowledge she had.
The danger of relying on a single source is frequently seen in family group
sheets submitted by apparently knowledgeable family members, complete with
dates and places for all the vital events. But census schedules that have since
been opened frequently show that there were children no longer known to more
recent family members. It seems likely that in most nineteenth-century
families, one or more children may have been born and died without being
remembered into the next generation, perhaps without leaving any record of a short
life unless it happened to span a census enumeration.
The need for the review now in progress arose not from lack of source
identification, however inadequate. Rather, it grew from two failings. The first
was in not carefully evaluating the information taken from the listed sources,
based on factors that an adequate citation would have indicated. The second
failing was in not testing the information's credibility by comparing it to
related information from other available sources.
Donn Devine, CG, CGL
Wilmington, Delaware, USA
CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are
service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license
by board certificants after periodic evaluation, and the board name is
registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.
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