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Archiver > APG > 2009-06 > 1245773129

Subject: Re: [APG]Will any one software program do these 3 (ideally, these 5) things?
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2009 09:05:29 -0700


The problem of accurately assigning sources to event details bothered me

I devised the following solution:

1. Add note fields for the relevant events (mine are: birth, marriage,
death, and name. If the problem occurs elsewhere I'll add more note
fields <g>). I call them: BirthEvidence, MarriageEvidence,
DeathEvidence and NameEvidence

2. Every piece of evidence collected goes into one of the note fields
with a source citation. In my software, there is no limit on the number
of sources linked to a note field or to each character in a note field.
So I can, if I want, break thinks down as far as I want. I prefer to
quote the source exactly and assign the source. So, over time, a list
grows, showing what I found and where it was found for a particular

3. Every time I add new evidence I evaluate what I have. and decide my
current 'best guess' for what should go in the event fields
(date/place/memo). My software accommodates custom dates, so I can
pretty much put whatever I want to there. I do not bother to assign
sources to the event field, because the event field reflects my
JUDGEMENT. If I want to, I write down my reasoning at the top of the
associated evidence note field, along with any questions/thoughts etc.
In my software, notes are limited to 64,000 characters. If I should
need more space, I will add a 2nd evidence note for that event.

With this approach,
-it's clear what data is associated with what source
-I never lose data, even that which I've decided is inferior to another
-I know immediately what my current thinking is
-if I'm careful, I have an easy overview of the research chronology
associated with that event

This is working great for data collection (the INput, as Elizabeth calls

For reports I have a couple of options.
- Assign a source(s) to the event field. I think what I will do here
is ADD a second event field, one for print. Actually, now that I've
written this, I realize that I should have added the 2nd event field
already and should be using it for storing #3 above. It would save me
from having to edit all the 'normal' report formats to make sure the
print-event field prints. Regardless, I would assign sources to the
print-event field and keep my EVALUATION-event field separate. In my
software I can copy/paste source citations, so it will be easy to use
citations from the evidence notes, once I've decided which ones to use.
What I cannot do in my software is assign a field to be equal to another
field (like the print-event = evaluation-event). Wouldn't that be a

- Write up any 'discussion' regarding that event, with the appropriate
citations. I would probably create one or more narrative note fields
for print, depending upon the purpose. I foresee using narratives (note
fields) a lot for reports, and use event fields primarily for charts
(where sources may not be as needed--see, trying to talk myself out of
needing a print-event field LOL ).

I haven't created reports, so haven't thought through the OUTput
details, beyond creating screen displays showing me the above evidence
notes along with the 'normal' events, so it's easy for me to keep track
while I'm working with my data on the computer. I'm not particularly
concerned, because my software gives users a lot of flexibility for
defining formats, adding fields, etc. I should do it soon, if only to
work out the kinks now, so I don't have to spend more time later.

I have a Mac and use Reunion. That doesn't help you much, since it
appears that you're looking at Windows software. I do not know, but,
from what others have said, other Windows genealogy programs also permit
users to add note and event fields, as well as permit assigning multiple
sources to within a note field. Most seem to limit users to assigning
sources to the 'whole' event, but I've convinced myself that I'm better
off not trying to track all those bits and pieces in an event field.
Like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. <g> So, for those
programs that do permit users to assign separate sources to event dates,
places, memos--that's no longer an interesting feature for me. I don't
see why adding multiple events would be better than storing basically
the same info in a evidence-note. I think the note is better because I
can record an exact quote, and not think about breaking up the info into
the event subfields. And I can record my current thinking about all the
evidence, in the same place as the evidence list. But the add-an-event
approach seems to work for some folk, I've seen it mentioned more than
once, not just on this list.

Anyway, from what others have said about other Windows software, it
sounds like my approach could be implemented with some of those programs
as well.

BTW, I do have other evidence-notes. BioSketch where I record every
sighting of an individual--creating sort of a timeline. and for
specific projects, like MilitaryEvidence, etc. I think this means that
I've decided, in general, that it's more time-efficient for me to record
all the specifics in notes, and not try to fit all the nitty-gritty into
the event/fact framework. Events are used to get an overview on where
the individual was, when, and a general idea of the 'what'. And, in the
case of conflicting, ambiguous evidence, using event fields to reflect
my judgement.

Good luck, Linda!

>From another
Linda Gardner

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