GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2000-01 > 0949386791
From: "Leo van de Pas" <>
Subject: Re: Fw: books evaluaton on line
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 14:33:11 +0800
----- Original Message -----
From: Stewart Baldwin <>
Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2000 1:57 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: books evaluaton on line
> On 30 Jan 2000 21:05:34 -0800, (Leo van de Pas)
> >Thanks William for pointing that out. Also I need to point out that I
> >actually used the words (in a reduced form) given to me by Stewart
> >In his criticism it appears that he had not read the URL as otherwise,
> >surely, he would have remembered passing those words on to me.
> If you take my words on a source, tone them down,
I don't think I toned "them down" I said the same in fewer words.
That I graded it one higher (in the mean time the grade has gone down) is
simply because all the work is a combined effort. That is why I did not
report "who said what". I hope that is fair enough?
and grade the source
> more highly than I did in my comments, then you are taking my words
> out of context, and you should not claim that the words came from me.
..............You are quite correct, I did not use your words, but I
certainly used your sentiments which, to me, is the same.
And if you had not made your remarks, nothing would have been said. I still
believe you made your remarks without, at that time, having seen that entry.
Did you rely on someone elses words?
> >Also, William Addams Reitwiesner is quite correct to describe it as a
> >'hodge-podge'. The intention was to go wider than just the Anglo-Saxon
> >(whether USA or Great Britain) sources. We have succeeded in doing that,
> >even Stewart Baldwin, if I remember correctly, maintained that some of
> >titles were new to him, and therefor regarded the valuations given as too
> >high. Well, in advance I did ask his co-operation but now he is crying
> >spilled milk.
> You misstate what I said. I did not say that I regarded the grades as
> too high because I was unfamiliar with the sources.
..........My apologies, I think it was my turn to misread your message.
I would not offer
> an opinion of a source with which I was unfamiliar. What I stated was
> that the large number of high grades made me suspect that many of
> these sources were being graded too leniently. In school, if you see
> a class that got much higher grades than you would ordinarily expect,
> then there is more than one possible conclusion. While it could mean
> that the class was smarter than average, it could also mean that the
> person doing the grading had very low standards. When the overall
> distribution of grades is much higher than expected, you cannot blame
> someone for suspecting that the second of these alternatives might be
> true. (If any of your informants showed a noticeable reluctance to
> assign D's and F's to bad sources, you may want to reconsider
> accepting their ratings.)
............As I said, many of the valuations and descriptions for
individual books did come from different people. If the valuation differed,
I took the lower one and added +. I did that in most cases. With Burke's I
received several C and only one D, yours.
And so I reflected what the majority stated.
Also, when I started I kept you informed in detail what and how it was going
to be done. I cannot find the message but, I am sure, I asked you to be one
of the valuers. I wrote down the names I asked and marked those who said
yes. Next to your name is no mark as having said yes.
> >As we all hope that gen-medieval obtains world-wide members, we also have
> >try to help those people who are World wide in their interests.
> I am not suggesting otherwise. However, you are not helping people if
> you give them incorrect or misleading information about whether or not
> a source is reliable.
..................As I said, it is intended to be a joint effort. I can only
give what I received. A dissenting contribution, like yours, could have made
> To give an example of misleading information take the following
> example for the webpage:
> -----begin quote from webpage-----
> Title: Early Sources of Scottish History
> Author: A. O. Anderson
> Published: 1922
> Rating: A
> Online Review: A much cited classic. Accurate and comprehensive
> -----end quote from webpage-----
> This source is not a compiled genealogy, it is an English translation
> of many of the primary sources that relate to the early history of
This description is given by Anderson's other entry. I am grateful for this
remark, because it makes me realise I had not pointed out one thing, the
list is not intended to be 'pure' genealogy. The two sister fields, history
and biography, are meant to be part of the list. I have already asked
Brigitte to correct that shortcoming.
For the researcher who knows how to use it correctly, it is
> a very valuable tool. It is an excellent, but somewhat outdated, work
> of scholarship, and the only significant complaint I have about it is
> that the author "translated" all personal names into a "standard"
> form, rather than leaving them as they appeared in the original
.....Isn't that a 'standard' approach? The Anglo-Saxons translate names into
English accepted forms, the French into French, the Germans into German?
However, that does not mean that the information in this
> source can be trusted. The data in this book is only as reliable as
> the primary sources from which they are taken, which vary widely in
> reliability. If the primary source gave data that was false, then
> that is what appears, for Anderson was just translating what the
> sources said. A novice who reads the above description is not going
> to understand that, and is going to be mislead into thinking that
> genealogical data can be copied from this work with a high degree of
> confidence, and that is not always the case.
> Genealogy books come in different types. When I first saw the
> suggestion that some of the "ratings" might be collected together, I
> was under the impression that it would include mainly ratings for
> compiled genealogies, such as CP, ES, RFC, and other sources (good or
> bad) which are primarily intended as reference works giving proven
> genealogical relationships. Other types of works, such as translated
> or edited primary sources (e.g., Anderson's "Early Sources of Scottish
> History"), ongoing research (e.g., Settipani's "Nos ancêtres de
> l'Antiquité" and the various articles on Agatha), finding aids (e.g.,
> the genealogical guides), and auxiliary works (e.g., historical works
> which happen to have some genealogical tables), are ones which I think
> should be listed in a separate list, and left ungraded, relying
> instead on comments describing the content.
For instance with Ronny Bodine's book, he received a valuation but it was
marked that it was a work in progress. Because it is in progress, why not
give it a valuation?
In particular, primary
> sources and ongoing research usually have enough complicating factors
> that trying to assign a letter grade is undesirable. Finding aids
> which also report relationships (or alleged relationships) and are
> frequently misused as if they were compiled genealogies (e.g., RD500),
> if graded at all, should be graded according to the accuracy of the
> relationships that they report (in the case of RD500, no better than a
> "D", considering the large number of unproven and false royal lines
> contained therein), and it should be mentioned that the work should be
> used as a finding aid rather than as a source for relationships.
> Historical works containing a large number of genealogical tables, if
> graded at all, should have separate grades for the work as a whole and
> the reliability of the genealogical tables.
> I appreciate that a lot of work has gone into this list, but I don't
> think that I should be accused of "crying about spilled milk" simply
> because I point out problems.
What I meant was that you have had all chances to participate, and that
would have been greatly appreciated. Not contributing, when the chance is
there, and then to be the second in line to criticise,
I think that is cyring over spilled milk. I am grateful for good and bad
criticism, and have already implemented some of yours.. In the list there
are quite a few sources without valuations and descirptions, how about
helping us to give those more detail?
Leo van de Pas
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