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Archiver > TMG > 2000-01 > 0948595354

From: Lee Hoffman/KY <>
Subject: Re: TMG-L: Newbie question regarding surety levels
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 21:42:34 -0500

Laura Meeks wrote:
>I'm new to TMG and am unsure about assigning numbers to sureties. When
>entering information found in a town history (names, dates, places of
>birth/marriage/death/burial), for example, what is the general concensus as
>to the surety level? Should I regard the info as heresay, since I haven't
>done the research mysef, thus being uncertain as to the validity or
>acurateness of said info and assign it a 1, or would it be considered a
>secondary source, thereby receiving a surety level of 2? If you believe
>the info should receive a 1, what would be considered a 2? How about
>compilations of courthouse records? A 2? Census records...a 3?

Surety value assignment is such a personal thing that each user needs to
develop their own definitions of each value. The standard definitions
always mean something a little different to each person. Even then the
assignment will vary based on the specific source and your knowledge of it,
the subject of the source, and the type of source. Also, keep in mind that
while the source as a whole has a default Surety Value assigned, the real
use of a Surety Value is to indicate the reliability of the data in a tag.
For the cases that you mention, I would assign either a "1" or a "2" to a
local history although I have used a "-" and a "0" in a couple of cases
where I know the data is incorrect or that I feel is not reliable.

Look at it this way -- Primary records would be original records or
records made at the time of the event and would be assigned a "3". A copy
of that record (we're speaking of hand-written copy here and not photocopy)
would be a secondary record (a compilation of courthouse records), and
might be assigned a "2". A family legend (say that the progenitor of the
family came from France or was an Irish Baron in the court of Charles I) is
an example of hearsay and would be assigned a "1" (although these cases
might not even get that high a value <g>). Estimates of almost any kind
or basis would be given a "0".

Keep in mind also that you might have an primary source (e.g., a death
certificate) which would be assigned an overall "3" Surety Value. But if
you document the Birth tag using this source, then the Surety for the birth
date and/or place should normally have a lower Surety Value -- especially
if the informant for the data is not the mother or father (i.e., the
subject was not young at death).

You might want to visit the TMG Tips and Helps page of my website (URL
below). My data entry standards include my personal definitions of Surety
Values which are slightly different than the standard definitions.

Hope this helps -

Lee Hoffman/KY
My website: <>;
A user of the best genealogy program, The Master Genealogist (TMG)

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