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Archiver > TMG > 2011-03 > 1299780889

From: "John Cardinal" <>
Subject: [TMG] Addresses in event tags? If so...
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2011 13:14:49 -0500

This message is partly in response to the Address tags discussion in the
"design question" thread. My intent is not to suggest any new features in
TMG, but rather to share one of my genealogy projects and prompt other TMG
users to describe what they did in similar circumstances.

Background: In the period from 1875 to 1900 there were three closely related
people named Louis Cardinal in the Boston area: a father, his son, and a
nephew of the father who is a cousin of the son. By 1884, all three were
adults. All three moved multiple times during the 25 year period under
scrutiny. In some source material, it's not clear which of the three people
named Louis is the subject. An 1890 Census would help, but even if that
magically appeared, it wouldn't solve the issue.

As part of trying to understand how the source material aligns to the
different people (I hum the song "Louie, Louie" when working on this
project! <g>), I decided to use the city directories for Boston and
surrounding towns to track their movement in detail. Given there weren't a
lot of entries for all the Cardinals in the area covered by the Boston city
directory, I decided to transcribe all Cardinal entries for that time
period. I entered the data in a spreadsheet and included some columns that
made it easy to sort the entries. So, for example, if one entry named a
"Geo. Cardinal", I entered that text in the name transcription column, but I
also entered "Cardinal, George" in another column. When I was fairly certain
that a particular entry referred to a specific person in my TMG project, I
entered the TMG ID# in another column. That way, I could sort by TMG ID to
bring all the entries together for a certain person, and when sorted by TMG
ID _and_ by year within that, I could see the address variations in

This process was useful, and (for example) I discovered a connection to one
of the Cardinals who was not named Louis but was in multiple city
directories. I've tracked down more direct evidence of the connection, but I
probably would not have known to look for that evidence without having
analyzed the city directory entries in detail. So, while there are still
some big unsolved issues, I've extended my understanding of the family.

I have not decided what to do with the transcribed city directory entries,
but I am tempted to enter them as Address tags. I have done that in isolated
cases before. When I did so, I'd enter as few tags as necessary. For
example, if five consecutive city directory entries specify the same address
for a particular person, I'd enter a single Address tag, set the date to the
range of years, and cite each of the directories.

My reluctance now is related to an unresolved issue in my research process:
am I going to use TMG event tags to record transcribed source data, or am I
going to use them primarily to record conclusions supported by citations
that point to evidence stored elsewhere, including transcriptions, etc?

A closely related question is how much source material, transcribed or
otherwise, do I want to include in any published output from my research? If
one follows the "begin with the end in mind" philosophy, then I have to
resolve the publishing question or at least use a process that allows me to
resolve it later.

Regarding the city directory data, I found it fascinating to discover how
often the research subjects moved, who shared an address when, etc. I am not
confident, however, that it will be fascinating or even interesting to
someone who peruses a published version of my research.

Regarding source material in general, I think some of it is fascinating to
most people, even those people with little or no interest in genealogy. If I
say, "Grandpa Peter Cloherty was born in 1893 in Ireland", most of my
Cloherty-side cousins won't care. If I say, "Anyone want to see a scanned
image of grandpa Peter Cloherty's birth certificate?", many, if not most,
are interested. It's relatively easy (pun intended) to get people interested
in the stories of the successes, failures, trials, and tribulations of our
ancestors, but interest wanes after that. I think including source materials
helps to enrich the more mundane details (where/when born?), but I am not
sure where I will draw the line.

Obviously, this topic is not completely specific to TMG, but what people
decide (or have decided) about this topic affects how data should be stored
in TMG.


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