TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM-L ArchivesArchiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2010-06 > 1276966058
Subject: Re: [TGF] NARA Microfilm Numbers and Citations to MortalitySchedules at Ancestry
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2010 09:47:38 -0700
After Judy's response, I realized I had sent my response prematurely. I
had meant to cut & paste from Connie's post to make it clear the part I
was responding to. So, in the interests of clarity, here it is, again.
Sorry for the double posts.
*******what I should have sent the first time********
> Which is more accurate: to refer to this as an abstract or an index? Or should I refer to it as a database entry instead? [I have a vague >recollection of this issue being discussed before, but I don't remember the outcome and can't find the thread].
One place where it was recently discussed, sort of, was on my "I need
help-yes, on a citation issue."
There were some answers, among them one from Elizabeth:
I agree that if there has been data manipulation (as you mentioned with
age/estimated birth date) it's not exactly an abstract.
Ancestry does the same type of manipulation (changing age to estimated
birth year) for it's census "view record" thingy.
To me, partial abstract seems closer to what it is than index or
extract. To me, an index is an ordered list with references to the
"real deal". This is not a list, but does provide a link to the image.
So does the list of search results. To me, the list of search results
resembles an index, in that it is a list with some order (known only to
Ancestry LOL). I call them 'search results.' I wouldn't say there's
any "index" associated with this database. Some information has been
transcribed into data fields to be used for search and other purposes,
defined by the database designer. One might think of these tiny
transcriptions as tiny extracts. So what we are viewing is a collection
of extracts/transcriptions + extra fields for data manipulation.
There are other Ancestry databases that offer their "thingy" only, with
no link to an image of the source, which is the basis for their
"thingy". The Massachusetts town VR databases, for example.
So, perhaps what Ancestry is providing here is a partial abstract +
their analysis (the estimated birth year). Of course the viewer has no
way to tell which is which (abstract vs analysis) without looking at the
I'm not fond of "database entry." We don't really know how Ancestry's
structured their database. The database could contain multiple types of
"objects". They're each database entries. The title for what is pointed
to by the link you gave us is "U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules,
1850-1885 about Sarah Sheets." Ancestry's title for the image page is
"U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 Record for Sarah
Sheets." (because that's the search result I clicked on, this title
changes with whatever search result is used, so there are multiple
titles for the same image) Maybe "database entry" is ok, since it
avoids using index/abstract/extract inappropriately--as long as we also
include Ancestry's title, to identify which type of entry we're talking
about. The problem is, for the image database entry, we've got a
word/phrase that describes what we're viewing. One would like to be
able to do the same for the other entry.
I think it's very important to note that for the "thingy" that your link
takes us to, the information has been *processed* by someone in order to
make it available in this online database. Most likely it was created
for the database, hopefully based upon it's corresponding image. The
image is from the NARA microfilm. This page and the information on it
is not. The author there is Ancestry, one would presume. IMO
For the MA town VR databases, it's not clear to me who the author is for
what I see on Ancestry. They provide the source as the NEHGS online
database. The NEHGS online database also has images of the books'
pages, which Ancestry's does not. So the databases are not one and the
same. I have not invested any time trying to figure out exactly what
Ancestry offers, I use the NEHGS database. or read the books which are
in the public domain.
I'll be interested to read what others think. It's clear as mud to me.