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Sources - Categorized in: Questions and AnswersQuestions and Answers

4 posts. Started 2 May 2005 by rwcrooks. Latest reply 3 May 2005 by lkessler. RSS 2.0 feed for this topic RSS
1. Rich Crooks (rwcrooks)
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Joined: Tue, 1 Feb 2005
0 blog comments, 29 forum posts
Posted: Mon, 2 May 2005 Permalink
Only 17 of 54 GEDCOM's used the SOUR tag? So, with the advent of the internet and the ability to graft whole branches onto a family trr in a few seconds are people no longer documenting their sources?

I find this low number of SOURced GEDCOMS both disheartening and not surprising from what I've seen in recent genealogy.
2. Louis Kessler (lkessler)
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Joined: Sun, 9 Mar 2003
135 blog comments, 199 forum posts
Posted: Mon, 2 May 2005 Permalink
Of course, my sample of GEDCOMs is not statistically random and is a bit biased towards older ones. But none-the-less, I would agree with your conclusion.

To top this off, of the 17 GEDCOMs, 5 of them have very few sources, less than 1 source per 2 individuals. 6 of them are what I would call marginally documented, with 1 to 2 sources per individual. To be well documented, it appears that 3 to 5 sources per individual are needed, and 6 of those 17 files have that (including the CROOKS.GED file that you sent me to help test Behold - well done!)

I think most programs make two mistakes with sources:
(1) They don't make it very easy to include them.
(2) They don't encourage that it be done at data entry time.

As a result most people, I presume, enter the information about their relatives and their major events first on a family info screen. Sources usually require clicking on some button and entering a number of other forms which takes them away from the data they want to enter. Often they might say "I'll get back to entering the sources later" and they never do.

I want Behold version 2 to emphasize entering sources and make it very easy to do so. I have always recommended entering data on a source-by-source basis. Take one source item, enter the source info, and then add all the data from it where it belongs. Behold will add that source reference to everywhere data is added until you change the "current source".

In fact I'm going to try this with my own binders and boxes of material to test this out and make sure it works effectively as the prototype for version 2 takes shape.

Louis
3. Rich Crooks (rwcrooks)
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Joined: Tue, 1 Feb 2005
0 blog comments, 29 forum posts
Posted: Tue, 3 May 2005 Permalink
When you get down to what genealogy is all about, it is all about sources. If I'm at a brick wall, how do I know where the info for an ancestor came from if I don't document? How does someone else know where the information I give them comes from if I don't document? How do they know how accurate it is if I don't document?

I believe that every fact needs to be documented. Let's say that I get a family tree from Aunt Fanny and work hard, get it all integrated into my existing file, keep developing it, extend it back a few generations, etc. Now I find out that a couple of Aunt Fanny's basic facts are wrong (and by that, I mean people being linked incorrectly). If I haven't documented these facts as coming from Aunt Fanny, how can I find the other info she gave me because it will all have to be double checked.

I use PAF, and it is fairly easy to add sources to the file, but I agree that it is an extra step that the user has to do manually. There is no encouragement, no automatic mechanism to do it. How about when you enter a BMD, occupation, census, or whatever, a source screen automatically pops up and you either enter your source infor, or press the "No Source" button?

I like the idea of entering data by source instead of by event. A baptismal registration from England 1800's will have name of child, names of parents, residence, possibly occupation, sponsors (which could be relatives). It makes much more sense to tie all of this in in a single shot. I have no idea how you'd program that (but I guess that is your problem :) and thanks for the efforts!)

So far I've been pretty impressed with Behold and look forward to additional enhancements to the Everything Report. I am surprised at how few bugs I find in it as I look at my data!
4. Louis Kessler (lkessler)
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Joined: Sun, 9 Mar 2003
135 blog comments, 199 forum posts
Posted: Tue, 3 May 2005 Permalink
I agree with you 100% re sources.

One clarification: With Behold, you still won't enter the data by source. It will still be entered by person and by event into the Everything Report.

But the difference (in my early concept) is that there will be a "current source" window always visible at the bottom of the Everything Report window. You first enter what source you are working with, and then all the data you enter in the Everything Report will automatically be linked to that source. This will make it easy to document everything about a source, or all the information received from one e-mail, etc. I call this source-based data entry.

Each source will have a user-defineable Reference number and/or Abbreviation that is meaningful to the user, so labels such as B14, SmiJ82a, File 1 - page 13, Photo953, or whatever method you use to file your source information can be accommodated so that you can find your source again. Sources will be ordered and listed by your Reference number/Abbreviation to make it easy to ensure your source documentation matches your source documents.

Louis

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