March 5, 2013

FamilyHistory.org Sources and Citations Caveat

FamilyHistory.org makes it extremely easy to source the information you find there.

The marriage source for Henry Coffey and Alice Phipps, found in the Tennessee State Marriage Index, 1780-2002 holds their marriage data transcribed from the original record.  At one time it was also attached to a digital image of the original record.

Sometime later, and after I found that source and today, FamilyHistory added a citation to the source:
index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VNCG-HT4 : accessed 05 Mar 2013), Henry Coffey and Alice Phips (Unknown), 1907.
The citations are convenient and a welcomed addition.  I am able to cut/paste/wordwrap into my genealogy software, the name of the db, the extracted data, and other info from the film, original document, microfiche, etc., and attach the citation.  Later, when and if I need to revisit the source and data, all I need do is cut and paste the URL in the citation into my browser and I am taken directly to the same place that I originally found the record....maybe![2]

As you can see from the citation, I visited the site today, Mar. 5, 2013.  The transcribed data was still there but, the image was no longer attached to that data.

Marriage License for
Henry Coffey and Alice Phipps
There are three Tennessee marriage databases on FamilyHistory.org:  Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950Tennessee, Marriages, 1796-1950; and Tennessee, State Marriage Index, 1780-2002.  The 1790-1950 database is said to be the only one now holding transcribed data and images to each marriage.  A camera icon adjacent to the link tell us it holds images.

I went to the 1790-1950 database and searched for the image.  I was unable to find it, but fortunately I had downloaded it the first time I found it.

__________________


Sometimes, records found in one db are removed and placed in another db.  For example, I earlier found the following index record in the 1790-1950 db:
Groom's Name: Logan Poe [some empty fields removed] Marriage Date: 20 Mar 1840 Marriage Place: Jefferson, [more empty fields removed] Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M51937-1 System Origin: Tennessee-EASy Source Film Number: 968301 Reference Number:
It is no longer there and is now found in the 1780-2002 db as well as the 1796-1850 db.  However, there is no image attached to the latter. The 1780-2002 record reads:
name: Margaret Green [empty fields removed] event type: Marriage event date: 26 Mar 1840 event place: Jefferson, Tennessee, United States gender: Female spouse's name: Logan Poe [empty fields removed] page: 308 [No source data was provided as is in the next record]
and, the 1796-1950 record reads:
name: Logan Poe [empty fields removed] spouse's name: Margaret Green event date: 20 Mar 1840 event place: Jefferson, Tennessee [empty fields removed] indexing project (batch) number: M51937-1 system origin: Tennessee-EASy gs film number: 968301 reference id:
Note in the last record the marriage date is 6 days earlier than in the 1780-2002 record.

FamilyHistory does provide a little help understanding the source info they post.  However, it still leaves some questions unanswered; e.g., what is EASy?

So, my point here is to advise you to check any sources that you obtained from FamilyHistory.  Make sure those sources still exist and citations will still take you where you found the information in the beginning.  Some years from now someone might want to check your sources by using the citation you took from FamilyHistory and, they may find nothing!  In fact, the links that I am finding today with citation added, may not exist next year!


  Jack





[1] In a genealogy narrative report, family group sheet, etc. the footnoted source for the marriage will read:  "Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002" index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VNCG-HT4): accessed 05 Mar 2013), Henry Coffey and Alice Phips (Unknown), 1907.

[2]This isn't always the case.  Over time FamilyHistory.org staff continue to update and combine databases, change their name (actually, date range) and then, of course, the link no longer works.  Somewhere along the way, data is eliminated, e.g.; parents names and sometimes, data are added. e.g.; sometimes parents names are added if they were not in the first db visited.

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