Grave marker citation

 
 
 
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jdchess78
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Grave marker citation

My question is likely an issue of personal preference, but I would like some input and advice. I currently use the following format for rural grave marker citations...

Source List

Liberty HIll Baptist Church Cemetery (Montgomery County, North Carolina, 5.5 WSW of Troy on SR 1134). Grave marker.

Reference Note

Liberty Hill Baptist Church Cemetery (Montgomery County, North Carolina, 5.5 WSW of Troy on SR 1134), grave marker, Julia Wade, photographed March 2012.

 

I would like to use a format that is more geographically based for the source list and reference note...something that puts them more in line with census and vital record citations. Such as...

Source List

North Carolina. Montgomery County. Grave markers. Liberty Hill Baptist Church Cemetery (5.5 WSW of Troy on SR 1134).

Reference Note

Montgomery County, North Carolina, grave marker, Julia Wade, photographed March 2012; Liberty Hill Church Cemetery (5.5 WSW of Troy on SR 1134).

 

This format moves the cemetery into a position where it is more like a repository. My thought is that this would keep all cemetery entries for a particular county together in the source list. I'm a huge stickler for consistency and I feel like this citation format is more consistent with census and vital record citations, for which I follow EE almost to the letter. Obviously, all necessary information is still presented, but is this an acceptable format? Any potential caveats to using this format vs. the basic format presented in EE?

EE
EE's picture

jdchess78,  your preference is valid (and covered in EE's 2.47 and 2.50 "Source List Arrangements: By Geographic Locale").  The downside is seen in your Reference note, where two issues arise:

  1. "Montgomery County, North Carolina," is in the "author" position of your note—but, of course, "Montgomery County, North Carolina" is not the creator of that record.
  2. If you equate "Liberty Hill Church Cemetery" with the "repository," then you are saying that Liberty Hill is the repository of your photograph because it is actually Julia Wade's photograph of the grave marker that you are citing.

If you are using a database program to organize your data, and using the templates the software supplies, then you will likely have to create a Source List citation freeform to accomplish what you wish to do there, but you could still create the Reference Note using standard sequence for the items.

The Editor

jdchess78
jdchess78's picture

Thank you for the reply and excellent explaination. So do I understand correctly that changing the Source List entry to be geographical would be acceptable? I think part of my issue is that, in my mind, the Source List and Reference note should be somewhat consistent, but if I understand correctly, that does not necessarily need to be the case. Perhaps, I should start to think of them as more distinct in makeup and function.

 

So my source list entry could be...

North Carolina. Montgomery County. Grave markers. Liberty Hill Baptist Church Cemetery (5.5 WSW of Troy on SR 1134).

 

While the reference note could be...

Liberty Hill Baptist Church Cemetery (Montgomery County, North Carolina, 5.5 WSW of Troy on SR 1134), grave marker, Julia Wade, read and photographed March 2012.

 

Does it matter that the location is removed from the parentheses for the source list entry, while remaing enclosed for the reference note?

On a slightly different note, I do not entirely follow you on the repository / photograph issue. I am citing the grave marker itself, not the photograph that I took. The photograph is meant to be data collection info only. The marker itself is in fact the source, which is why I wonder about a cemetery being a "repository" for grave markers.

EE
EE's picture

Yes, jdchess78, your source list can be arranged in the manner that works best for the kind of sources you are using. See EE 2.47–2.54 "Source List Arrangements."

When both the source list and the reference notes present the essential elements in the same order, data entry can be simpler in some software. If or when you share your database, it might also be easier for others to "connect the dots" between your reference notes and your source list. 

However, for most researchers the source list is used only for day-to-day research. It's not used when we publish articles in journals. Reliable journals call for each fact to be keyed to the evidence that supports it—i.e., specific reference notes—not for a generic list of sources at the end.

Your source list might be published eventually, if you proceed to the point of creating a book. At that point, however, authors typically cull the source list to present only the most relevant and most reliable sources and they frequently choose to edit that source list then for better organization based on hindsight.

The Editor

EE
EE's picture

jdchess78 wrote:

The reference note could be...

Liberty Hill Baptist Church Cemetery (Montgomery County, North Carolina, 5.5 WSW of Troy on SR 1134), grave marker, Julia Wade, read and photographed March 2012.

Does it matter that the location is removed from the parentheses for the source list entry, while remaing enclosed for the reference note?

Parentheses usually aid clarity. When we have a string of items, each signifying something different, and all are strung together by commas, we can often wonder what-modifies-what and just what a specific piece of data represents. In the above reference note, for example, does "Julia Wade" represent the person on the grave marker or the person who read and photographed the marker in 2012?

The Editor

EE
EE's picture

jdchess78 wrote:

On a slightly different note, I do not entirely follow you on the repository / photograph issue. I am citing the grave marker itself, not the photograph that I took. The photograph is meant to be data collection info only. The marker itself is in fact the source, which is why I wonder about a cemetery being a "repository" for grave markers.

If you are the person who took the photograph, on your own visit to the cemetery and you are personally vouching for its reliability, then certainly you would want to reference the marker itself; but the citation needs to be worded in a way that it is clear you are the individual who took the photograph that you are also citing.

In the QuickCheck Models that accompany the cemetery chapter, you'll notice the differences between the model on p. 213 (which cites a photograph supplied to the researcher by someone else) and the one on p. 214 (which cites a personal visit and says "personally read, 1992").  In cases in which we personally visit the cemetery and take a photograph, we could combine those two by saying "personally read and photographed, 2012." 

EE 5.10 "Markers & Plaques: Basic Elements" goes into more detail.

The Editor

jdchess78
jdchess78's picture

EE,

Thank you for detailed reply. It always helps to see the "why" behind what is sometimes seemingly obscure formatting. In this, I'm reminded of your comment regarding clarity always trumping consistency.

jdchess78
jdchess78's picture

An additional question regarding grave marker citations...

What is the best way to handle a church or cemetery name change? For example, someone buried at a Methodist church prior to 1968 when the United Methodist Church was formed...the marker is currently at Whatever United Methodist Church Cemetery, but they were buried at Whatever Methodist Church Cemetery. Do I need to note that when the marker was placed (or when they died), it was actually Whatever Methodist Church?

Also, what if a county boundary has changed since the death/burial and the cemetery is now in a different county? Should this be notated in the citation? Obviously, this is important for place names in the database, and I always record, in my database, the place name at the time of the event whenever possible, but I'm curious as to your opinion regarding the citations.

EE
EE's picture

jdchess, re name changes, here's a snippet from EE's index, with the relevant pages:

Re place names: EE 8.12 "Citing Jurisdictions" (pp. 387-88) discusses and provides examples for changes that involve place names. Also in the index, under "place names" you'll find several other pages that discuss special issues involving place names.

The Editor

jdchess78
jdchess78's picture

I have reviewed those particular sections, but still cannot get a clear understanding of the best way to approach a grave marker citation in the event of a cemetery name change. An example would be... Source Note

  • Flag Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery (Randolph County, North Carolina, 7.7 miles S of Asheboro on NC 159). Grave markers.

Reference Note

  • Flag Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery (Randolph County, North Carolina; 7.7 miles S of Asheboro on NC 159), Enoch Whatley marker (footstone), personally read October 2015.

  When Enoch was buried, in 1943, the church was Flag Springs Methodist Church. The UMC wasn't formed until 1968. Obviously for Enoch's place of burial in the database, I have the place recorded as Flag Springs Methodist (without the United) and a place detail note stating that the church became Flag Springs United Methodist around 1968. Should the reference note simply have a note at the end stating the name of the church at the time of Enoch's burial, such as... 

  • Flag Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery (Randolph County, North Carolina; 7.7 miles S of Asheboro on NC 159), Enoch Whatley marker (footstone), personally read October 2015. At the time of Enoch's burial, the church was known as Flag Springs Methodist Church.

  Is this sufficient for clarity, or should the reference note be changed entirely with a note stating that it later became Flag Springs UMC? 

  • Flag Springs Methodist Church (Randolph County, North Carolina; 7.7 miles S of Asheboro on NC 159), Enoch Whatley marker (footstone), personally read October 2015. Flag Springs Methodist Church became Flag Springs United Methodist Church about 1968, when the UMC was formed.

Also, how does this apply to the source list entry, assuming a published bibliography? Again, any clarity on this issue would be greatly appreciated. I just want to get it right. 

EE
EE's picture

Ah, jdchess78, it's amazing how self-doubt can grip us when we start thinking about citations! You really are grasping the issues better than you realize. Either one of your last two examples will explain the situation.

You also ask: "How does this apply to the source list entry, assuming a published bibliography?" If your source list arranges cemeteries by name, rather than geographic location, then there will be but slight difference in the two options above

  • Flag Springs Methodist Church
  • Flag Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery

They would both fall amid the "F'" entries of the section in which you list original sources. You would not need to explain the name change in your bibliography given the close similarity of the names.

If you arrange your original sources geographically, then you would have something like this:

United States. North Carolina. Randolph County.

Flag Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery. 7.7 miles S of Asheboro on NC 159. Grave markers.

 

The Editor