Ancestry database citation (source of source)

 
 
 
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jdchess78
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Ancestry database citation (source of source)

I have used data from an Ancestry database titled "North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976." It contains images of NC death certificates from microfilm at the NC State Archives. The first part of the citation is straightforward...

"North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976," digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 April 2018), William C. Smith, 6 September 1958, Anson County;

 

My question is in regards to the second layer. Here's the source of source data that Ancestry provides (under "original data," copied verbatim):

"North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. North Carolina Death Certificates. Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina."

I have used this data to create the following second layer (shown in red):

 

"North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976," digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 April 2018), William C. Smith, 6 September 1958, Anson County; citing North Carolina Death Certificates, microfilm S.123, rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.

 

Is this acceptable for the second layer? Also, in regards to the multiple roll numbers that are mentioned, they are sort of all-encompassing and no specific roll number is given for each specific record or image. With this being the case, is it useful to list all the roll numbers as part of the citation or would it be better to include a final layer such as:

 

"North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976," digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 April 2018), William C. Smith, 6 September 1958, Anson County; citing North Carolina Death Certificates, microfilm S.123, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh; no specific roll cited.

 

What brought this question to mind was the example citation for the Christopher Ferraci WWI draft registration card from EE 11.33:

“World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 February 2007), Christopher Ferraci, serial no. 1251, order no. 367, Draft Board 7, Rochester, Monroe County, New York; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509; no specific roll cited.

For that database Ancestry gives the microfilm publication number (M1509) and the total number of rolls (4582). I suppose this situation is slightly different in that there are in fact different roll numbers mentioned, but also somewhat the same in that no specific roll is given for each record or image.

Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated.

jdchess78
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I'm not sure why, but it seems that the formatting and text color that I included with the original post has been lost. My apologies for the post not being easier to read and follow.

EE
EE's picture

jd, colorwise, you just needed to turn on "Full HTML." I did it for you, so the color's there. But I've shut down for the night, so I'll answer your question tomorrow.

The Editor

EE
EE's picture

jd, you've done a superb job of thinking through the issues. I hit no snags finding the record quickly, noted that there were two William C. Smiths who died that same day in different counties, and appreciated your inclusion of the county.

With regard to the second layer, you've also done well to record what Ancestry reports. While "playing around" with this record set, I could find no way to narrow down the details from the generic ones that Ancestry provided—short of going to the online site of the repository that Ancestry cites: the North Carolina State Archives. Sometimes, at Ancestry, with online images of microfilm, we can backtrack the images to the start of the register or record set and we will find a specific roll number there. That approach did not work in this case.

Using Ancestry's source data, if precision is embedded in our bones, we can go to NCSA's online catalog and narrow it down to a specific roll: S.123.287 (i.e., microfilm series 123, roll 287) covers 1956–59.  These two web links below enable you to arrive at the roll number. On the attached snippets, I've highlighted the key data on each catalog page:

http://ghl.nccardinal.org/eg/opac/results?query=S+123&qtype=keyword&fi%3Asearch_format=microform&locg=328

http://ghl.nccardinal.org/eg/opac/record/10177184?query=S%20123;qtype=keyword;fi%3Asearch_format=microform;locg=328

The Editor

jdchess78
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Thank you for the link to the catalog. I had tried without success to track down more detail on the microfilm. I have a question though.

I noticed that roll numbers mentioned in the catalog are NOT part of the series of roll numbers mentioned in Ancestry's source data...completely different numbers. I also noticed that the link you provided are roll numbers for the death certificate index. I'm wondering if the index and the certificates are part of the same S.123 microfilm series but have different rolls. For example, I'm pretty sure that roll 287 is the index for 1956-1959, but not for the certificates from those years. I can't seem to locate anything else in the catalog other than the index though.

 

Roll numbers from Ancestry's source data: 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297

Roll numbers from NCSA catalog for "Death certificate index [microform]": 1-9, 281-289

 

I guess this means that I'm back to not having a specific roll number. Perhaps a call to the State Archives is in order.

EE
EE's picture

jd, the differences you've noticed underscore why it's risky to try to run down more precise information and use that cataloging data as a substitute for our provider's sourc-of-the-source info. It  is  good to do the sleuthing to run it down. We can add that to our citation if we wish—as an add-on saying something like, "This appears to be the same as so-and-so ..." But then we should verify that it is so-and-so before we replace the data that our provider gives us.

The Editor