Images of collections of register pages from FHL microfilm preservation copies

Dear Editor;

On 2 February 2002, I ordered images of 4 statutory register certificates; one for a marriage and 3 for births. As was the routine at the time, the correct references for ordering the images was determined by searching the online International Genealogical Index (IGI) and submitting an order form to the "Family & Church History MAIL SERVICES". All of the images came from FHL fiche 6,035,516 (see attached order form image).

As I am now more familiar with the look of the Scottish Statutory Registers, I realized the provenance of the record images. Hoping that I could save a few dollars by correctly citing these FHL images, rather than purchasing them from ScotlandsPeople, I consulted the FamilySearch catalog. Unfortunately; the catalog just lists the noted fiche as "Register of births, marriages and deaths of Scotland", "compiled by British Reference of the Family History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah." So; I'm on rather unfamiliar ground and could use a nudge in the correct direction.

To me, this seems to be an FHL Microfilm/Microfiche (Preservation Copy) of a collection of register pages. Would it be correct to view it as such? Would one, therefor, model the citation after the example given in sec. 9.38, p. 465 of the 3rd ed. of Evidence Explained? Perhaps there's a better example to use?


Submitted byHistory-Hunteron Tue, 07/02/2019 - 09:53

Dear Editor;

I made the following attempt at generating a citation for one of the images noted in my previous post. This is well outside my comfort zone, so I would appreciate any feedback you have.

Source List Entry

"Register of births, marriages and deaths of Scotland." Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FHL fiche 6,035,516. Family History Library, Salt Lake, Utah.

First Reference

Scotland, Stirling county, Denny parish, birth registration, entry 26, William Baird, born 29 January 1864, registered 18 February 1864; FHL fiche 6,035,516 (batch no. C114761), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Family History Library (Salt Lake, Utah). Print from fiche received from the Family & Church History Mail Services in February 2002.

Subsequent Note

Scotland, Stirling, Denny, image, birth registration, entry 26, William Baird, born 29 January 1864, registered 18 February 1864.

Submitted byEEon Tue, 07/02/2019 - 09:59

History-Hunter, EE would not try to use a current catalog description to cite a record ordered in 2002 at which time it carried a different catalog description--not without getting the film that corresponds to the current catalog description and verifying that they are one and the same. Then EE would cite it to the FHL film--until and unless EE obtained the record from ScotlandsPeople.

The basic rule is wise: We cite what we use. All archives have record sets that seem similar but have differences. Trying to "perfect" a citation today for material we acquired in an era when identification was much looser is risky without actually getting the document all over again.

What you can safely do is to continue with the citation you created originally and then add a note to say something such as this appears to be from the record set that ScotlandsPeople identifies as yada, yada, yada.

Submitted byHistory-Hunteron Tue, 07/02/2019 - 12:41

Dear Editor;

I understand what you are saying and you are right. But; it's rather a shame, though, because re-ordering all my current LDS info from ScotlandsPeople and creating new citations is going to be a VERY costly and labor-intensive thing to do. I only hope that by the time I get things re-done, things haven't changed and I have to begin over ... yet again.

This situation raises an associated issue. Even with having those documents directly from ScotlandsPeople and having created fully correct citations, another person cannot even review my work without paying a fee or visiting Scotland to view the documents in person. You have touched on this on more than one occasion and are quite correct to have noted it. This issue is possibly even worse with sites like Ancestry, since they are still effectively pay sites and there isn't really an accessible physical repository for many of its collections.

I can see that something has to change or doing ones genealogy may well become too expensive for some.

P.S. Sorry to vent, but this has been building for a while.

Submitted byEEon Tue, 07/02/2019 - 22:04

H-H, this is definitely a problem for anyone who has been doing research for years (not to mention decades).

In my own work, when I prepare material for publication, I review all citations for that piece of work, to make sure they are up-to-date and accurate. For citations that are no longer current, then I make the effort and the investment to update in whatever way necessary. But within our ongoing work, when we have used thousands of sources, trying to keep current with physical materials that archives shift into differently organized collections—and digital materials that online providers migrate into different media with different access paths—is an impossibility. The archives and the corporations change faster than we can keep up with them.

That is one reason why it is essential for us to carefully identify our materials when we do access something, to record an access date and, for digital materials, to identify where the original resides if at all possible. Those basics then provide a foundation for ourselves and others at a later date when we need to access the material again.

Submitted byHistory-Hunteron Wed, 07/03/2019 - 12:00

To wrap this up...


Dear Editor;

Thank you for your reply, your understanding of my obvious frustration and being the voice of reason.

Since I started genealogy, many years ago, I have been keeping very precise notes in addition to my citations and site screen captures. So; for many regions, I can just reformat/augment my citations to create one in EE "style".

However; many of the records received via mail from the FHL really never had sufficient information to do this. Of course, I do have some records for which I was able to review the FHL microfilm and these do have what is needed. 

ScotlandsPeople has almost always had enough information to support an EE "style" citation. They have been really helpful in ensuring all my previously purchased images are accessible and I have re-downloaded those. So; for those specific records, I am finding that I am in very good shape.

The materials from the Library and Archives of Canada and the archives are also well documented. 

Until recently; I never could afford Ancestry, so it has little effect on my current situation.

The bottom line is that; while I've been accused (by my family) of being a bit of a documentation "packrat", it is likely going to save me a lot of the time I thought I'd lost and a fair amount of money. I've managed to do a calculation of the cost of "freshening" some of the records. With a bit of care, I can manage it.