Source-of-Source Again

 
 
 
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Brian G
Brian G's picture
Source-of-Source Again

I'm scratching my head whether adding information that's not on a database citation is appropriate.

For example, a FamilySearch citation reads as follows:

"Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709-1950," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2VJ-W12 : 9 December 2014), Sara Momeyer, 25 Jul 1819; Christening, citing SAINT JOHNS LUTHERAN AND REFORMED CHURCHES,MOUNT PLEASANT TWP,WESTMORELAND,PENNSYLVANIA; FHL microfilm 1,036,838.

That second layer is actually a citation to the book imaged on the microfilm, but that's not apparent on from the database entry being accessed.  (The date listed isn't the date I've accessed the database, either.)

I'm wondering whether it's better to discard some information and simply cite what seems clear from the database entry on the web page, leaving the additional information in my own notes:

"Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709-1950," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2VJ-W12 : accessed 25 June 2017), entry for Sara Momeyer, christened 25 July 1819; citing Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 1,036,838.

Or, follow the microfilm information on FamilySearch and include the publication:

"Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709-1950," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2VJ-W12 : accessed 5 June 2017), entry for Sara Momeyer, christened 25 July 1819; citing Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 1,036,838.  The microfilm images Della Reagan Fischer, Saint John’s Lutheran and Reformed Churches; Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (McKeesport, Pennsylvania: p.p., 1968).

I've run across a number of databases with "source of source" not listed on the web entry, but easy to figure out.  What should I be thinking about when I consider whether to include "source of source" that's not a direct "citing..." layer?

Thanks!

Brian

rraymond
rraymond's picture

Brian,

Because of various technical issues, FamilySearch doesn't always suggest an adequate citation. This is one example. You found you could easily identify the original source:

  • Della Reagan Fischer, compiler, St. John's Lutheran and Reformed churches; Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (McKeesport, Pennsylvania : D.R. Fischer, 1968), p. ??.

Once you've examined Fishcer's book, physically or on microfilm, this citation will be all that is necessary (filling in the proper page number). In your private notes, you could specify the library and call number or the FHL microfilm.

Hopefully the book will identify the original source from which it was derived. Once you've examined the original source, your public citation will not need to mention either the book or the FamilySearch database.

Until you've examined the book, I like the citation you proposed last because it signals that the FamilySearch database is based on a book. That is essential information in judging the strength of the evidence.

 

Robert Raymond
FamilySearch

 

EE
EE's picture

Brian, as always, Robert Raymond's advice is sound. I might add one thing more. If you say " citing SAINT JOHNS LUTHERAN AND REFORMED CHURCHES,MOUNT PLEASANT TWP,WESTMORELAND,PENNSYLVANIA; FHL microfilm 1,036,838," that would not be accurate reporting, because the site you used did not actually cite all of that.  When we say that a source is "citing ...," that means our source is citing that. It doesn't mean that we are citing that.

Whatever the source actually cites is what follows that word "citing."  We may then, if we wish, start another sentence and add as much additional detail as we wish. We just make it clear that the added information is information we are adding. In these cases, we may need to add a qualifier to say that the additional detail appears to apply to the source we used or to say where we found the additional information, etc.

And now, a question:  why the all caps in this citation?

The Editor

Brian G
Brian G's picture

Editor,

I wondered if it was unclear how I'd magically determined the microfilm imaged that book!

I will make sure information that I add to future citations also indicates how I found that information.  For this one in specific, I'll add something like:

The FamilySearch catalog entry for the microfilm identifies that the microfilm images Della Reagan Fischer, compiler, Saint John’s Lutheran and Reformed Churches; Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (McKeesport, Pennsylvania: p.p., 1968).

As for your question, the citation with the cap's was under the heading "Citing this record" on the FamilySearch web page and I simply cut and pasted it to here.  I don't know why the cap's were there.  Perhaps Robert can explain that.

Thank you for your help.  And thank you, Robert for your advice as well!

Brian

 

EE
EE's picture

Aha. Cut and paste.  Simplest way to copy exactly what the source cites.  One more injunction here. Almost always, a cut and paste of someone else's words--be it text or citation--calls for putting their words in quotation marks, especially when they use abnormal punctuation, capitalization, phrasing, etc. That tells all our readers (and ourselves at a later date), that we're copying someone else's words.

The Editor