Torrey's Marriages

 
 
 
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jcasbon
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Torrey's Marriages

I'm wondering how to properly write a reference note for "Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700," a collection offered online by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) on their American Ancestors website. This is the online version of a book published by NEHGS in 2011, and is a transcription of Clarence Almon Torrey’s 12-volume manuscript. A print version came out in 1985 (minus the references) and then NEHGS produced a CD-ROM version in 2001. The 2011 online version is derived from the CD-ROM version. 

The "Citation Information" tab on the page I'm interested in gives this citation:

Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015.

https://www.americanancestors.org/DB1568/i/21176/1486/426906216 (this URL leads to the same page as the one I'm interested in, which has a longer URL)

I have several concerns about this. American Ancestors refers to this as a "database," but I think that's a generic term they use for all their online collections. The actual online publication looks to me like an image copy of a hardcover book.

The title page for the online version, page “Intro 3” of Volume 1, Gives the title of the book as New England Marriages Prior to 1700, the author as Clarence Almon Torrey, and the publisher as New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, 2011. American Ancestors has opted to retitle the “database” as "Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700."

I don't know how to reconcile the 2011 date with 2 dates provided on the "Citation Information" tab of the website (2008 & 2015). I'm guessing they first published the CD-ROM version online in 2008, and then switched to the current 2011 online image in 2015. I also don't know how to reconcile the designation of “database” vs. online image (or perhaps e-book), or how to reconcile the 2 different titles.

My inclination is ignore the Citation Information and use the QuickCheck Model for Image Copies/Online Publication on p. 661 of Evidence Explained (3d ed.), using the information from the title page of the online image. My reference note would look like this:

Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (Boston, Massachusetts, New England Historic Genealogical Society: 2011), vol. 3, p. 1486, Enos Tallmadge & Hannah Yale, 9 May 1682; digital images, American Ancestors (https://www.americanancestors.org/DB1568/i/21176/1486/426906216 : accessed 2 April 2017).

EE
EE's picture

jcasbon, your woes are well understood! Online reproduction of materials is a wonderful boon, but it's created a morass of problems, insofar as identification and citation.

First, let's clarify one point. The term database is used today for an IT framework that holds all sorts of things. To put it in layman's terms, it's no longer a glorified spreadsheet. A database can offer the equivalent of a spread sheet. It can hold millions of data pages such as the census abstracts that companies have done for each household on a census. It can hold millions of images, be they photographs of people, photographs of documents, or photographs of book pages. That is why the last couple of editions of EE use the phrase "database with images" for the databases that offer images.

When using book images that you access through a database, the simplest formula is a two-layer citation such as the one below. The first layer covers the book whose pages you are eyeballing; the second layer covers the database and website that delivers the images.

Book Author, Title of Book, edition if applicable (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of publication), page number and item ID, if needed; "Database Title," Creator of Website, Website Title  (URL : date of access).

In the case at hand, this would convert into the following reference note:

     1. Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, rev. ed. (Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society [NEHGS], 2001), 3:1486, Enos Tallmade & Hannah Yale, 9 May 1682; imaged in "Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700," database with images, NEHGS, American Ancestors (https://www.americanancestors.org/DB1568/i/21176/1486/426906216 : accessed 2 April 2017).

The NEHGS-suggested citation that you cite above, of course, is a bibliographic citation—not the reference note, which is the primary form used by researchers. 

As for whether you should cite 2001, 2011, or 2015: the first (2001) is the official date of that ebook. From what you say, 2011 appears to represent the date the database was created (but it's not necessary for your citation to cite the date the database was created) and the 2015 date in the suggested bibliographic citation might well represent the year the citation was created, given that it references the database and bibliographic citaitons to databases typically cite the year the database was used.  But please note: I am currently out of my office and don't have access to my password for materials behind the paywall at the American Ancestors website; so I cannot verify the points I'm speculating about in this paragraph. The only point I've verified in this paragraph is the fact that the ebook carries a 2001 publication date.

    The Editor

    jcasbon
    jcasbon's picture

    Thank you for taking time to respond to my query - I'm really impressed with the fact that you handle all the correspondance that comes through this forum.

    It looks like I was using the correct template, but omitted the reference to revised edition and part of the second layer, not to mention a couple of punctuation errors.

    Actually the copyright date of the book imaged on American Ancestors is 2011. Here's what I believe to be the sequence of events and explanation for the various dates (only guesswork on my part):

    1985: First print version (Genealogical Publishing Company) - this info from a PDF introduction written for the 2001 edition

    2001: CD-ROM produced by NEHGS

    2008: "Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700" database published on American Ancestors (using the CD-ROM for the data)

    2011: Print version of New England Marriages Prior to 1700 published by NEHGS (i.e., rev. ed.)

    2015: "Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700" on American Ancestors updated with image copy of the 2011 print version

    Thanks again - so much to learn!

    jcasbon

    jcasbon
    jcasbon's picture

    Thank you for taking time to respond to my query - I'm really impressed with the fact that you handle all the correspondance that comes through this forum.

    It looks like I was using the correct template, but omitted the reference to revised edition and part of the second layer, not to mention a couple of punctuation errors.

    Actually the copyright date of the book imaged on American Ancestors is 2011. Here's what I believe to be the sequence of events and explanation for the various dates (only guesswork on my part):

    1985: First print version (Genealogical Publishing Company) - this info from a PDF introduction written for the 2001 edition

    2001: CD-ROM produced by NEHGS

    2008: "Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700" database published on American Ancestors (using the CD-ROM for the data)

    2011: Print version of New England Marriages Prior to 1700 published by NEHGS (i.e., rev. ed.)

    2015: "Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700" on American Ancestors updated with image copy of the 2011 print version

    Thanks again - so much to learn!

    jcasbon

    EE
    EE's picture

    For certain, jcasbon, none of us will live long enough to learn it all!

     

    The Editor