U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 from Ancestry

 
 
 
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rworthington
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U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 from Ancestry

Dear Editor,

I have looked and seen a number of questions about City Directories, but didn't see my specific question. Also, I didn't see my specific question in Evidence Explained (2015). Not that I expect every situation / citation addressed.

The QuickSheet for Citing Ancestry.com Databases & Images (p. 2) for City Directories didn't address the Online Images that I am seeing on Ancestry.

I want to take a stab at a citation / Reference Note based on my genealogy database program that has an Evidence Explained Template feature.

"U.S.City Directories, 1821-1989", Ancestry.com, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 June 2015), 1872, Larkin surname; p. 688;  image 1253 of 1742;  citing H. Wilson, Compiler, Trow's New York City Directory (John F. Trow, Publisher, New York).

Here is a link to the image I am referring to:

http://bit.ly/1872_CityDirectory

I have a presentation on City Directories and their use and I want to make sure that I am close.

In the presentation, I point out that I can Browse these images and my practice is to capture the surname that I am researching to help be develop a FAN club. That is why I use the "surname" as part of the Reference Note. I captured the Page Number and the Image Number, since it is presented to me. Have found this very helpful, to getting back to where I found the information.

In reading your City Directory information, I caught the compiler of the City Directory.

Is there a better way to craft a Reference Note based on the Template I chose. I have other templates to choose from, but I thought this captured the details.

Thank you,

Russ

EE
EE's picture

Russ,

Have you thought about reversing the two layers of this citation?  I ask for three reasons:

  1. If we were citing a database entry from Ancestry, then it would be appropriate to cite the database and the specific database entry in layer 1 and use layer 2 to identify whatever it is that Ancestry is citing for its database entry.
  2. In this case, you're not citing a database entry. You're citing an image. You can eyeball that full book. If you go back to image 6 (after the introductory advertisements) you find the title page to the book with all the detail that's needed for the citation.
  3. When we layer a citation, we need to ensure that details that belong to one layer are not mixed into another layer. For example, the page number, and the specific name on that page, are all parts of the book. They aren't something Ancestry created in its database. Those details would belong with the layer for the book, rather than the layer for the database.

EE 12.55 to 12.58 have several examples of citing a city directory—original or on film. The QuickStart guide at the flyleaf of EE3 (the 2015 edition) covers how to layer a citation for a book that is digitized online. Putting these together, we'd have this--which I will put in different colors to differentiate between the two layers.

H. Wilson, comp.,  Trow's New York City Directory ... for the Year Ending May 1, 1872 (New York: John F. Trow, 1872), p. 688, Larkin surname; digitized in "U.S. City Directories, 1821–1899," database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2015), path New York > New York > 1872.

You'll also notice that I've eliminated one of the 3 successive references to Ancestry, in keeping with the practice followed in both EE and the Ancestry QuickSheet. When the creator of the website is the same as the website's title, we don't have to repeat the name in both fields, and when it is the same as the URL, the triple redundancy is likely to annoy our readers.

The Editor

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

In fact, I had tried that. My limitation is the template that I chose. I will look at this again.

Here is my confusion. Am I looking at an Image or am I looking at a Database? That is why I picked the "reverse order" of layers. I had a hint or did a search on Ancestry. I don't spend time on the Transcription but get to the image. That was my thought process anyway.

I did and struggled with the Evidence Explained City Directory, where you started with the Compiler. I went to the Image 6 for the information for the Reference Note. In fact, I teach that very point. In my citation notes, I include the "Title Page" where ever it is, and it's not usually page / image 1.

The other issue is how the information is presented to me in my database.

I have attached an image of the screen I am working with.

I will go back and see if there is a better Template to select to conform to layering that you recommend.

I also will not include, in the Reference Note, the Image of Image information. I can put that into my notes.

In thinking a little more about this, and again its a Template Issue, is that I will have to find the Compiler's Name and remember it. If I add an additional City Directory entry now, they are all in one place, the Ancestry Collection name, "U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989". I think that if I turn the layers around, I will HAVE to remember the Compiler. The Publisher won't even be a Source Title in my database.

Thank you so much for your very helpful reply.

Russ

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tmphelps
tmphelps's picture

Dear Editor,

Using your suggestion in your response to Russ as a model, I created the following reference note for one of my citations:

Minneapolis Directory Company, Publishers, Minneapolis Directory Company's Minneapolis (Minnesota) City Directory 1937, (Minneapolis: Minneapolis Directory Company, 1937), p. 965, entries for McGinnis surname; digitized in "U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995," database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 December 2016), path Minnesota > Minneapolis > 1937.

It feels like the first layer fails the “triple redundancy is likely to annoy our readers” test: the Author, Title, and Publisher components all say the same thing (although one could argue that the Publisher component is needed to make the place of publication explicit.)

Can you offer any suggestions for tightening up this note, or does it need to stand as presented?

Tom

EE
EE's picture

Tom, as you suspected, it can be tightened.

Minneapolis Directory Company, Publishers, Minneapolis Directory Company's Minneapolis (Minnesota) City Directory 1937, (Minneapolis: Minneapolis Directory Co.mpany, 1937), p. 965, entries for McGinnis surname; digitized in "U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995," database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 December 2016), path Minnesota > Minneapolis > 1937.

Two other tweaks we'd suggest:

  1. The comma before the parentheses should be removed. (A comma splices one thing from another. A parentheses with internal details explains something that came before it and it should not be spliced from the entity it belongs to.
  2. In the second layer, what you have used would be more clearly explained if you said: imaged in "U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995," database, Ancestry ... .  

 

The Editor

tmphelps
tmphelps's picture

That makes much more sense - Thanks!

Tom

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

I am still working on it, just not finding the right template.

More important, I have the 2009 version of the Ancestry QuickSheet. Going to order the 2015 version.

Thank you,

Russ

EE
EE's picture

Russ, there is no 2015 edition of this QuickSheet. You're fine to keep using the 2009 version. Ancestry is not one of those entitites that change things so often that a citation goes out of date by the time a guide is printed.

The Editor

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

I was successful in creating a Reference Note that is in the format you recommend:

H. Wilson, comp, Trow's New York City Directory:  for the Year Ending May 1, 1872  (New York:  John F. Trow, 1872), p. 688, Larkin surname; digitized in "U.S. Citry Directories, 1821-1989," database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2015), path New York > New York > 1872.

But it creates an real issue for the end user and how the Templates were created. (ps, it won't get fixed).

I have attached an image of what I will try to explain.

The Left Column is the Source Groups by Source Title. In order to create the above Reference Note, there are four different entries, where the lead is the Compiler. This is because I have to treat the City Directory as a Printed Publication. Each year for the publication date. The sort is random. So, IF I have another City Directory entry from that same year and same City, I would have to select the correct Source Group. So, there are 4 New York City Directory Entries.

My earlier choice was to lead with the Ancestry database title. That is the higher in the screen where U.S. City Directories is hi-lighted entry on the Left and the 4 different years of publication are on the right. That makes it very easy to add another City Directry entry.

In other words, to get the above result, I have to enter the Source Information and the Citation Details. My earlier choice was selecting the Record collection at Ancestry, as a Source, (one time) then just add the Citation Details for each entry from that collection.

I thought I was OK based on the City Directory entry on the 2009 QuickSheet (bottom of 2nd page), where the "citing" followed the Ancestry collection.

I have ordered the 2015 version.

Again, I appreciate your help on this issue.

Russ

 

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

oops, I miss read your earlier post. Got the QuickSheet anyway for my Laptop, so that I have it with me when I am teaching.

Thank you,

Russ

EE
EE's picture

Russ wrote:

>I thought I was OK based on the City Directory entry on the 2009 QuickSheet (bottom of 2nd page), where the "citing" followed the Ancestry collection.

Russ, that Ancestry QuickSheet has two examples. One (at the bottom of p. 2) for "City Directories: Databases" and one (top of p. 3) for "City Directories: Images."  In your case, you're using an image. You're not relying upon the database entry created by Ancestry. 

  • If we were using their entry (the wording they cherrypicked and keyboarded into the database), then our citation would open with an ID of their database, say what it is in that database we are are interested in, and then report whatever Ancestry itself is citing. 
  • If we use an image where the whole book or whole record set is imaged, then we cite that in layer one, and follow that (in layer 2) with an ID of the database that presents those images.

As for making a citation fit this-or-that software, we feel your pain! You know well the issues researchers have with these tail-wagging the dog situations (i.e., software that makes it difficult for users to follow long-existing research standards).

The Editor

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

I totally missed that entry at the top of the 3rd page. My goof.

So, to help me with my software, should I use the 12.56 Citing Multiple Year option. That would let my Source Group list by Publisher. The top of the 3rd page of the QuickSheet does not include the Compiler. One of the 5 City Directories for New York City, didn't have the compilers information as there were some messed up and missing pages where I would normally find that information. The preface of the book reflects the publisher.

Based on that, I am going to revisit the Reference Note.

Thank you

Russ

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

One last try, I think. I just can't get the right combination to get the desired outcome.

,, Trow's New York City Directory (New York:  John F. Trow, publisher), 1872, p. 688, entry for the Larkin surname; "U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989,"  digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 July 2015).

The 2 periods: I had to enter something into a "required field", I chose a period. FTM added the 2nd one.

For my purposes, I think the name of the collection name from Ancestry is important. There are other uses for that collection name. For example, and this isn't a good one, but if I do a Google Search for a Collection Name, outside of Ancestry, I'll end up at Ancestry. I have used this technique for finding Ancestry databased on other websites, like FamilySearch. DearMYRTLE and I use that GoodSheet when teaching genealogy. I put in the colletion name and find who has the same database.

In my earlier screen captures, I will be able to see all of the New York City Directory Entry by Publisher. That is far better, for me, than the Compiler name. But if this one is close, I may be able to adjust the earlier attempt for multiple entries by compiler. That is fall out from trying to get the above output.

I am not sure that I will get any closer to the desired output.

I truely thank you for the time and effort that you provide us.

Russ

EE
EE's picture

Russ, as much as I wish I could help you through this software issue, that's where we've drawn a line here at EE. We'll discuss evidence analysis, document interpretation, or what the essentials are for a citation and how the elements should be arranged. But a user's relationship with his software is an area we won't even tiptoe into.

That said, it does look like you are doing the best you can with what you have. Our only other suggestion would be to just write a freeform citation and ignore the template, if your software will let you do that. But I suspect you're determined to make that software behave.

The Editor

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

I tried the Free-Form earlier, while trying to find a template.

Thank you so much for your help and totally understand what you have said.

The white flag of surrender is flying high.

Russ

EE
EE's picture

An occasional surrender is good for sanity.

 

The Editor

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Yes, a little sanity to go with a fresh cup of coffee.

Since I can't meet the Evidence Explained standard, I am going with my initial format. I have a note that this format does not meet the standard.

Again, thank you for your help.

Russ