Question regarding "Citing what one sees"

Dear Editor;

I'm a little uncomfortable with the "Citing what one sees" principle since I've just started to work with the 1841 English Census and it is a bit "unusual." There isn't a great amount of information present in the image itself and I am a bit concerned that it's enough for an adequate citation.

I have an image of a page from the 1841 census, as found on FindMyPast (not sure if posting the image is permitted). The image was labelled during filming as "Public Record Office", "HO 107/1075/11." The imaged page, itself, shows "Enumeration Schedule," folio 32, pages 13 and 14, "City of Borough of" [stricken out], "Parish or Township of" ["or Township of" stricken out] Richmond. Within the entry portion of the record, it identifies the place as "Grove Cottage", "Kewfoot Road," and the persons as Arthur Colborn (25) and Frances Colborn (20).

I know from "poking around" that the registration district is "Richmond upon Thames", but that's not in the image and I didn't find much more. So, do I include it in the citation or not?

Submitted byHistory-Hunteron Mon, 11/11/2019 - 13:45

Dear Editor;
I've been re-reading section 6.51 of the EE book to see if I could figure out the situation I noted in my post. It seems that the enumeration district appears to be shown in the Ancestry examples, but not in the FindMyPast examples. Is this a result of the available extra information that only Ancestry displays on the screen with the census image (i.e. "Cite what you see")?

One other small item. I notice that the FindMyPast example shows "Census, Land & Substitutes" as the collection. In the case of the 1841 Census, why would one not use what FindMyPast calls the "Record set" "1841 England, Wales & Scotland Census," rather than what is similar to the stated "Category" of "Census, land & surveys?"

Submitted byEEon Mon, 11/11/2019 - 15:04

History-Hunter, this issue of "citing what we see" is one I just addressed this afternoon in a response to Jlwiebe's query about layering citations. We walked through the "what exactly do we see?" issue in considerable detail. Does that help you think through—and handle—the differences in detail as provided by Ancestry vs. FindMyPast?

Submitted byHistory-Hunteron Mon, 11/11/2019 - 16:53

Dear Editor

I read over the posting "Layered Citations" by Jlwiebe. I already do exactly what you suggest for any imaged volume on Ancestry. So for Ancestry, everything is clear.

The FindMyPast citation was a bit different, but I think I'm now comfortable with how to handle citing that material...

Per The National Archives, their reference number is all one needs to identify a census record. The FindMyPast example does not show the Enumeration District. So; I assume that the FindMyPast example is showing the most compact, but still adequate, citation possible. However; if I do have the enumeration district information, I understand that it could be included in the part that describes the imaged material but not in the part that describes the database. If I don't have it, I will assume that it doesn't mean my citation is wrong.

The following is something I discovered while working with FindMyPast. Perhaps it may help someone else in locating some of the census book information, permitting them to include it if they wish. That way one can still say that they "cited what they saw."

When one accesses a census image using Safari (Yes; I have a Mac,) the option to examine the front-matter is visible (lower right), but if you wish to download your image, you have to go forward one frame and then back again. But careful... Now the download link replaces the front-matter link (in the lower right). If you missed it and wish to view the front-matter, you have to go back to the search results and select your record image again. So; if one doesn't see the link...reload your image. The front-matter link for the census book is there.

Note that the FMP census images do not show an image number (at least for the ones I consulted). So discussing whether or not to include them in census citations for this particular site is irrelevant.

Submitted byEEon Tue, 11/12/2019 - 10:28

History-Hunter, thanks for sharing these side-tips you pick up in the course of your research. Many users of this page tell us that any time they encounter an oddity in their own work, they search our past forum discussions to see what's been said about it.