EE fourth edition

Dear EE,

I just received my copy of EE, fourth edition.  I really like ch. 3's idea of the Building Blocks and the 14 basic templates.  Since I'm doing a genealogy "do-over" I plan to construct those templates in RootsMagic.  Up until now, I'd been using the original first edition.

A couple of nits that aren't clear to me.

- Template 13 for online census images shows the citation note beginning "U.S. 1850 census ..."  whereas ch. 7, such as 7.21 uses "1850 U.S. census ..."  

- Template 4 for newspapers shows adding missing place names in the newspaper title without italics, whereas 15.10 and 15.20 shows it with italics.

- Also, referring to 2.39, should we identify a FamilySearch imaged film as IGN 1234567 or as I've been doing until now as DGS 1234567?


Submitted byEEon Sun, 02/11/2024 - 14:39

Hello, Jeff. I'm delighted that you find EE4's new Chapter 3 helpful.  To answer your questions:

Citing censuses

Traditionally, in the U.S., censuses have been cited with the year first: i.e., 1850 U.S. census ... or Iowa 1885 census ...  The reason is, simply, “that’s the way it’s always been done.” Citations to historical materials tradaitionally involve many such whimsical issues. EE’s first edition addressed many of those by introducing consistent formats for different types of records. However, the balance between “honoring tradition” and “consistency” still left EE with 170 QuickCheck Models.

EE4 reduces those 170 QuickCheck Models to 14 universal templates. A small number of universal templates requires a basic structure to be applied to all the templates.  You’ll notice, for example, that every template begins with the Author/Creator Block, followed by the Title Block and/or Descriptor Block. To apply that pattern to census records requires citing the jurisdictional creator before the year, as in U.S. 1850 census.  That’s what the template presents for consistency.

However, citation templates are not rigid formulas. Citations are composed of building blocks that can be arranged as needed.  (as EE's 2.1 has always sad: “Citation is an art, not a science.”)  Millions of researchers have ongoing databases already filled with 1850 U.S. census … rather than U.S. 1850 census, and they should feel free to keep right on using 1850 U.S. census …  (as shown throughout the census chapter). They do not have to go back and alter hundreds or thousands of citations. Similarly, editors whose journals have long used 1850 U.S. census ... do not have to change their journal's traditional census citations simply because their cited style guide is EE.

Citing newspapers

Again, your question involves formulaic consistency vs. adaptability. Template 4 for newspapers presents the preferred typography for a missing geographic location that is added within the title of a newspaper whose title is geographically incomplete. Most citation guides dictate putting the title in italics but leaving the bracketed place data in regular type. That’s what the template illustrates.  At the same time, some relational database programs do not allow a font switch within the title. The newspaper examples in Chapter 15 demonstrate that situation.

Again, citation templates are not rigid formulas. They are a pattern that we adapt as needed.  EE discussions of most records demonstrate the adaptability that is essential when citing historical materials.


Citing FamilySearch image numbers

The advice at 2.39 reflects the counsel of FamilySearch’s Chief Genealogical Officer in May 2023, as this revision was being prepared. FS is phasing out the initialism DGS—which stood for Digital Genealogical Society, a short-lived entity that replaced the longstanding Genealogical Society of Utah and was itself replaced by the current name FamilySearch.  Within the FS organization and online architecture, the acronym DGS is being replaced, as time and situations allow, by the term “Image Group Number” (which we currently see on almost all cataloging pages) and its initialism IGN. That is what we have been asked to use for materials at that site and that library.

Submitted byJeffH13on Sun, 02/11/2024 - 22:13

Dear EE,

Got it.  Thanks for the quick reply.  I'm excited to proceed now with the new templates!