Derivative source masquerading as an original record

Hi EE!

I'm several types of confused. I've had both EE editions 3 and 4 in front of me for the last 2 hours, and I'm still stuck, so I give up.

One of my branches leads back to Stephen F. Austin's "Old Three Hundred." I used the experimental AI tool at FamilySearch and found an unindexed partition deed for the seven heirs of Martin Allen, one being Archibald T McCorcle on behalf of Martin Allen's daughter, Elizabeth E.M.C. McCorcle.

But I don't actually know what I'm looking at here. Clearly, this is not an original record because it was created on a typewriter; however, some of the images before and after do appear to be the original records (you have to scroll a bit, but they are a part of the same microfilm reel).

Here's a direct link: 

Scrolling to microfilm title plate thing (introducing the reel), it looks like Southwest Microfilm Service microfilmed whatever they are calling "Deeds Records E" in Matagorda County, Texas on 14 May 1864. The cover of the book was not imaged, if it even existed (and if this is even a book... I honestly don't know anymore lol). Perhaps the individual who microfilmed this record book first transcribed any pages that were illegible or difficult to read prior to imaging them? 

Moving on.. the land being partitioned in my record of interest was apparently situated in more than one county but was probated in Austin County. Moreover, this "deed book" has records for many counties, not just Matagorda.


How do I approach this?

This doesn't seem accurate:

Matagorda County, Republic of Texas, Deed Records E:87-91, heirs of Martin Allen, partition deed, 1843; imaged, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 March 2024) > digital film 008402139 > images 439 and 440 of 726.

But, I don't think I can "lead with a database" because the images aren't indexed or titled...

Help. Me. Please.


Submitted byEEon Mon, 03/25/2024 - 08:10

Hello, Taylor.

Your situation is common when working with courthouse records. The operative word in this situation is "typescript."  In all editions, the two fundamental chapters introduce typescripts, define them, and discuss their evidentiary issues (EE4 1.33) and citation ( EE4 2.27). You will also find more at EE4 8.30 and 9.14–15. 

Practically speaking, they are cited the same as you've done above, with one exception. Because of the issue of reliability—a major concern for researchers—when you cite the volume, you note that it is a typescript. You can do that above by simply putting the word in parentheses after the volume number—i.e., Deed Records E (Typescript): 87–91.  You might also want to add a note that the original volume is no longer available (or whatever other reason for why you are using the derivative instead of the original).