The ability to customize almost anything is one of The Master Genealogist's (TMG) most powerful features - and one of its most frustrating. The amazing detail in Evidence Explained makes it a treasure for genealogists - but makes it difficult to synthesize principles. Put the two together and you get chaos - or a wonderful way to cite your sources consistently and professionally.

The Tri-Valley TMG User Group is associated with the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society (L-AGS), and we meet in Pleasanton, California. Information on our meetings - location, date, time, and topic - is always available on the home page of the L-AGS web site. Our three-hour meetings are actually hands-on workshops in which up to fifteen computers are connected to a digital projector allowing customized personal assistance to attendees. In the past, the group has systematically studied Lee Hoffman's Getting the Most out of The Master Genealogist and Terry Reigel's A Primer for The Master Genealogist. In February 2010 we embarked on our most ambitious project to date, a study of Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained.

If you would like to participate in the Tri-Valley TMG User Group's adventures as we attempt to create TMG source templates that approximate Evidence Explained's principles, please feel free to comment and share your ideas.

If you would like to download and use our source type templates in your personal database, we would appreciate it if you retain our acronym (TVTMG) in the template name. Societies, if you would like to use these templates in your group activities, please contact the TV-TMG chair at:

Please note that these are our attempts
and they have not been approved by Mills! In other words, please don't blame her incredible book for our mistakes. Unless otherwise stated, all references are to the 2007 edition of Evidence Explained.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Citing the U.S. Census (Digital)

U.S. census, digital online (Duplicates Mills, EE, QuickCheck Model, p. 240, and the QuickSheet, "Citing Databases & Images Evidence! Style," 1st revised edition, 2010)
  • Bibliography (Source List Entry):

Tennessee. Carter County. 1850 U.S. census, population schedule. Digital images. : 2009.
  • Full footnote (First Reference Note):
[CENSUS ID], [COUNTY], [STATE]<, [SCHEDULE]>, [CD2], [CD1]; digital image, [ITAL:][REPOSITORY][:ITAL] ([REPOSITORY ADDRESS] : accessed [CD3]); citing NARA microfilm publication [FILM NUMBER], roll [ROLL NUMBER]<; [CM]>.

1850 U.S. census, Carter County, Tennessee, population schedule, 8th Civil District, p. 210 (stamped), dwell. 45, fam. 45, John Elexander; digital image, ( : accessed 20 March 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 873<; [CM]>.
  • Short footnote (Subsequent Note):

1850 U.S. census, Carter Co., Tenn., pop. sch., 8th Civil District, p. 210 (stamped), dwell. 45, fam. 45, John Elexander<; [CM]>.

Explanation of variations from Mills:
  1. Without going to lots of split citations, I see no easy way to use the full words "dwelling" and "family" in the full footnote and the abbreviations "dwell." and "fam." in the short footnote. Since the full footnote appears only once, it's easier to edit that in a report, if desired.
  2. Two elements in this template need to be discussed. We use [REPOSITORY] and [REPOSITORY ADDRESS] instead of [WEBSITE] and [URL]. Since most of the digital census images we will be citing come from websites that offer many databases, we'll be citing those websites and their URLs over and over again. This way, we can enter the information once, and use the same information in many sources. Mills cautions against this in EE, p. 58, stating that if a website's name is placed in the repository, "the software might automatically omit it in printing out reference notes." Since our templates control what TMG prints, we don't need to worry about this.
  3. In the Bibliography, the year refers to the year the digital material was created/posted. If this information cannot be found, Mills says record the year accessed. (EE, 6.12, p. 263)
New source elements in this template:
  1. All elements in this template are standard or were created in the previous template.

    1 comment:

    1. One general comment I'd like to make comes to mind here. I reserve [CD1] for the segment of the citation detail that includes the subject's name. It just makes it easier for me to remember what I'm doing when I'm entering data.

      I reserve [CD3] for the date of access. For all online sources, this information is part of the template. For other sources, it doesn't appear in the template, but I use the information in some analysis reports. Since the date I saw the record/document/tombstone/whatever is always in [CD3], I can create a report in which all the sources I've viewed on a person can be viewed in the order I saw them. It allows me to recreate my thinking process.