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.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Citing the U.S. Census (Microfilm)

We most often see the U.S. census in two forms: the microfilm version and the digital version. Those two templates are presented here. Both assume the microfilm roll as the basic unit. Note that the template contains extensive reminders not included in this post. For a brief discussion of lumpers vs. splitters, see "The Great Census Debate."

U.S. census, microfilm (EE QuickCheck models, pp. 247, 248, 250)
  • Bibliography (Source List Entry):

Tennessee. Carter County. 1850 U.S. census, population schedule. NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 873. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
  • Full footnote (First Reference Note):
[CENSUS ID], [COUNTY], [STATE]<, [SCHEDULE]>, [CD2], [CD1]; 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 household; 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 household<; [CM]>.

Explanation of variations from Mills:
  1. Without going to lots of split citations, I don't have an 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. Mills usually omits the word "household," unless the citation refers to the entire household and it's not clear in the text. If this citation refers to the census household, I would include the word. If it refers to age, occupation, etc. of an individual in that household, just enter the individual's name in the citation detail.
New source elements in this template:
  1. Year (in Date)
  2. State (in Location)
  3. Publication Place (in Publisher Location)
  4. County (in Second Location)
  5. Roll Number (in Pages)
  6. Schedule (in Record Type)
  7. Census ID (in Edition)
  8. Short Location (in Short Title)

1 comment:

  1. In _TMG_ there are always alternate methods of achieving the same result. Here are a couple of possible variations in this template.

    1. In the Full Footnote, consider using [TITLE] for the combination of [CENSUS ID], [COUNTY], [STATE]<, [SCHEDULE]>. [TITLE] is currently unused in this template - although I think it's a good idea to enter something here.

    2. In the Short Footnote, consider using [SHORT TITLE] for the combination [CENSUS ID], [SHORT LOCATION]. Conceptually, this works especially well if you go with the idea above.

    3. Given how often [PUBLICATION PLACE]: [PUBLISHER]will be simply: Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, consider entering this as a word constant. After all, "NARA microfilm publication" is already a word constant.

    4. Another option instead of [PUBLICATION PLACE]: [PUBLISHER] is to create a Repository for this information. Yes, I know a Publisher is not the same thing as a Repository, but TMG doesn't care what we call this thing that gets linked to lots of sources.