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, November 27, 2010

Citing FHL Microfilm: Church Register

Church Register microfilmed by the FHL (This citation is discussed in Mills, EE, sections 7.21-7.22 and illustrated in QuickCheck Model, p. 315.)
  • Bibliography (Source List Entry):
<[CHURCH]>< ([LOCATION]). ><[SERIES]. ><[PUBLISHER]><, [PUBLISHER LOCATION]. > FHL microfilm< [FILM RANGE]><, [ROLL] rolls>.  Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah<.  [MEMO]>.

Farmington Monthly Meeting, Hicksite (Farmington, New York). Monthly meeting records, 1828-1877. Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.  FHL microfilm 17263-17264.  Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.  Details on these volumes may be found in the finding aid, "Records of New York and Genesee Yearly Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends," located at:  The original volumes were transferred from the Haviland Records Room to the Friends Historical Library in 1997.
  • Full footnote (First Reference Note):
<[CHURCH]>< ([LOCATION]), ><"[TITLE]," ><[CD2], ><[CD1]>; FHL microfilm< [FILM NUMBER]><, item [ITEM NUMBER]><; [CM]>.
Farmington Monthly Meeting, Hicksite (Farmington, New York), "Men's monthly meetings, 1828 - 1877," p. 105, Bryce Aldrich death; FHL microfilm 17,263, item 2-3<; [CM]>.
  • Short footnote (Subsequent Note):
<[CHURCH]>< ([SHORT LOCATION])><, "[TITLE]," ><[CD2]><; [CM]>.

Farmington Monthly Meeting, Hicksite (Farmington, N.Y.), "Men's monthly meetings, 1828 - 1877," p. 105<; [CM]>.

Explanation of variations from Mills:
  1. It's unfortunate that almost every church register I have in my personal database is a register created by the Society of Friends, and most of those originals are now held at the Friends Historical Library in Swarthmore.  My example, therefore, does not exactly match Mills for these specific records.  Because of the possibility that FHL could refer to both the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the Friends Historical Library in Swarthmore, the acronym should be written out when citing these records.  For most church registers, this template is not a problem.
  2. The second problem with this template is the fact that the Title is set off by quotation marks.  This is correct if the title is the exact title found on the specific volume used.  If the volume cover or spine was filmed by the photographer, there are no problems.  If you can't ascertain the actual title of the volume used, Mills gives options, but none of those options should be put in quotation marks.
  3. Although technically the publisher of a Family History Library microfilm is the GSU/FHL itself, what the Publisher and Publisher Location fields refer to in this template is the location of the original records.  This may be the original church office, if the original records are still there, or the archived location of the original records.  Ascertaining the current location of the original records may not be as easy as it sounds.  Details found on the microfilm and the FHL catalog were current when the records were photographed.  In this example, that date was 1950.  The records were moved in 1997.
  4. Ideally, the Short Footnote in this example should appear as "Farmington (N.Y.) Monthly Meeting, Hicksite."  For an optional template that avoids this problem, see my Comment to this post.
  5. Ideally, the Short Footnote should contain a Short Title option.  Our element, Short Location, was created as one of the elements in the Short Title group, so we simply repeated the Title element.  For an optional template that avoids this problem, see my Comment to this post.
TMG notes:
  1. Although the Repository information is not part of this template's output, it's a good idea to enter the information anyway.
  2. Note the fact that the Church in this example appears as "Farmington Monthly Meeting, Hicksite."  The Church source element is part of the Author group, and the comma in this group normally separates surname and given names.  Use TMG's escape character, the backslash, to avoid this appearing as "Hicksite Farmington Monthly Meeting" in the footnote.  Enter it as "Farmington Monthly Meeting\, Hicksite" in the Church field - without the quotes, of course.
  3. The Short Location source element was created for an earlier template in the Short Title group, so a shortened version of the Title is not found in this template. If the Short Location element is created in another group, this problem can be avoided. 
New source elements in this template:
  1. Church (in Author)
  2. Film Range (in Second Date)
  3. Item Number (in Record Number)
  4. All other custom elements created in earlier templates

1 comment:

  1. Although my personal template does not correct for the FHL acronym problem, it does correct for the two other problems mentioned above.

    1. The Bibliography template is the same.

    2. The Full Footnote omits the quotation marks around the Title. The reminder says that if the volume used has a title, enter the quotation marks in the data field. Of course, this means that the punctuation is a little off.

    3. The Short Footnote incorporates a new Source Element, [SHORT CHURCH], created as part of the Short Subtitle group. The reminder says to include the name of the church with abbreviated location in parentheses. Since the title is one of the FHL's generic titles, note that it is not placed be in quotes.

    <[SHORT CHURCH]><, [SHORT TITLE], ><[CD2]><; [CM]>.

    In the example posted, the Short Footnote would read, "Farmington (N.Y.) Monthly Meeting, Hicksite, Men's monthly meetings, 1828 - 1877, p. 105<; [CM]>."