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.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Citing Scottish Parish Registers: Online Digital Images

This is a "by request" template - our first!  It is compiled from principles and examples in EE 7.18 and EE 7.43.  This template places emphasis on the digital image, not the database.  Therefore, it begins with the template for an original church register, then adds the database information.  I don't have access to images from this database, so I'm using Mills' example as my starting point.

  •  Bibliography (Source List Entry): 

Midmar Parish (Aberdeenshire, Scotland).  Old Parish Registers, 1717-1824.  Digital images.  Scotland.  “Search Old Parish Registers (OPR) Births/Christenings (1553-1854).” ScotlandsPeople. :  2007.
  • Full footnote (First Reference Note):
<[CHURCH]>< ([LOCATION]), ><[SERIES]><, [CD2]><, [CD1]>; digital image, <[PUBLISHER], ><"[DATABASE]," ><[ITAL:][WEBSITE TITLE][:ITAL]><[ITAL:][REPOSITORY][:ITAL]> (<[URL]><[REPOSITORY ADDRESS]>< : accessed [CD3]>)<; [CM]><; imaged from FHL microfilm [FILM]><, item [ITEM NUMBER]>.

Midmar Parish (Aberdeenshire, Scotland), Old Parish Registers, OPR 222/1, p. 65, James Edward baptism (1727); digital image, Scotland, “Search Old Parish Registers (OPR) Births/Christenings (1553-1854),” ScotlandsPeople ( :  accessed 30 January 2007); imaged from FHL microfilm 993,344, item 1.
  • Short footnote (Subsequent Note): 
<[CHURCH]>< ([SHORT LOCATION])><, [CD2]><; [CM]>. 

Midmar Parish (Aberdeenshire), OPR 222/1, p. 65.

Explanation of variations from Mills:
  1. There is no exact example in Mills of the online digital images of these parish registers.  
  2. Mills states that this website is an official government project created through the partnership of three government agencies.  Her suggestion is to simply credit the country, Scotland, as the author of the database.  Since our template credits the church as the author of the original record, it calls the author of the database a publisher.
  3. Note that each image on this website states that it was imaged from a particular FHL microfilm.  The credit line, frequently entered as "cited from . . ." is more specific in this template.  We can use the credit line "imaged from . . ."
TMG notes:
  1. This template is set up to allow the use of [WEBSITE TITLE] with [URL] or [REPOSITORY] with [REPOSITORY ADDRESS].  If you are using the website ScotlandsPeople for this one database only, use the [WEBSITE TITLE] and [URL] pairing.  If you use several databases on this website, use the [REPOSITORY] and [REPOSITORY ADDRESS] pairing.  Do not use both!
  2. Consider adding the line: <; imaged from [CD4]> to the template.  If the parish registers you are searching span several FHL microfilm rolls, this allows you to cite images from the different microfilms without creating separate master source entries for each one.  (Note that I reserve CD5 in digital image templates for the "imaged from" data and CD4 for the "citing" data.  I'm not sure that's important to most users.)  Do not enter data in both the [CD4] element and the [FILM] and [ITEM NUMBER] elements!
  3. Remember that [CD3] is reserved for the date of access.
Custom source elements in this template: 
  1. Church (in Author)
  2. Database (in Title)
  3. Date Range (in Second Date)
  4. Item Number (in Record Number)
  5. Short Location (in Short Title)
  6. Website Title (in Subtitle)
  7. Year (in Date)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Citing Land Records: Original Registers (Town and County Level)

Land records held on the town or county level: (This citation is discussed in Mills, EE, section 10.5 and illustrated in QuickCheck Model, p. 488.)  Note that this template works well for probate registers and other original county or town registers.
  • Bibliography (Source List Entry): 

New York. Hamilton County. Deeds, 1816-1929. Montgomery County Department of History and Archives, Fonda.
  • Full footnote (First Reference Note):

Hamilton County, New York, Deeds, 13: 235, Jacob Lair to Jacob E. Lair, deed, 19 February 1876; Montgomery County Department of History and Archives, Fonda; deed specifies that Jacob E. Lair was the son of Jacob Lair; Jacob E. was taking land in lieu of inheritance.
  • Short footnote (Subsequent Note): 
[SHORT LOCATION]<, [SERIES]><, [CD2]><; [CM]>.

Hamilton Co., N. Y., Deeds, 13: 235. 

Explanation of variations from Mills:
  1. This is very similar to the Mills examples.  Problems can arise when citing a single, titled volume rather than a series, though.  In that case, the title should be placed in quotation marks.  There are two options: 1) Create a separate template for this situation; or 2) enter the title, in quotes, in the [Series] field.
  2. This template assumes there is no need to differentiate from the Series name and the individual volume name - or that any variation will be handled well by including the volume name in the citation detail; for example, using Deeds as the Series name, the repository might cite specific pages as "Deeds, 7: 423" or "Deeds, Liber A: 423." [CD2] for the latter example would read, "Liber A: 423," without the quotation marks, of course.
  3. If the text includes information on the parties involved, the type of document, and/or the date of the document, that information doesn't need to be repeated in the citation.  I think that removing that information from the citation is an editing job, not a data entry job.  It's not easy to tell exactly what will be included in the text of your final narrative.  Removing information is much easier than adding it.
  4. For those who like lots of split Citation Detail elements, consider setting up separate [CD] elements for the type of document and the document date.
TMG notes:
  1. Nothing exotic is used in this template.
Custom source elements in this template:
  1. State (in Location)
  2. County (in Second Location)
  3. City (in Publisher)
  4. Short Location (in Short Title)
  5. Repository Location (in Publisher Location)