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Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

For this week’s mission (should you decide to accept it), answer the question:
1)  Have you done a good job of citing your sources in your genealogy management program or online family tree?  How are you doing?  How many source citations do you have, and how many people are in your tree?  What is the sources to persons ratio?
2)  Which master source (e.g., 1900 U.S. census, Find A Grave, specific book, etc.) do you have the most citations for?  How many?  How did you figure this out?
3)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a post on Facebook.
Randy Seaver provides another interesting challenge thru his ‘Saturday Night Genealogy Fun‘ to look at my genealogy data in a different way.

Since I use RootsMagic, I thought I’d show how I’m getting the answers to these questions as well as answer them.

The first challenge involves getting the statistics for our tree. In RootsMagic, this is done by going to Properties on the FILE menu.

When I clicked on Properties, it opened the Database Properties window. This window contains the statistics needed to answer the first question.

So to answer the first question:

  • Citations – 51748 in RootsMagic
  • Sources – 3788 in RootsMagic
  • People – 13224 in RootsMagic
  • Ratio of citations to people: 51748/13224 — almost 4 citations for every person in RootsMagic

This is a work in progress!

My first software program was Personal Ancestral File (PAF). PAF was great software – but it wasn’t easy to document the information. I followed recommendations of the time and entered my sources as ‘Notes’. 

My second software program was The Master Genealogist (TMG). I was able to transfer my data from PAF into TMG – and the ‘Notes’ transferred as ‘Events’. Over time, I converted those ‘Notes’ into the ‘Events’ and added sources. When I started on TMG, I configured my citations using Cite Your Sources by Richard S. Lackey (c. 1980). These citations would not meet today’s standards!

When support for TMG ceased, I transferred my data into RootsMagic. About the same time, I was getting back into active research and catching up on suggested standards. This ‘catching up’ affected my citations as I started using Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Hopefully all of my facts have a citation attached, but unfortunately, not all of those citations will be up to current standards.

My 51748 citations come from 3,788 sources. Following Randy’s directions, I created a source list report (All Reports — Source List). Like Randy, I got a long report. I didn’t realize that I would need to visually scan this report to figure out which source was used the most. 

Unfortunately, ranking these sources isn’t easy.When it comes to sources, I’m more of a splitter than a lumper. When I create a source for an article found on Newspapers.com, my source is the name of the newspaper and not Newspapers.com. (Newspapers.com is part of the citation but not the master source.) Similar is true for census records, I don’t have a 1940 census source. Instead, I have a 1940 Lyon County, Kansas census record  as the source. For the 1940 census, I have about 40 pages of citations in this report from counties all across the United States. 

Even though I can’t easily generate a list similar to Randy’s, I did learn something by creating this report: Some of my citations are lacking in detail. In other words, I have work to do to make sure the citation will lead me back to the information.

Thank you, Randy for the challenge!