* Letters as sources

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colinjenner
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Letters as sources

Post by colinjenner » 09 May 2017 16:36

I have over a thousand letters from people in my tree to other people in my tree spanning nearly 200 years so I'm hoping to use FH to maximise the info I can from them. What I'd really like is a AS type form to say who it was from, to whom, where they were, dates, etc and have that information attached to the relevant people/places, etc. but I'm at a slight loss as to how to proceed now.
I can create each letter as a source, but I'd like to associate a sender to it - from an address with a date, and a receiver with the same info ( i have most of the franked envelopes).
So I'm thinking I need a "letter from" fact and a "letter to" fact to link to the source senders and receivers. but I'm wondering if there isn't a more sensible way to do it before I start putting the whole lot in. I'm hoping someone has crossed this bridge and can help me. Obviously I'm finding info in the letters that I can also extract as individual facts for all sorts of people, but it's the correct recording of the letter that I want to get right.
many thanks
Colin

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BillH
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Re: Letters as sources

Post by BillH » 09 May 2017 17:23

Colin,

Welcome the the FHUG.

I treat a letter just like any other document. I create a source for it, include a transcription of the letter in the source, and attach a scan of the letter to the source. I then attach that to any facts that I glean from the letter. I don't think of the letter as a fact in itself, it is just a source of information to me.

I'm sure others do it differently, but that is what works for me.

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Valkrider
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Re: Letters as sources

Post by Valkrider » 09 May 2017 17:42

Colin

I also do it like Bill and I use the 'auto source' feature of Family Historian to add the source to as many facts as necessary.

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SunnyLady
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Re: Letters as sources

Post by SunnyLady » 09 May 2017 17:53

Me too as per Bill and Colin

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BillH
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Re: Letters as sources

Post by BillH » 09 May 2017 17:58

I forgot to mention that I name the source like this:

Letter from <name of the sender> to <name of the recipient> on <date of letter if dated else date of postmark>.

This way I can easily tell the different sources apart when I look at the list of sources.

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tatewise
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Re: Letters as sources

Post by tatewise » 09 May 2017 19:08

I do as advised by others, but also have two custom facts.

Communication Attribute with Sentence Template of {individual} communicated< with {value}> {date}< from {address}>

Correspondence Attribute with Sentence Template of {individual} got correspondence< from {value}> {date}< from {address}>

I have used Attributes so both people are recorded as {individual} and {value}.

Those cover all forms of communication including letters, wedding/anniversary invitations, Emails, etc.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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colinjenner
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Re: Letters as sources

Post by colinjenner » 09 May 2017 20:03

fantastic - I'm really grateful for all your help... :D

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E Wilcock
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Re: Letters as sources

Post by E Wilcock » 10 May 2017 19:51

tatewise wrote:I have two custom facts.

Communication Attribute with Sentence Template of {individual} communicated< with {value}> {date}< from {address}>

Correspondence Attribute with Sentence Template of {individual} got correspondence< from {value}> {date}< from {address}>

I have used Attributes so both people are recorded as {individual} and {value}.
Could you explain to me about the person as a value please Mike? Does it show up on the Person record or act like a witness role? Or just show up on a text search. Or does the system depend on having two attribute entries for each letter? i.e. wrote and received.

I am curious as I have in the past often has to deal with correspondence and used a database rather than genealogy software.

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tatewise
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Re: Letters as sources

Post by tatewise » 10 May 2017 20:41

The {value} is just text, in the same way the {value} of an Occupation is just text.

When the Communication/Correspondence is with/from a person or organisation (perhaps a solicitor) NOT in the Project then it is simply their Name. That Name then appears in the Facts tab and in the Narrative Sentence and in all Reports by default. (It is similar to the Fact Witness ~ Add Name Only option, but easier to use.)

As an example I have Matthew Tate in Communication with White, Brook & Gilman, Lloyds Bank Chambers, Eastleigh, Hants regarding 162 Southampton Road as the {value}, so the Sentence reads:
"He communicated with White, Brook & Gilman, Lloyds Bank Chambers, Eastleigh, Hants regarding 162 Southampton Road on 1 October 1958 from 38 Hall Road, East Ham, London."

If it is between two people in the Project, then both Facts must be used, one for the sender and one for the recipient, but both share the same Source Citation for the letter, etc.

I suppose in that latter case you could just add the Fact to the sender, and add the recipient as a Fact Witness.
But then in non-Narrative Reports the recipient has no Fact recorded.
I consider the sender and recipient as two Principals both deserving their own Fact.
(In the same way I consider all members of a Census Household as Principals each with their own Census Event.)
Anyway, I designed the Communication/Correspondence facts back in FH V5 before Fact Witnesses were an option.
They even cope with an Email or duplicate letter sent to several recipients.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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NigelBrown
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Re: Letters as sources

Post by NigelBrown » 12 May 2017 16:04

I have devised two custom facts very similar to Mike's. I have "Correspondence with" using Fact "{date} {individual} corresponded< with {value}>< of {_place}>" that produces output (in Individual Narrative, others not checked) of "On 1 January 2020 he corresponded with Fred of 1 High Street." This is fine. I use the Note to expand on content. The date on the letter is perfectly OK.

However, "Correspondence from" using Fact "{individual} received correspondence dated< {date}>< from {value}>< of {_place}>" produces output "He received correspondence dated on 1 January 2020 from Fred of 1 High Street." I am likely to know when it was written, or perhaps have the date of postmark, but usually I don't know when he/she/the individual received it.

Question, can I stop "on" from appearing? Or is there a suitable alternative form of template words that would work well? Am I missing something obvious?
Nigel Brown - http://www.nigelbrown.me.uk
Vousden One-Name Study - http://www.vousden.name

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tatewise
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Re: Letters as sources

Post by tatewise » 12 May 2017 16:53

Yes, there is a 'trick' to stop on from appearing by adding a Qualifier to the Date.
That is explained in the Help page for Template Codes under How to Use a Specific Date Format.

Your old template (has a problem that dated is shown unconditionally even when no {date}):
{individual} received correspondence dated< {date}>< from {value}>< of {_place}>

Revised template:
{individual} received correspondence< dated {date:LONG}>< from {value}>< of {_place}>

When there is a Date that will say:
He received correspondence dated 1 January 2020 from Fred of 1 High Street.
When no Date it will say:
He received correspondence from Fred of 1 High Street.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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NigelBrown
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Re: Letters as sources

Post by NigelBrown » 12 May 2017 21:20

Mike,
Its as easy as that! Thanks for pointing out this neat solution, and for the suggestion to read the Help more often.
Nigel Brown - http://www.nigelbrown.me.uk
Vousden One-Name Study - http://www.vousden.name

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