* Source Types (usage of the FH field)

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Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by davidf » 30 Sep 2019 10:38

A number of posts recently has got me questioning how we can use the Type field on Source Records. I think I have assumed a purpose quite different to what others have assumed!
Screenshot from 2019-09-30 11-03-05.png
Source Record
Screenshot from 2019-09-30 11-03-05.png (20.95 KiB) Viewed 2125 times
You will observe from the above screenshot that I am a "lumper" - which may be pertinent.

My sources have always been the answer to "Where did you find this 'fact'". This is usually an online "collection" but could be a microfilm at a county archive or even a physical document such as a parish register.

Various sources have various reliabilities. Some are mere transcripts (full or partial) and you have to accept/hope that the transcription is accurate and that the digitalising process has not "assumed" more information. (The actual source may say "Carlisle", but the digitalisation process sometimes takes a National-centric view and automatically adds "PA, USA"!). Those that have images allow you to check the transcription and to transcribe un-transcribed information (such as Census Occupations). Those that are pure images rely on your own transcription. It is to reflect these differences that I have used the "type".

I have a suspicion that this is not the "normal" use!

According to the Knowledge Base > 4. Enhancements to Sources Source Types were introduced with FH 2.3.5. (Long long ago) "There is now a new Type field for sources, which allows you to specify, for each source record, what kind of source it is." Which is what I thought I was doing.

Others I suspect relegate this sort of information to the source note field - which is fine if you are a source lumper like me, but a bit tedious and repetitious if you are a source splitter.

Would I be right in thinking that source splitters would, say for an 1850 US census event, record the full citation ("1850 US Census, Amwell, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States, pXYZ") as the source and possibly use the "type" field to hold "Census" or "1850 Census"? If so where (if?) would you hold the sort of type information that I detail above - there is no "Source Type | Note" field - and you cannot add it through the Sources "All" tab. Is it not seen as important?

I have found this particularly important when dealing with Parish Records where the "type" can be
  • The Actual Parish Record
  • The Actual Bishops Transcript
  • Microfilm of the Parish Record
  • An online transcription of the Parish Record
  • An online transcription of the Bishops Transcript masquerading as the Parish Record
  • An online transcription with images of either the Parish Record or of the Bishops Transcript
It is often important to realise and record what you have actually been looking at as they can reveal different information.

What do others do?
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 30 Sep 2019 10:59

I'm a splitter (except for a very few things like the GRO indices)

I put all the information that somebody would need to assess the evidential value of a source I've used in support of an assertion in the Long Title, using source citations based on Elizabeth Shown Mills' guidance (if not always perfectly compliant with every jot and tittle :D )

I use the short title for (duh) a short title that helps *me* find a source quickly within FH -- basically in the pattern:

Source Document Type YYYY Country Place, Person

where Source Document Type is a brief classification of **what is documented in the source** (often but not always the same as the Source Type field).

e.g. Burial 1848 England Clifton with Glapton, Ann Brooks

for which the long title is:

"Nottinghamshire Burial Index Transcription", database, Findmypast.co.uk (http://findmypast.co.uk : accessed 4 April 2018), entry for Ann Brooks burial date 14 Nov 1848 in Clifton with Glapton; citing Nottinghamshire Family History Society.

I use the Source Type to record more generally the type of Source Record -- in this case 'Burial' -- again only as a finding aid for myself.


Another example which better shows the distinctions:

Long Title:

Worcester, England. "Worcestershire Chronicle" 26 May 1858 (digital images), The British Newspaper Archive (https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk, accessed: 9 September 2018), page 3

Short Title:

Death 1858 Jersey, Edward Harper

Source Type:

Newspaper


I usually also include a transcription in Text from Source, and may include a Note if there is something worth drawing people's attention to: "The document was OCRed from the original by an untrained chimpanzee".

I only ever publish Long Title, Source from Text, and the Source Note.

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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by tatewise » 30 Sep 2019 11:27

David's approach is a novel one I have not seen before.
However, I don't fully understand how it is applied.
Since the Source records are 'lumped' there is only one United States Census, 1850 record.
So it can only have one Type definition.
How does that cope with various forms of transcription and images?

Similarly, there is only one 'lumped' Parish record, so how does that accommodate all the Types listed near the end?

Do you have to have multiple 'lumped' Source records with the same Title but different Type definitions?

Beware that the Type field is a non-standard-GEDCOM extension unique to FH, so doesn't export to other genealogy products. If that information is important to be retained in all future incarnations, then it should be in a standard field such as the Note.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by davidf » 30 Sep 2019 12:18

tatewise wrote:
30 Sep 2019 11:27
Do you have to have multiple 'lumped' Source records with the same Title but different Type definitions?
The illustration at the top of the first post came from a relatively new project.
My sources have always been the answer to "Where did you find this 'fact'".
In the example, I have just said "1850 US Census" - the repository is noted as "Family Search".

If, as is likely, I end up using a second source for the "1850 US Census", say, Find My Past, I will edit the single existing 1850 US Census record to read "1850 US Census (FS)" and create a new one for "1850 US Census (FMP)", so that the Source Title reflects the answer to the question "Where did you find this 'fact'".

The benefit to me (as a "lumper") is that I can review in the property box for an individual, where I got the 1850 US Census fact (in terms of where it came from) - with the citation pointing me towards exactly where in the citation. If I am struggling with a common name, I might notice that with a problematic individual I have the FS Census Source, but not the FMP Source and choose to go and look for it. Likewise I find that with lumped records reviewing the Source Records "Record Page", I have a manageable number of sources and I can quickly see that I have say 61 citations for the 1850 Census but only 31 for the 1860 Census - er Why? (Perhaps FS/FMP indexing or coverage is different?)

So yes for a particular event I might have multiple sources (but a small number).
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by tatewise » 30 Sep 2019 12:38

You have actually answered a different but similar question for 'lumped' Sources regarding multiple Repositories where you have 'split' the 'lumps'.

So I assume you similarly 'split' the 'lumps' when various Type values are required.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by GeneSniper » 30 Sep 2019 13:09

2019-09-30.png
2019-09-30.png (143.43 KiB) Viewed 2096 times
I am guessing this was how FH developers perceived the use of the Type field as this is the sources in the FH Sample Project. Consistency is the war cry from FH, there doesn't seem to be an exact science to what goes where as long as you put the same things in the same fields. Obviously using Census 1861 and Census 1871 for types would let you filter all entries for each year,
Last edited by GeneSniper on 30 Sep 2019 13:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by davidf » 30 Sep 2019 13:11

tatewise wrote:
30 Sep 2019 11:27
Similarly, there is only one 'lumped' Parish record, so how does that accommodate all the Types listed near the end?
This forces me to consider hard "Where did I get the information from?" - does the Source Title adequately answer that question.

The types I have listed at the end are different "Where's" and may contain different (sometimes conflicting information), so where I have access to multiple "Where's" or where I have doubt (for instance about a transcript) I will record multiple sources.

So I might record that
Sarah Ridley was baptised (fact) 24 June 1796 (date) at Beaumont Parish Church (address), Beaumont, Cumberland England (place)
and I will list my sources as:
  • Cumberland Baptisms (FMP) and in the Source note I might put "College of Arms PRs County Baptism Pours"* (which is where FMP got the data from) together with a note that this is actually a digitalisation of an existing transcript - possibly? a Bishops Transcript. In the Citation note I will put the actual transcript recorded in that source (which may include date of birth, parentage, any father's occupation and residence)*
  • Beaumont Parish Register (CCA), Type=Physical Register. In the Citation note I will put my transcript.
  • Beaumont, Carlisle Diocesan Bishops Transcripts (CCA), Type=Physical Book. In the Source Note I will state whether I believe this is the original transcript as submitted, or a later transcript.
    In the Citation note I will put my transcript together with say the clerk's note "another bastard daughter of Isabella Ridley" - which is relevant information that does not always make its way into the online databases!
(CCA = Cumbria County Archives)
The citation note is where I note any variations between sources. If I have images I will attach them as citation media via the relevant source.

If I am visiting the Cumbria Archives and find say the later source, I can quickly find all the facts that have relied on say the first source and cross check for further details, whilst I have the Bishops Transcript in front of me.

* The Full note I will put against the source would usually be that provided by FMP (possibly abbreviated to remove pure historical recitation):

* If I then use this as a source for say any father's occupation, I can either source the father's occupation Fact as
Source=Cross Reference: Baptisms, Where Within Source=Daughter X Bap dd/mm/yy
or
I can link to the Actual Source that gave the information. If I do this I tend (now) to put the transcript in a shared note attached to the citation (to avoid duplication and ensure consistency)

The advantage of the former (having a generic Cross Reference: Baptisms Source) is that you avoid having a baptism cited in a non baptism fact - which means that the citation count in the Source Records Window is more useful. (You have so many baptisms in Carlisle Diocese which cite the Parish Register, but only so many which cite the Bishops Transcripts)

The first method also gives possibly a more relevant answer to the "Where did I get the information from?" question - at least for a first cut. Father's occupation? Picked up from Daughter's baptismal record. I can then go to the record if I need to know where in terms of actual source.

The second option is a more purist answer - avoiding artificial sources.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by davidf » 30 Sep 2019 13:22

tatewise wrote:
30 Sep 2019 11:27
Do you have to have multiple 'lumped' Source records with the same Title but different Type definitions?
Not quite. As per a previous post if the answer to "Where did I get the information" is different, it is a different source. The "types", as I use them (in my own little world apparently) is a useful bit of information used when looking at the Source Record, to prompt me that one source may only be a partial transcription, but another includes images - so I may want to search the latter first.

Scottish YYYY Census might be an example. Scotlands People will contain images (at a PAYG cost) whilst FMP will be partial transcription only. So my Source Records would contain
1871 England, Wales & Scotland Census (FMP) Type = "Partial Transcription"
1871 Scotland Census (SP) Type = "Transcription and Images (PAYG)"
I will go first to FMP, but then if there is doubt I will go onto Scotland's People and buy the image
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by davidf » 30 Sep 2019 13:32

WilliamFrier wrote:
30 Sep 2019 13:09
2019-09-30.png

I am guessing this was how FH developers perceived the use of the Type field as this is the sources in the FH Sample Project. Consistency is the war cry from FH, there doesn't seem to be an exact science to what goes where as long as you put the same things in the same fields. Obviously using Census 1861 and Census 1871 for types would let you filter all entries for each year,
Thanks, That is interesting - and to remember to use the Sample Project for guidance!

But

I notice inconsistencies!
"Service Records" & "Army Service Records"
"1871 Census Scotland" & "Census"
and "CWGC" which is more a repository or source - if referring to the CWGC Roll of Honour - unless they are referring to the actual Grave
(The auto-complete feature should help avoid some duplication)

The illustrated usage of the Type Field clearly helps with filtering when you have a large number of sources (as will happen with splitters). However scrolling through an alphabetical sort of Record Name can achieve something similar.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by tatewise » 30 Sep 2019 13:56

Consistency is more a war cry from FHUG.
Unfortunately, the Family Historian Sample Project is not as consistent as it could be (as David noticed).

Sorting Sources by record Title is unlikely to yield the same order as by Type.
c.f. the Family Historian Sample Project
Many of my 'splitter' Source records sorted by Title will be in Surname & Given name order of the key person.
i.e. the person whose BMD Certificate is recorded, and so nothing like Type order.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by GeneSniper » 30 Sep 2019 15:14

Sorry if you thought I meant that the image I put up was about consistency, I thought it was how the developers meant the type field to be used (I presume it is just giving different examples). Consistency seems to be the call from most serious FH users and for that matter FTM or Rootsmagic. What I have found while on here is that there are many different ways to input and store your information in FH, just not a standard way.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by AdrianBruce » 30 Sep 2019 20:05

For me, the Type on a Source Record suggests what type of "template" I used to fill that Source Record in. ("Template" for me is usually a dummy Source Record with boiler plate and ???? in the appropriate places to prompt me to enter the parish, etc.). I use "multiple level" Types such as
  • PR/BT; baptism; FMP image
  • PR/BT; baptism; Microfilm
  • PR/BT; Internet index
Each of those Source Records will contain subtly different data. The Type will also tell me whether it's an original, a derivative such as an image or an extract / index. Note that often my "PR/BT; baptism; FMP image" source records will contain images from Ancestry or vice versa when the format of information doesn't change - the names just grew that way.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by LornaCraig » 30 Sep 2019 20:28

It's worth mentioning here that if you use Ancestral Sources to create census, birth, baptism, marriage, death or burial sources, AS can (optionally) add a corresponding Type to the Source record when it is created.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by tatewise » 30 Sep 2019 20:39

Yes Lorna, but if creating a Burial source from say Parish records &/or from a Gravestone then you may want different Type values, and although the Type can be changed in AS independently for each mode, there is only one setting for Burial, so you must remember to check the appropriate value is set for the Type of Source being created.
c.f. Knowledge Base > Ancestral Sources Template ~ Electoral Register UK that alters the Source Type from Census to Electoral Register.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by GeneSniper » 04 Oct 2019 22:27

tatewise wrote:
30 Sep 2019 11:27
Beware that the Type field is a non-standard-GEDCOM extension unique to FH, so doesn't export to other genealogy products. If that information is important to be retained in all future incarnations, then it should be in a standard field such as the Note.
Can I ask what other fields don't export to other genealogy products. I ask this as I use the Type field as the description eg Title- Death: BLOGGS, Joe d1935 and then Type- Death Certificate. Now if for some reason I changed to another product (Hopefully not but never say never, as I thought I wouldn't be changing from FTM), and the type field didn't transfer I wouldn't be able to tell what Deaths had certificates as proof. I am at the lucky position that I am not far into my redo, of my redo, of my redo :lol: and can make a simple change to the Title's eg Death Certificate: BLOGGS, Joe d1935. So are there other fields I should be wary of?
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by Jane » 05 Oct 2019 08:34

If you needed to move you could simply use a plugin script to append the Type value to the Title field.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by GeneSniper » 05 Oct 2019 18:55

Thanks for that Jane, but as I said I am not far enough into my redo that I can't just change the Title's. Remember this comment if it ever happens ,because you will be my go to person for- Simply writing a plugin script :lol:. Back to my original question, "what other fields don't export to other genealogy products".
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by mjashby » 06 Oct 2019 09:28

The answer is simple: "It depends on the other product(s)!" 8-)

Some years ago I invested a relatively small sum of money (in comparison with that other well known tome) in a book(let) by Ben Sayer: "Practical Citation"

https://practicalcitation.com (also available on Amazon)

The guide was based on testing Source exchange via GEDCOM between 10 genealogy products (Windows and Mac) and the fact that only 4 out of 12 data items transferred reliably between all of the genealogy software he tested: The tests were performed against product versions on the market in 2012 and 2014, e.g. Family Historian 5, so might be considered a little dated, but there seem to have been few, if any, changes in the way Source data are recorded in any product updates in the intervening years. Even the latest Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic seem to be more concerned with cosmetic interface changes (improvements?) rather than any genuinely new research and innovative features. The Source components which were found to transfer reliably between all software were:

- Descriptive Title
- Originator
- Publication Facts
- Information Location

The rest of the booklet focusses on how to build and refine transferrable sources. I can't pretend to follow his methodology precisely, but do follow the principles in terms of how the data which does transfer successfully from Family Historian should appear in the receiving product.

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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by GeneSniper » 06 Oct 2019 10:19

Thanks for that Mervyn. I was more interested in what doesn't transfer directly. When I moved over from FTM all of my information moved over, just not to the right places eg place names correct but addresses (Street names) into notes. That is why I decided to redo my tree rather than go through the whole tree hopefully finding all the changes
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by mjashby » 06 Oct 2019 13:45

I'm afraid you the answer remains the same for all information, i.e. it depends on the recipient software, not the donor (Family Historian), which exports the GEDCOM in its entirety. That's why Mike Tate has done so much work on his Plug-in(s) to compensate for known differences/issues in the way products import and export GEDCOM data; and also why some of the surviving family history applications introduced special direct import procedures for some software which faced the same fate as our ancestors, e.g. TMG; and Family Tree Maker (which rose from the ashes and then became one of the undead).

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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by GeneSniper » 06 Oct 2019 17:28

I was just wondering when Mike mentioned that Type was a Non Standard Gedcom extension, what others weren't standard to Gedcom in case I could dodge a bullet just now by making sure my information could be input slightly differently. Just like I said earlier Source title from Birth: to Birth Certificate:. I will still use the Type field but if something happened and I or we all had to change in the future that I wouldn't be bothering my shirt about whether the Type field transferred.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by mjashby » 07 Oct 2019 10:11

The non-standard data fields that appear in the GEDCOM File are preceded by an Underline Character. e.g. from a Family Historian File:

_TYPE
_PLAC
_SHAR

Don't know that anyone has produced a definitive list of the non-standard fields built in to a clean Family Historian installation, but it is complicated by the fact that Users can themselves create their own user defined Tags (non-standard data items) following the same GEDCOM defined convention.

The vast majority of alternative applications will also export all non-standard (proprietary and/or 'user-defined') GEDCOM data items. The difficulty is with knowing what the importing application does with those data fields, especially where it doesn't recognise the proprietary/user defined data item and/or have a direct equivalent.

Using your example, of 'Source Type' RootsMagic, for example, has no equivalent data field. I also am not aware that any standard narrative Family Historian Report includes Source Type data. Personally, and following the Guide I mentioned earlier, source titles should clearly identify the source, e.g. as a 'Source Splitter' I typically use: "Census - England 1861: Otley, Yorkshire (RG9/3215; Folio: 5; Page: 4; Schedule: 14)" The 'Source Type', as far as I know, and based on the fact that it is proprietary, was originally designed primarily to be a helper/identifier for the User who might want to list/view 'All Sources of Type 'X''.

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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by AdrianBruce » 07 Oct 2019 11:07

The problem isn't just custom tags beginning (or not) with underscores (_) - it's that "half" the software simply doesn't recognise valid GEDCOM, either because they've (deliberately or accidentally) ignored that bit of the specification or they've read it, coded it, but are expecting the tag in a different position relative to the surrounding tags. There is no safe subset of GEDCOM - or maybe there is, but it's a pretty trivial subset. (I wouldn't even trust Name to be loaded correctly 100% of the time!)
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by AdrianBruce » 07 Oct 2019 11:18

mjashby wrote:
07 Oct 2019 10:11
... Using your example, of 'Source Type' RootsMagic, for example, has no equivalent data field. ...
Well, RootsMagic does have a "Source Type" - it's the first thing you get asked for when you attempt to add a new source from the Master Source List....
RM Source Type.jpg
RM Source Type.jpg (57.45 KiB) Viewed 1536 times
Further the values are sort of reminiscent of what I use. Now what's probably true is that the RM Source Type doesn't appear on an output GEDCOM file from RM, nor (perhaps) can it be accepted on a GEDCOM input to RM. I don't know enough of RM to say - it just took me long enough just to find the ability to list sources in RM.
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Re: Source Types (usage of the FH field)

Post by tatewise » 07 Oct 2019 20:19

Sorry, but I have been away, and now notice my name has been mentioned in despatches.

The full list of FH extensions is in Knowledge Base > GEDCOM Extension List.
That also explains how each is typically handled by other products, and how it could be exported.

However, as others have said, many products do NOT fully implement the standard GEDCOM features, and many implement the GEDCOM Draft v5.5.1 that has some significant differences to GEDCOM v5.5.

For examples of the conversions needed to satisfactorily migrate all FH based GEDCOM data to other products, see the Plugins Knowledge Base > Export Gedcom File ~ Output Formats and checkout some of the products.

I believe the RootsMagic Source Type identifies an internal format template and has no GEDCOM representation, so cannot be imported or exported. It shows how misleading a term such as Source Type can be.
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