*How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

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DavidNewton
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How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby DavidNewton » 15 May 2019 19:38

I should clarify that I am not asking about the reliability of the information that we obtain from the internet but rather will it still be there in decades to come.

Let me explain with a specific example. Many of my relatives were coal miners and some years ago on the internet I found a collections of databases under the heading 'The Coalmining History Resource Centre" and from that obtained informations about accidents, deaths, names of mines, names of managers and so on. So I quoted the URL as my publication information. This site apparently stopped operating in 2016 and the URL has been taken over by an engineering company. Digging around I found that the Coalmining History site had been archived by the Wayback Machine whch is good -- but not so good as searching the databases doesn't seem to work (the search url refers back to the original url which is now an engineering company).
I am sure there are many other examples, I think a number of OPC sites have gone.

So the question here is how do you quote these relatively small and possibly underfunded internet resources when they are basically transient and to some extent that defeats the object of quoting your sources. You could say, go to the originals (if you can) but for some of us that is just not possible.

Thoughts?

David

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Re: How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby AdrianBruce » 15 May 2019 20:17

In no particular order, off the top of my head, I would suggest;
- maximise use of copying the text from the source (or screen shotting);
- ensure the source record describes not just the answer but also the question;
- try to identify the cited / original source of the internet source.

I would also suggest that this isn't totally different from citing a conversation with now-deceased Great-Aunt Nelly - no-one can get back to that original source either.
Adrian

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Re: How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby Gowermick » 15 May 2019 20:22

David,
We have similar problems with some of the main genealogy sites as well. When I got details of a Baptism from Findmypast, I quoted the recordset in which I found the information as the source. When re-tracing this research recently to get as many images of the parish register as I could, I discovered FMP had changed the titles of some of their recordsets, so my old sources were now incorrect. ;)
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Re: How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby tatewise » 15 May 2019 20:24

Yes, this is a recurrent problem with Internet technology.
However, it is not unheard of with other source media.
So the first step is to always download copies of whatever media you can get hold of.

Regarding references you have answered your own question by trying to find repositories for the originals, but that may not be easy, especially as it is now 'archived'..
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby AdrianBruce » 15 May 2019 20:38

Gowermick wrote:... I discovered FMP had changed the titles of some of their recordsets, so my old sources were now incorrect. ;)

That happens - quite often with FMP says my untrustworthy intuition. It also happens with Ancestry - e.g. the English & Welsh Probate Calendar changed its name slightly. And ScotlandsPeople altered their referencing system, which considering you can't get back to any independent referencing could make life really complex. Fortunately, I think their changes were fairly nominal.

My reaction is a resigned shrug and the statement that I am only citing what I found and cannot possibly be expected to track things later on. :(
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Re: How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby jbtapscott » 16 May 2019 05:56

As a matter of course I always "Print to PDF" every website transcript I use as a source, and store that in the Media folder. It's a bit of a pain and obviously results in a lot of PDF files but at least if, for some reason, I have to re-search for something I still have the PDF of the original and therefore some certainty that I didn't make a mistake / misread the original!. I should perhaps add that I do not attach the PDF as Media to the source record but do name the file the same of the Source Name in FH.
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Re: How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby ColeValleyGirl » 16 May 2019 07:01

Re CoalMining History, Ancestry has:

Ancestry.com. Web: UK, Coal Mining Accidents and Deaths Index, 1878-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Coalmining Accidents and Deaths. The Coalmining History Resource Centre. http://www.cmhrc.co.uk/site/disasters/index.html: accessed 20 February 2014.

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Re: How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby tatewise » 16 May 2019 08:54

Helen, that exactly illustrates David's problem, as the URL link given goes nowhere useful.
The Coal Mining History Resource Centre (CMHRC) once owned the cmhrc.co.uk domain.
But that domain is now owned by the CHMRC Manufacturing company.

All that is now available is via the Wayback Machine at https://web.archive.org/web/20160304121259/http://www.cmhrc.co.uk/site/home/index.html and the searches and some links do not work.
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Re: How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby ColeValleyGirl » 16 May 2019 09:47

Ancestry has the extracted data from the database, e.g. my great-great-grandfather

Name: T Jones
Death Age: 30
Event Type: Death
Birth Year: abt 1840
Death Date: 2 May 1870
Death Place: Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, Wales
Occupation: Horse attendent
Colliery: Dowlais
Owner: Dowlais Iron Co
Notes: Killed by explosion of gas. 3 killed.

Which from memory is as much as the original site had.

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Re: How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby tatewise » 16 May 2019 10:01

That is probably the case for that one person, but if you follow the Wayback Machine link there is much more than just the details of mining fatalities.
It still does not answer the question about the true origin of the Source information and where it is held.
As has been mentioned, even the Ancestry URL link is not immune from being changed.
Another drawback is that Ancestry records are not free, whereas The Coal Mining History Resource Centre is/was free.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby ColeValleyGirl » 16 May 2019 10:48

I'm not commenting on general cases -- I'm responding (I hope helpfully) the specific example.

That particular Ancestry database is searchable without a subscription.

The site that was the original source of the information was maintained by Ian Winstanley before it was passed on to Raley's Solicitors who ceased to maintain it sometime after 2014 when the data about individual death and accidents was passed on to Ancestry who host it.

Some (but not all) of the other data is hosted at http://www.healeyhero.co.uk/rescue/Coll ... u2.htm#col, as well as the following statement:

Ancestry
Ian's Database of Fatalities is now in the Ancestry Web Site

Notes On The Database
This link http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9735 will take you to a freely searchable database of mining deaths and injuries in Great Britain which was on Raleys Coal Mining History Resource Centre web site which is now defunct. The database was originally compiled by Ian Winstanley.

The Sources
From 1850 to 1915 HM Inspectors of Mines produced their regional annual reports which included mining deaths and some injuries in a tabular form as an addendum to their reports. Although it was a punishable offence under the Mining Acts not to report a fatal accident many were not reported but many were reported in local newspapers of the time. There is often a brief report of the incident but there may be a full report of the inquest in the press the week following.

During WW1 the Inspectors Reports were sensitive documents and were not released under DORA (Defence of the Realm Act) and after the war the practice of the tabular lists was suspended. Post WW1 these tabular registers were continued by the Inspectorate but were not published. The database contains much of this information for some areas but not all the country is represented. The information is available if someone out there is mad enough to continue the project.

Many individuals and Family History Societies contributed information for which I am very grateful. For those who find the database useful I wish you success in your family quest.

Ian Winstanley 2017.

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DavidNewton
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Re: How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby DavidNewton » 16 May 2019 11:47

Many thanks for the information about the Coalmining History Resources. I looked up Raleys to see if they had moved the information and apparently they are in administration so not much help. I will look up the links mentioned.
David

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Re: How should we use the internet as a genealogy data source.

Postby LornaCraig » 16 May 2019 12:55

As an aside (sorry this is going further off topic) for anyone researching Scottish coal mining this is a very good site: http://www.scottishmining.co.uk/index.html
Lorna


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