Saturday Night Genealogy Fun! June 13

Half the boxes I received from my mother.
Half the boxes I received from my mother.

I love participating in SNGF from Genea-Musings! I was especially glad to be interrupted this afternoon as I stared in loathing at four boxes of genealogy records my mother dug out of the shed from when she packed up her mom’s desk when she passed away in 2008. I have itching to get my hands on these records as I encounter more and more notes in her RootsMagic file that say “compiler has a copy of this document” but the document itself hasn’t been digitized.

Now that summer break has arrived for this teacher, I eagerly made my way to my parents’ house toting my laptop ready to dig in. Fast forward a couple hours and I am having a staring contest with four boxes of loosely organized papers, which my mother actually removed from the bulky binders they were originally kept in and placed in manila envelopes. The little I have timidly begun to excavate has yielded three thick document envelopes containing identical copies of correspondence between a distant cousin and an expert on my grandfather’s genealogy from the 1940’s in which the cousin was basically told that the “book” she compiled was mostly wrong. Why we have three copies of such letters, I have no idea, but if this is a sign of what else is to come in these boxes, I’m not looking forward to it. Especially since my scanner has suddenly decided not to operate wirelessly, so I have to balance my tethered laptop awkwardly on the edge of a table while I scan four boxes of paper at a snail’s pace.

The moral of this story is, I’m thrilled to have a distraction that has nothing to do with paper! Today’s task is to use some tree statistics to find out about the sources you use most. You can read about it here:

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?

I am somewhat ashamed to say that I don’t keep my RootsMagic database separate from my Ancestry tree. Instead I mostly operate on Ancestry then periodically export the GEDCOM and import the file to RootsMagic. I have found this to be much easier for a person that has less than 5 hours a week to devote to genealogy during the school year. I do religiously download the images of sources I find on Ancestry. I also work really hard to add a lot of content to Ancestry as far as photos and stories. I like having a thorough tree to share with my family and I feel like supplying these things is a way of returning the favor to the genealogy gods who have bestowed some miracles on me. When I find information outside of Ancestry I try to use the “description” part of their fact form to explain where it came from, although I know this doesn’t count towards the number of citations. I find that Ancestry’s manual citation form is difficult to use so I avoid it as much as possible. When I add images of obituaries or other documents I always try to credit the person or repository it came from in the description and I diligently link uploaded media with facts/events. So with that said my “citation” numbers will be a bit skewed as 99% of them come from sources available on Ancestry, even though I have found plenty of information in other places and have tried to credit that in other ways.

The ratio question I find a little unclear. According to the Ancestry Tree Overview I have 2,342 records and 1,149 people. That’s ratio of 2.03 records per person. However, I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that when Ancestry refers to a “record” it is meaning a single family on a census counts as 1 record, for example, even though that family might have 10 kids enumerated, which seems to put this number a little low. On the other hand when I run the stats in Roots Magic it says I have 7,116 citations for 1,149 people. That’s a ratio of 6.19 citations per person. I believe (again, correct me if I’m wrong) that when RM refers to a “citation” it is meaning each piece of extracted information from a record. For example I noticed that in a single person’s census record there were two citations: one for “name” and another for “birth”, which seems to skew the number a little high. Neither of these numbers seems to me like a good way to quantify the amount of information on my tree, but such is life.

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?

I followed the same method outlined in the original post. I ran a report of sources and scrolled through the list to see how many citations different sources had. According to RootsMagic there are 149 different sources in my database. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. FindAGrave: 866 citations, 12.16%
  2. 1900 Census: 610 citations, 8.57%
  3. 1880 Census: 607 citations, 8.53%

Other notable sources:

  • 1850 Census: 251 citations
  • 1860 Census: 353 citations
  • 1870 Census: 344 citations
  • 1910 Census: 446 citations
  • 1920 Census: 441 citations
  • 1930 Census: 443 citations
  • 1940 Census: 411 citations
  • Ohio Death Index: 162 citations
  • US City Directories: 208 citations
  • SSDI: 120 citations
  • SAR Applications: 166 citations

Looks like FindAGrave takes the prize for me as well, but even I was impressed with how well each census fared in the list. Looking back at my Ancestry Tree Overview I still have 1679 hints to review, so maybe I’ll put off those boxes some more and go back to excavating some virtual information!

Have a great Saturday!

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