Hierarchical source references?

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ocs
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Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:33 pm

Hierarchical source references?

Post by ocs » Sun Jun 02, 2024 2:21 am

Hi there,

I am not quite sure whether this is an enhancement request stuff, or whether I am just missing some smart iFamily trick.

It often happens to me I would need a source ref dup, or a source ref to a source ref, or something like that.

Let's say there's a John Doe, whose birth is well-referenced by a link to a source book, along with the page number, some notes, in future hopefully perhaps the page scan too (compare please viewtopic.php?p=4601#p4601). This is a source reference in John Doe's record.

With the vital records it is pretty usual (at least in my country) that the source mentions his parents and grandparents.

Thus, I would like to add to their records the appropriate source reference too: John Doe's mother should have the ref to the very same source (same page, same notes, same pic — when/if available, etc), with an extra note “mother”; similar for his father, the grandparents, and even (if they have own records in my tree, which they pretty often have) the god-parents.

It would be very inconvenient to duplicate the non-trivial source reference for all those people, especially in the (comparably often) case I need to edit the original John Doe's birth source ref, in which case I would have to edit lots and lots other refs (at this moment, I do not even recall which ones) in the same way. The best way would be to refer at the “second level” to the John Doe's birth source reference, perhaps with an extra note.

Is there a way to do that?

Thanks and all the best,
OC

NigelRichman
Posts: 339
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:12 pm
Location: Cornwall, England

Re: Hierarchical source references?

Post by NigelRichman » Sun Jun 02, 2024 3:42 pm

i,

Not exactly sure what you are trying to do but once a Source Citation is added (the exact reference in a Source - e.g Page xx from the 1911 Census) you can make that citation the Active source and Clone it to other people.

Do do this, Select an event (e.g. Census entry) and right click on it. Select 'Make it the Active event'.

Select the next person you wish to add the event to in the Ancestor diagram and again right click and select the 'Clone Active Event' menu option.

There are a number of event types that can be cloned such as Census, Residence etc.

Hope that is in line with what you wanted.

Nigel

ocs
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:33 pm

Re: Hierarchical source references?

Post by ocs » Sun Jun 02, 2024 5:35 pm

Thanks!

My problem with cloning the first/original ref is the case when later I find a need to edit it. If there's a lot of clones, it would lead to a need to edit all of them in the same way, which would be a bit complex.

Perhaps it is my fault, but I edit source refs pretty often. The most usual culprit is that I enter a transcript of the particular source part into the source ref notes; and often I find a way to improve the transcript later.

Possibly there's a much better way to do that, so I'll describe how (perhaps mistakenly) I use sources:

1. my source is a book of vital records. The source thus gets just a citation and URL (if the book is on the Net), but no page scans nor transcripts;
2. my particular source ref contains the page no of the source, along with a transcript in Notes (and would contain also page scan if it was possible, compare please also viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1029&p=4601#p4601)

Now, I would need to clone the source ref of 2 to many other people (if the source happens to be a birth, then almost always parents are mentioned, pretty often grandparents, and occasionally a maternal grandgrandmother, too). Besides the same source ref would need cloning to a number of RESI events (viewtopic.php?p=4612&sid=3fb8b423883ca5 ... 414a#p4612). I can do _this_ comparatively easily, but...

... a week or month later, I check the source scan again and find my transcript needs updating, for I've misinterpreted some ugly ancient handwriting. Now, I would need to fix the transcript in notes of a dozen clones as well :(

ocs
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:33 pm

Re: Hierarchical source references?

Post by ocs » Mon Jun 03, 2024 1:02 pm

Well having thought this through again, I guess my workflow is faulty indeed, especially that transcripts in source ref notes is a very bad idea; but I can't see how to fix it, given iFamily current features.

Correct me please if I am overlooking something of importance, but it seems to me the right way with sources would be something like this:
  1. The source indeed should contain a citation, URL etc, like it does now, e.g., “Birth records of Some Village, 1800-1840”; if there's a picture at all, it would be a pic of the book itself (unless it's one-page source). That's precisely how if works now. Nevertheless — unlike the current behaviour — a multi-page book source should usually not be a direct part of any source reference, see below.
  2. Instead, there should be a list of “referenced pages” or something like that, directly attached to a source (but still not part of any source reference, see below). Each of them would contain the page snapshot image (compare please this thread), URL (in case the source on the Net allows permalinks to individual pages, which they often do) and an optional note, which would not contain a transcript (see below). Would be also nice to have two separate page numbers here: the original page number, as printed in the book, and the scan page number, as used when one opens the source URL of 1 above and selects a page — they usually differ (here's an example: original page 89, printed at the bottom; scan page 77 of 112, selected in the pop-up in the bar above the scan).
  3. Finally, for each referenced pages, there would be a list of “excerpts”. Each excerpt would have a transcript (eg., for the sample above, “Mrklov 57: Šír Josef”) and possibly an independent note (“bottom right” or so).
  4. The source references in events and people's cards would usually link not directly to sources, but to the excerpts instead; it would thus be possible that many different source refs link to the same excerpt, sharing thus the transcript (and the page scan, and the source, through the hierarchy).
Is there some trick I am missing to achieve this kind of functionality in iFamily? If not, I'll move this to enhancement requests. Thanks!

NigelRichman
Posts: 339
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:12 pm
Location: Cornwall, England

Re: Hierarchical source references?

Post by NigelRichman » Mon Jun 03, 2024 5:34 pm

Hi

The way I view it is there are two parts to Sources.

The first part is the source such as:

1851 Census
1901 Census
UK Birth records
Family Bible
Manchester Evening Newspaper

When you record an event such as a Census entry you would have a Citation (ref to particular page of a Census book) to a particular Source (the 1851 Census).

For a birth event the source would be the general collection of birth records and the Citation would be the reference to the actual record.

Similar arrangement for Family bible etc.

I have never added pictures to the source but could see a value to adding a picture to the Citation in the event.

I generally add the text from a Census or BMD record to the event record. Downloaded images are added to the picture section for the person rather than the event.

Others may have a different approach but this works for me.

Hope it helps

Nigel

ocs
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:33 pm

Re: Hierarchical source references?

Post by ocs » Mon Jun 03, 2024 5:37 pm

Thanks!

Hmmmm, perhaps I have meantime found a reasonable (though far from perfect) work-around myself :), based precisely on the idea “there are more source levels in fact“ you are mentioning.

I've kept the single-page sources untouched, of course; there was never any problem with them.

Multi-page source Source Types though I've newly prefixed by 🅜 — any other character would do, but this one (a) suggests a paged source, and (b) conveniently falls behind any normal letter, thus selectors show these rarely (if ever) directly referenced sources at the very bottom of the list.

For each referenced/scanned page of a multi-page source I've added a new, separate source, whose abbrev (I select my sources by an abbrev, not by a title) is essentially same as the original source's (something like “@<original source number>“ would be much better, but the results would get completely disastrous if I ever renumber my sources. Of course, if ever this or similar support gets implemented iFamily-side, it would be source-No-based).

The source title though contains simply the page number in the original source (my own internal convention is “<original pageno>(<scan pageno>)”). This way, the page-referring sources are very easy distinguishable. Besides, it silences the warning alert of empty titles, which does not make much sense, I believe, if one's selecting the sources by the abbrev (will add ER later for that) :)

This source usually contains a page scan and a permalink page URL, if available.

If it so happens that the page is always and only referred to as a whole, i.e., does not contain information of different people of interest, then I add also the transcript and prefix the abbrev by some reasonable ID, typically person name and birth year, for that is what I want to see primarily when selecting sources for references (and separate it from the original abbrev by “@”), like e.g., “John Doe @ Birth Vital List of My Village 1880-1890”.

Otherwise, if there are (or probably will be in future) more people of interest in the same page, I (a) prefix its Source Type by 🅜, too, and (b) add a separate excerpt source for each person.

Excerpt sources are pretty plain: the abbrev contains some reasonable ID of the person described by the source excerpt, “@”, and the original abbrev (again, a source No of the page source would be much better, but then it would have to be supported directly by the application code to show the abbrevs properly in source selectors and to renumber source Nos when needed). For convenience I usually dup the title (ie., page no, see above) and the page permalink URL from the page source; it is superfluous, but convenient, until/if ever the application supports this kind of hierarchy directly. Should dup the scan too, but there might be problems with dupped pics, and thus I haven't tested this yet. Anyway there's no quick-and-easy access to scans at this moment yet (ER).

That's all. Whenever I need a source reference, I simply refer the single-page, single-person-page or excerpt source, and it works pretty nicely :) Of course, there are drawbacks, too: where e.g., the application used to show all the source references it now does not show anything, since sources are referenced indirectly through other sources. I can't see a work-around for this, alas, but for a direct support of hierarchical sources app-side :(

I've tested for the moment just with a couple of refs and seems OK. Does perhaps anybody see some big drawback with this approach, something which would raise its ugly head and bit me in my tender parts later, if I do it with all my source refs? Thanks!

NigelRichman
Posts: 339
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:12 pm
Location: Cornwall, England

Re: Hierarchical source references?

Post by NigelRichman » Mon Jun 03, 2024 5:55 pm

Hi,

I'm not sure what you expect from Hierarchical Source references but iFamily will list all the Citations for a particular source which lets you know all Events that call up a particular Source:

An example is:

Sources Report for Richman_Holman_family Created on Monday 3-Jun-2024 at 05:50 PM


Source Id:
8

Type:
Census

Abbr:
1871

Title:
1871 Census

Date:
2 Apr 1871

References

Event = Census of Frederic SAINTY in 1871, Ref = 1871 England Census; Class: RG10; Piece: 1848; Folio: 78; Page: 5; GSU roll: 838812

Event = Census of Edward H HOARE in 1871, Ref = RG10; Piece: 2508; Folio: 78; Page: 50; GSU roll: 835204

Event = Census of Sarah Ann FOWLER in 1871, Ref = 1871 England Census; Class: RG10; Piece: 2591; Folio: 40; Page: 18; GSU roll: 835275

Event = Census of Sarah COX in 1871, Ref = RG10; Piece: 3084; Folio: 114; Page: 40; GSU roll: 838894

Event = Census of Bertha APPLEGATE in 1871, Ref = RG10, Piece 2486, Folio 32, Page 9

Event = Census of Elizabeth E ULPH in 1871, Ref = Yarmouth RG10; Piece: 1786; Folio: 11; Page: 16; GSU roll: 830832

Event = Census of Jessie Helen GRAHAM in 1871, Ref = Parish: Watten; ED: 2; Page: 1; Line: 5; Roll: CSSCT1871_8

Event = Census of William (Henry) RICHMAN in 1871, Ref = RG10 Piece: 1920 Folio: 92 Page: 38

Event = Census of Charlotte BIGWOOD in 1871, Ref = Class: RG10; Piece: 1919; Folio: 21; Page: 36; GSU roll: 830871

Each event can be a Birth, Death, Census, etc as entered against a particular Source (in this case the 1871 Census)

So, each time a Census event is created for an individual the Reference to the particular page is created - not change needed to the Source which in the case of UK Census is many pages in many volumes. Each individual page is covered by the Event entry as referenced (a Citation)

Hope that helps simplify your approach.

Nigel

ocs
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:33 pm

Re: Hierarchical source references?

Post by ocs » Mon Jun 03, 2024 6:30 pm

Thanks. I do apologise; most probably my non-native English is too poor to express myself correctly :(

I'll try again: my problem is with source refs to a multi-page source. With the plain-iFamily behaviour I can't see how to
  1. refer to different pages of the source and attach the appropriate page scan to each reference (there's no way at all, far as I know[1])
  2. refer to more different items in either different pages, or perhaps even in the same page of the same source, and attach a transcript to each reference ...
  3. ... do this with same reference for more different people (eg. someone's birth record: he needs a source ref in his BIRTH event; both his parents are mentioned in the birth record, so they both need the very same ref without an event[2]; often grandparents mentioned in there, ditto; RESI events mentioned in there — same people, but different events with a separate source refs —, etc) ...
  4. ... without cloning/duplicating the source ref notes (which might otherwise well contain the transcript), for later the transcript could be edited, and this should happen in one shared place, not in lots of different places.
[1] Aside of pretty wild contraptions like “storing a generated PDF containing all the referred pages as the source pic”, which would not work well anyway, and which seems to contradict the documentation (“This image is intended to be a picture of the Source itself, not the contents of the Source (unless it is a single page document). Each Source may only have one image”).

[2] This seriously differs from the indirect ref to the same source through the “child born” event. That is the source which mentions the children; this is (the same) source, which though mentions the (grand)parents. Not all do. Only those which do should be referred to from (grand)parent's card. For example
- a vital record transcribed “John Doe born 1. 1. 1880” should be referred only from John Doe's BIRTH event;
- contrariwise, a vital record transcribed “Jane Doe born 2. 2. 1880 to Franz Doe and Anne, born to Cecil Smith of Village No 17” needs to be referred from (at least) five different places: (i) Jane Doe's BIRTH event, (ii) Franz Doe's card, without an event, marked as “father”, (iii) Anne Doe/Smith' card, without an event, marked as “mother”, (iv) Cecil Smith' card, without an event, marked as “maternal grandmother”, (v) Cecil Smith' RESI event of 2. 2. 1880.

If I later find that I've read the record wrongly and it actually was Village No 15, I would have to edit the transcript in (at least) five different places (not speaking of the contents of the RESI event).

NigelRichman
Posts: 339
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:12 pm
Location: Cornwall, England

Re: Hierarchical source references?

Post by NigelRichman » Mon Jun 03, 2024 7:12 pm

Hi

Don’t worry about your English. It is fine.

I’m sure you are over complicating the multi page source.

Most sources are many pages & volumes.

The reference to a particular page is handled in the Event that links to the source.

For the example you gave where the page refers to the parents and grandparents is simply proof that you have the correct relationship for the individual. I would only link the document to the birth individual’s event.

The info in the child’s citations (the event) adds value to the parent / child relationship.

Keep it simple is the best approach.

Nigel

ocs
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:33 pm

Re: Hierarchical source references?

Post by ocs » Tue Jun 04, 2024 4:10 pm

NigelRichman wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 7:12 pm
Don’t worry about your English. It is fine.
Thanks!
I’m sure you are over complicating the multi page source.
Definitely, but without it I can't see a decent solution :(
Most sources are many pages & volumes.
The reference to a particular page is handled in the Event that links to the source.
Not quite, for there's
(i) absolutely no way I know of to add the page scan
(ii) problematic transcript — it can be written into the source reference notes, but then it needs to be dupped, and when edited later, one would have to edit all the cases the same way lest they get inconsistent.

Well meantime I've thought of another possible approach: I guess I can put all the transcripts of all the referenced pages to the source notes. Somewhat unwieldy, but definitely possible.

I still can't see where to put the page scans though?
For the example you gave where the page refers to the parents and grandparents is simply proof that you have the correct relationship for the individual. I would only link the document to the birth individual’s event.
Well I would rather like to see which source refers which people. This way I would not: the source does actually refer the parents and grandmother, but when I select that source in the source list, I won't see that. All I'll see is that it refers the child.
The info in the child’s citations (the event) adds value to the parent / child relationship.
It definitely does, but — as I, self evidently, not comprehensibly enough, tried to express above —, there are more different “values” all of which I would prefer to record (and the next year, when I forget it, to see) in iFamily, far as reasonably possible:
(a) the fact the child was born, as the source proves — this is perfectly seen through a sourced child citation
(b) the fact the child was born to these very parents — well this is a bit weaker, but still you can consider the sourced child citation the proper for this, all right
(c) extra information of the parents (and possibly grandparents) themselves, like their Christian names, the places where they lived, their occupation at the moment, and so forth. This all shares the very same source, but definitely is not covered by the child citation, and belongs elsewhere — to the (grand)parent's personal source list, to their RESI events, etc.
Keep it simple is the best approach.
Well I don't know. I did precisely that a couple years ago when I've researched my family for the first time; and today, when I am attempting to extend the family tree, my most usual problem is the weak sourcing: where did I get this or that information from? How reliable it is? Should I go through all the sources of all the grandchildrens? Or was it elsewhere?

What I would like to have is that in the Sources tab of a person lists all the sources which I ever found which refer that particular person (plus a note which information I've got from that source). Not that I might have to go to the children's children sources to check whether there's something of importance or not.

Thanks again and all the best!

NigelRichman
Posts: 339
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:12 pm
Location: Cornwall, England

Re: Hierarchical source references?

Post by NigelRichman » Sat Jun 08, 2024 10:37 am

Hi again,

I tried to write a reply a few days ago but the website requires a login (even though I was logged in) and deleted my post.

Anyway, I still think you are not using the Source correctly.

My understanding of the source is it is a reference to something that contains information but does not actually have that information associated with it.

That is the purpose of the Source Citation.

So, as an example, if you have a birth certificate for a person then the Source would be the body that produces the certificate - in my case that is the UK Government Records Office.

The Source citation would be the reference to the actual Birth record (usually a place, Volume, Page and quarter of the year) and that is recorded in the Notes section of the Birth Event.

If you have a physical copy of a certificate (or a PDF scan etc) then this would be saved into the Picture tab in iFamily for that person.

If you have a collection of family letters then the Source should be created as something like 'Family xxx letters 1900-1930' or 'Letters between xxx & yyy 1910 - 1945'

The Source citation would be some index to the individual letter with whatever relevant info you need to associate with the Event entered into the Notes section. Scan of that letter again would go in the Picture folder/tab.

Trying to have a Source for every individual letter, certificate etc would just be too hard to manage as you are describing.

The above is my interpretation of the Gedcom standard and how most applications I have tried seem to interpret Sources & Citations.

Having a picture associated with each Event might meet some of your issues but I would just suggest that the Note field be used to have a reference to any picture you have added so that it is clear what the Source Citation is. Name the image as 'Letter from xxx to yyy 13 June 1911 as required or if in a physical folder then the index to that.

Hope this helps explain what I have been saying.

Most of all, enjoy searching for the family history.

Nigel

ocs
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:33 pm

Re: Hierarchical source references?

Post by ocs » Sat Jun 08, 2024 4:31 pm

Thanks a lot!
NigelRichman wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2024 10:37 am
I tried to write a reply a few days ago but the website requires a login (even though I was logged in) and deleted my post.
Ouch!
Anyway, I still think you are not using the Source correctly.
I am pretty sure of that myself :) The problem is I can't find a way to do that :( Whatever I try leads either to ugly contraptions, or to weak sourcing :(
My understanding of the source is it is a reference to something that contains information but does not actually have that information associated with it.
Sounds good and makes sense, though I still think it would be better if the sources could actually associate the information (usually in the form of page scans).
That is the purpose of the Source Citation.
(At most places called Source Reference.)

Sounds good and makes sense, but for the problems with the information itself:
  1. far as I know, there's no decent place to store the actual source page scan if available (see please also below);
  2. subsequently, it is a bit awkward to find a good place for a transcript (again detailed below);
  3. and, there's no way to share one and the same reference/citation to more different places (different events, different people) — the only way I know of is to duplicate, sharing not possible.
[For] a birth certificate for a person ... If you have a physical copy of a certificate (or a PDF scan etc) then this would be saved into the Picture tab in iFamily for that person.
Indeed, with a birth (or death) certificate it is pretty straightforward. Not so clear with a marriage though; it belongs to two people, and it is a bit weird to have it for only one of them, though a convention “a husband always has the pic” is acceptable. Completely confusing with other kinds of sources tho: above, I've linked a directory page scan which contains RESI information for half a dozen people of interest. To which person should I save this picture? The first one of that list? Might change in future; at this moment the first person of interest happens to be Anna of No 13, but it is well possible further investigation adds Pavlina of No 11, too.

Also, how would I ref the page scan in all the source refs for all the RESI events of all the people? Should each of the source ref contain a note “See the pic XXX in Anna Jerie born 18XX page”? Ick.

Probably you say here “well then share the pic and add it to each person listed, iFamily supports that” and you'll be quite right, with a printed source like this it can be done and would work nicely.

Here we bump to the transcripts though. Handwritten sources need transcripts very badly, and the iFamily transcript functionality is really a nice help for that.

Only it does not support sharing either. If I share a pic betw. more different persons (and/or single-page sources), each of them has its own transcription associated, independent of all the other transcriptions. Does not make a good sense to me :(

I've got e.g., one marriage hand-written source item (part of a multi-page vital record source), which is very difficult to read, thus a transcript is a must; at this moment I believe the transcript says:

“11 Oct 1783; Jerge Wenceslaw honestus adolescent filius Nicolai rustici Matris Maria Kubatowa Catho., Mrklov 3, cum honesta [name missing] Virgine filia Caroli Nowotny Matris Marie Zelinkove, Mrklov 9”

(There's a bit more, e.g., the witnesses. At the moment I ignore them, but I should not, often other family members witness a marriage, and I should record this in iFamily, too. When/if ever I do in future, it would make the problems debated here considerably worse.)

Well now: where do I put this page scan and its transcript? Wenceslaw's person's Pictures? Can do that, but there's at least five other people and two RESI events who all need a source reference to the very same — shared, not duplicated — page scan with the same transcript (shared, not dupped, in case I find in future that I misread something and fix the transcript, or that I add those witnesses to the transcript, etc.) How do I source this to them all? Again, do I explicitly add to all those Source Reference Notes something like “See the pic XXX in Wenceslaw Jerge page”?

That would be notably awkward, especially here, where I do not even know when Wenceslaw was born, and thus it is difficult to make a unique reference; “the one Wenceslaw who married a girl Nowotny at 1783”? Quadruple ick!
[For] a collection of family letters ... Scan of [particular] letter again would go in the Picture folder/tab.
Same problem as above: the Picture folder/tab of whom? The letter author perhaps? Might not be known (not decipherable at the moment), might not be a person of interest at all (e.g., some unimportant salesman's letter sent to a family person).

And then, how to reasonably refer to this picture and its transcript from all the people and events the letter mentions (might well be dozens of them)?
Trying to have a Source for every individual letter, certificate etc would just be too hard to manage as you are describing.
Definitely. That's why I believe iFamily should support this natively: a Source would contain any number of Pages (which could be opened and listed only if needed, otherwise they would be hidden), each of which could contain a scan, URL, and transcript. Then, Source References/Citations would be able to link either to Source as a whole when appropriate, or to one of its Pages, or to one of the separate links in the page transcript (compare please here). Each of those would be shareable by any number of Source References, which is highly desirable.

Only it is not possible :(
The above is my interpretation of the Gedcom standard and how most applications I have tried seem to interpret Sources & Citations.
So far, I have used iFamily only. Nevertheless, people say other applications do allow Source Reference pictures at the very least (which would solve some, not all, debated problems).
Having a picture associated with each Event
Source Reference (which can be part of an Event), not Event itself.
... I would just suggest that the Note field be used to have a reference to any picture you have added so that it is clear what the Source Citation is.
That's what I do now; I am storing page scans and transcripts in a separate folder and refer to them by name. It is very unwieldy and inconvenient; e.g., this way I cannot use the slick transcript functionality at all; besides...
Name the image as 'Letter from xxx to yyy 13 June 1911 as required or if in a physical folder then the index to that.
... the names either need to be changed often (since e.g., at first I've misread both the sender's and receiver's names and only much later found the proper transcript, etc), or they might remain wrong, both of which is problematic and ugly :(
Most of all, enjoy searching for the family history.
Thanks a big lot, I do! (Though the current book of vital records I am searching is next to unreadable at many pages, which can be somewhat at the irritating side occasionally :))

All the best, OC

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