Become a Better Researcher

Our research problems are unique and our genealogy software, to be useful, must be flexible enough to match our respective problems and our respective methods. The Master Genealogist is that software, but power and flexibility has a down side. The more options a program has, the more decisions the user must make. This year, the Tri-Valley TMG User Group will explore those options and make some of those personal decisions. Would you like to play along with us? Do each month's assignment, and if you like, e-mail it to us at: We'll post some of the completed assignments on this blog each month. Let's hear it for choices!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Recapping Our October Meeting - Part Two

Reviewing our finished citation (compare to EE QuickCheck Model, p. 111, "Private Holdings: Legal Document, Unrecorded Family Copy"):

James T. Grasshopper (originally known as Jiminy Cricket), "Declaration of Legal Name Change," 28 June 1954, Grassy Meadows Co., California, Hildegarde A. Turtle, Notary; original family copy, privately held by Joanna (Grasshopper) Bluebird, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Shady Oak, California, 2015. Ms. Bluebird is the daughter of James T. Grasshopper, and inherited his papers upon his death in 2010.

These are the "source elements" I see in this citation: 1) Author or Creator, 2) Title or Record type, 3) Date created, 4) Place created, 5) Additional description; 6) Format, 7) Repository, 8) Repository address, 11) Date held; 10) Provenance. Mills also includes additional information between our "Format" and "Repository": a collection or filing name.
  • At last, it's time to check our templates to see if we already have one that would fit this citation. Those TV-TMG source types that refer to privately owned material include: TVTMG Artifact (Privately owned), TVTMG Family Bible, and TVTMG Letter (Historic-Privately Held), Several of these come close, but they don't quite fit some of our elements.
  • How about the source types included in TMG? None of them fit any better, so maybe we should create our own custom source type template for those records we're going to call "Family Documents (Privately owned)."

Customizing a Source Type Template

  1. Start with the source type closest to the desired output. In this instance, that's the TVTMG Artifact template. Highlight that source type and Copy it.
  2. Rename it as desired. Here, we'll call it Family Documents (Privately owned) QCM 111. (QCM 111 identifies the EE example on which we base a source type template.)
  3. If you feel confident, you can simply edit the source type here in the TMG Source Types list. We're going to use an alternative approach that allows more experimentation.
  4. Save the renamed source type. Then, open the Master Source List and Add the new source, our legal name change document.
  5. Select the newly created source type (yes, I know it might need some editing, but we'll take care of that later), and begin adding the desired information. What elements are missing? What problems arise?
  6. As you add information on the Source Definition Screen's General tab, flip back to the Output form tab and preview each output.
  • Our output isn't happy with our parenthetical name. Since we're unlikely to have a lot of creators requiring this, we may need to think of an alternate place in the citation for this information.
  • The [RECORD TYPE] should be preceded by a comma. We've actually used the document title, enclosed in quotation marks, for this citation. Maybe we should add the [TITLE] to the source type template? (I decided to include the [TITLE], and surrounded it with quotation marks. This way, we can use this template for more generic records, as well as those with exact titles.)
    • Add the new source element, word constant, or punctuation in the appropriate place in each output window. There should be no element group conflict with the [TITLE] source element, so it's safe to add. Note that (Overridden) now appears below the output window label.
    • Return to the General tab; enter the title of the document (Declaration of Legal Name Change); return to the Output form and preview the result.
  • Rather than [INCLUSIVE DATES], maybe we should just use a [DATE] element? (Your call. I changed my [INCLUSIVE DATES] to [DATE].)
    • To delete a source element from the source type, go to the Output form tab and delete the element and its associated punctuation from each output window.
    • Note that this does not delete any information already entered on the General tab. Update your General tab information, remembering to delete that information from the to-be-deleted source element field. When you save, close, and reopen your Master Source, you will see that the deleted element label no longer appears on the General tab.
  • We don't include a location element in this template. Add one?
  • In this source type, [DESCRIPTION] is the element used to describe the record's format and whether or not it was privately held. That works here. Since this template could be specific to privately owned material, the word "privately" could be added to the output form as a word constant.
  • The source type's [REPOSITORY], [REPOSITORY MEMO2], and [YEAR OWNED] elements work perfectly for this citation.
  • The [COMMENTS] field on the Supplemental tab is a perfect place for the provenance.
  • What do we do about our parenthetical a.k.a. information? (I rewrote it and added it at the end of the document description information, following the name of the notary.)
  • What do we do about that extra additional description? (I found that the element [RECORD INFO] was available, so I used it for all additional descriptive material that wasn't easily labeled.]
Tip: Click on one of the blank field name boxes. This brings up a list of available source elements. This is a great way to avoid choosing a source element from a group that is already included in the source type template - and get ideas for appropriate source elements.
  • As you add a source element with its information to the Source Definition's General tab, add the same source element in the appropriate place in the Output form tab. You are overriding the template, but that's okay.
  • When the citation reads as you want, it's time to copy each output form template (Full footnote, Short footnote, Bibliography) into the new custom Source Type (TVTMG Family Documents), thus completing the creation of that new Source Type. After all, you don't want to redo all this editing every time you choose to use this custom source type!
    • Copy each output form and paste it into Windows' Notepad application. Then, open the Source Types list, scroll to the "TVTMG Family Documents" source type, click Edit, and paste each new output form into its proper place.
  • Finally, edit the custom Source Type's reminder area so you will know what information fits in what element field. It's a good idea to include an example citation.
  • Click OK. You've created your new Custom Source Type.
Want to see screen shots? Continue to Part Three.

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