[APG Public List] Online death certificate - citation help

eshown at comcast.net eshown at comcast.net
Fri May 7 21:17:12 MDT 2010

Susan also wrote:
>I would also like to know when one would use the phrase "imaged from" and
when one would use the word "citing" in the credit line.
Susan, using the Ancestry QuickSheet that you have at hand, look at the
following examples (Reference Note style).  I'll underscore the key words
that you question.
     1.   "Hamburg Passagierlisten, 1850-1934," database, Ancestry.com (
<http://www.ancestry.com> http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 January
2009), entry for Bertha Wetzel, aboard Pickhuben, Hamburg to Montreal,
leaving 14 April 1894; citing Bestand [inventory no.] 373-71, VIII, A1
(Auswanderungsamt I [Emigration List-Indirect]), Band [vol.] 087 A;
Staatsarchiv Hamburg microfilm series K1701-K2008, S13116-S13183, and
     2.  "California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1893-1957," digital images,
Ancestry.com ( <http://www.ancestry.com> http://www.ancestry.com : accessed
22 January 2009), manifest, R.M.S. Makura, Sydney, Australia, to San
Francisco, arriving 16 January 1931, p. 1, Albert Dion Barr-Smith; citing
National Archives microfilm publications A3408, A3419, A3361, M1388, M1410,
M1411, M1412, M1416, M1438, M1439, M1494, and M1852; exact publication and
roll not cited for individual images. 
These are typical situations. In both cases, Ancestry gives us a generic
citation to several batches of film and we have no idea what comes from
what. All we can do is cite what Ancestry provides. 
But, sometimes, Ancestry adds a wrinkle: what it cites is not what it used
for imaging, as illustrated by this example from the QuickSheet.
      1.  "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital images,
Ancestry.com ( <http://www.ancestry.com> http://www.ancestry.com : accessed
22 January 2009), card for Clovis Julian, no. 120, New Orleans Draft Board
13; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards,
1917-1918, National Archives microfilm publication M1509, imaged from Family
History Library film roll 1684926.
Here, we have both of the phrases that you questioned. After identifying the
record we eyeballed, in image form, we add Ancestry's citation---again
incomplete. However, Ancestry's i.d. of its source carries a madly waving
red flag that thoughtful users should recognize. 
Ancestry's online citation actually refers us to NARA's M1509, roll
1684926---but NARA has no microfilm publication that contains 1,684,926
rolls. M1509 has 4,582 rolls. Ancestry does not tell us which of the 4,582
rolls this draft card appears on. Instead, Ancestry gives us the FHL roll
number. In our own citation, we can't just cite the NARA film title, the
NARA publication number, and then switch to FHL's roll number, without an
explanation. We either have to cite the NARA roll number to go with the NARA
publication number, or else we have to introduce the fact that the only roll
number provided by Ancestry is for the FHL film that it imaged.
Incidentally, at the time the QuickSheet was prepared, Ancestry's citation
for this collection did not mention FHL at all. It did indeed cite the NARA
title, the NARA film pub number, and then (silently) switched to the FHL
roll number that didn't fit the NARA film. I zapped a note off to Suzanne
Russo, at Ancestry's ProDesk, and she saw to it that the FHL notation was
added. (Caveat: They have not added the correct NARA film numbers, due to
the logistics of going back and matching each NARA roll number to the FHL
roll number in all 4,582 cases.  But at least they now tell us that it is
FHL film, so we can use the FHL catalog to identify the NARA description of
content and then use that data to i.d. the NARA roll number via NARA's
online microfilm catalog.)
Bottom line to the last paragraph: When we catch a misidentification with
Ancestry's citations, if we'll call it to their attention, they do try to
fix it in some way.  
Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
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