Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 1: Analysis & Citation,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-1-analysis-citation : accessed 06 Mar 2016)
Well DearMYRTLE has us working again. This time using Elizabeth Shown Mills, QuickLessons on the evidenceexplaind.com website.
I really enjoyed reading and studying what this quick lesson has to say. Analyzing of what I am looking at, then crafting a Citation.
IF I don’t spend the early stages in looking at a document, trying to address these two questions Up Front, I may be going in a direction that I really do want to go, at this moment.
In order for me to craft that Citation, I find that I have to understand 1) What exactly, am I looking at, and 2) Where did I get it from. Some where along the way, I learned to read the details about the Record group that I have a record from. I quickly determine IF that record will answer my Genealogical Question at hand.
The “WHAT” might include an Index, a derivative from an online database, or is there an image to actually look at myself.
The “WHERE” did I get it from, is probably the easy answer. Much of the records I look at are from an Online website, ‘cause I can do that from home. It the What is an image, that may be good enough, but the other two, Index or a Derivative I may want to know where that website got their information from. How far away from the actual record am I.
When I start looking and analyzing what I am looking at, I take the time to determine WHAT Claims will that record provide me and will it help me answer the question I am researching. That detailed description, usually at the bottom of the page will help me what I may find, it may or may not be about my specific person, but the record might have the information to answer the information or a lead to where that answer might me.
In studying this QuickLesson and thinking about how I research, I actually have several steps of analysis in my research process. I have been doing this for years, but never thought out it until I tried to study this lesson.
I do most of my record research from Shaky Leaf Hints. Sorry, if that raises any red flags or “no-no” reaction, but I do. I let my software AND my online database do some work for me, in fact a lot of work. Yes, they will give me the “low hanging fruit” or that 10% of information that is “online” but, you know what, I’ll take it.
I have a way to manage these record groups. If I have been there before, I open my Genealogy Tool Box and see what notes I might have about the record group that that leaf is presenting to me. I may have already seen and analyzed this collection before so I remind myself what I thought about the record before. If not, I spend time with the complete description of that record.
Because of how these details are presented, I can capture the pieces of information that I will need for crafting that citation. I can do that hard part up front. Oh, if I have already have a write up on this, I will already have the basis for a citation.
Now, what do I do what that hint. I use my genealogy database management program help be bring that information in, one piece at a time. That Process, there, presents me what I have in my database and what information has been transcribed from that record.
My software and online hints did their analysis, now I did my analysis. If there is an Image, before I go forward, I look at that image to make sure that the transcription is correct. Understanding that the transcription is for my benefit, but for what the shaky leaf hint is looking for to get me to look closer. Looking at the Image, myself, then puts the real burden on me.
Studying this QuickLesson suggests to me that my 3 level of analysis works for me. That Hint, the Transcription, and the actual document are the three levels that I use.
I am working on a project, for a presentation, that will allow me to analyze and document how good these Shaky Leaf Hints are. On the database I am working on, I have a better than 95% accuracy rate for those hints. I won’t say it’s higher, only because I don’t have enough data, but it proving to me that this process of Analysis of the information that I use is good information. Here is a brief study:
- 243 Hints Presented
- 112 Records Used
- 12 Hints went away because of the records used
- 8 Record Hints that I intentionally ignored
- 5 Records were for the wrong person
As I calculate the usefulness of using this process I have a 95.7% good results. I still have 100 to go, and 5 hints that are at the bottom of my priority list. I think that is a pretty good use of my time. And, 44 of the 112 records were from State or Federal Census Records, where many people in the database had claims in those records. Not bad for a database of under 200 individuals (5 generations, plus a few extra people).
Not to miss a point n the QuickLesson, I do have a number of items on my ToDo list to follow up on. I am sure that some of those items will get me to go below the water line to find the answer to my question. But I can go after that information with a larger database of information to go find THE answer to my question.