After two years spent studying Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained, our group needed a break. We decided that there is no better way to discover all that The Master Genealogist (TMG) can do than to explore its powerful custom report writer. If you would like to participate in the Tri-Valley TMG User Group's adventures as we examine the best ways to input data to make full use of TMG's wide range of reporting possibilities, please feel free to comment and share your ideas.

The Tri-Valley TMG User Group is associated with the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society (L-AGS), and we meet in Pleasanton, California. Information on our meetings - location, date, time, and topic - is always available on the home page of the L-AGS web site. Our three-hour meetings are actually hands-on workshops in which up to fifteen computers are connected to a digital projector allowing customized personal assistance to attendees. In the past, the group has systematically studied Lee Hoffman's Getting the Most out of The Master Genealogist, Terry Reigel's A Primer for The Master Genealogist, and Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained.

For further details on the reports we create, please visit our website. The section dealing with TMG reports begins at the page, "Exploring TMG's Report Menu."

Start following our new blog, "The Continuing Adventures of the TV-TMG User Group." This will detail our 2014 project.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's Only a Hypothesis - Part Two (C)

What do you do when different sources provide different dates for the same event?

You might not know exactly what to enter in your TMG database when different sources provide different dates for the same event, but by this time, you should know that you don't want to say, "Eenie, meenie, minie, moe," and enter the result. If there is not enough evidence to come to a conclusion, then you cannot make that conclusion. Instead, enter the evidence, analyze it, and discuss the possible hypotheses. The date of birth for Emily August Rollins is one of my favorite every-source-says-a-different-thing situations.

Individual Detail Screen for Emily Augusta Rollins
There are five different dates of birth for Emily Augusta Rollins recorded in independently created original records. Affidavits, census records, and her tombstone do not agree with any one of these records. You cannot ignore any evidence, contradictory or not. All evidence must be analyzed individually and in correlation with all other evidence. That analysis must be written and recorded and any conclusion reached must be logically explained. Like the various -Candidate tags, the various -Alt[ernate] tags were created so long ago that they feel more like TMG standard tags rather than custom tags. My TMG database now includes the Birth-Alt, Burial-Alt, Death-Alt, and Marr-Alt tags to handle contradictory evidence relative to these life events. Each tag is part of the appropriate tag group, so each tag label can be changed if new evidence arises suggesting an -Alt tag should be "upgraded." Note the circled Comment tag. That's where my analysis is entered.

Birth tag entry screen showing customized sentence structure
Don't depend on TMG's default sentence structure to handle contradictory or qualified sentences. This screen shows the sentence resulting from the customized sentence structure. Remember, custom sentences are not changed if you edit your default sentence structure for a given tag.

Excel table summarizing birth evidence
The Excel table shown here summarizes all the birth evidence found to date on Emily Augusta Rollins. The file is linked to her Birth event tag. Although this table must be manually inserted in a report, it's at hand any time I want to review or update the evidence.

Journal report showing analysis comment and inserted table
It's important to share the results of our research with family members and other researchers, but once we've done so, we've lost control of that research. The best way to retain some measure of control over the accuracy and quality of that research, especially when it includes information of a hypothetical, contradictory, or inconclusive nature, is to share that research in narrative format only. Shown here is a first draft report with the summary table inserted. The commentary is source-cited, thanks to TMG's embedded citation feature.

Family group sheet report showing inclusion of -Alt tags
If you choose to publish abbreviated reports, like family group sheets, or send GEDCOM files (No! No! No!), make sure those reports include all -Alt tags and other qualifiers. TMG does export this information in appropriately designed GEDCOM exports, but I don't know how other genealogy programs handle the import. Also note that only the primary birth, death, and marriage tags are printed in pedigree charts.

Continue with "It's Not a Hypothesis - It's Wrong!"

No comments:

Post a Comment