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Evidentia Experiment – Progress Report #3

I have a confession to make – I got stuck.

I let the creation of ONE citation intimidate me and set aside my effort.

Last week I posted in the Google+ group:

I have a copy of my Dad’s birth certificate. It’s a document in his personal possession. Do I reference it as coming from the RI Dept of Health, or from my Father’s “private collection”, or something else?

I got some great suggestions, and a reference to an excellent article on Layered Citations.. But Evidentia doesn’t have any shortcuts for Layered Citations, and its sounded like a lot of work.

Evidentia is NOT a Citation Tool

When I hear someone say the Evidentia is a Citation tool at a convention, I have to put on my poker face. Yes, Evidentia INCLUDES a citation tool, and we have made citation creation a mandatory part of the process, but citation creation is not the reason to use Evidentia.

Citation creation should not get in the way – we want to do it right, but we shouldn’t let it stop us from our goals.

Getting Out of My Own Way

end-44178_640I chose not to do a layered citation in this case. The reason was that I do not know the provenance of the record in my father’s possession, except for what I can extract from the record itself. I chose to do a very simple birth certificate citation, noting it was in my father’s private collection.

A citation should help another researcher validate your work, but that doesn’t mean that my goal is to research the history of every document I use. You may disagree, but in this case I was using a document that is relatively trustworthy to validate facts that not being contested. If there were conflicts to be addressed, I might feel differently, but my father is still alive, I grew up knowing his parents and sister, and my REAL goal was just to solidify the evidence.

Moving On

So where are we? I have documented myself and my parents. I have documented my paternal grandparents, and I am currently working on my maternal grandparents. Once I finish that I will import what I have into RootsMagic, before moving on to generation 4.

Getting stuck was not the only reason I slowed down – I am also hip deep in developing the next version of the program, so please bear with me.


Hopefully you can learn something from my mistake – don’t let citations get in your way. Take your best shot, then move on to the REAL reason you are using Evidentia – to organize your information and analyze your data!

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  1. I would give the civil repository because if you are creating this trail for others, they will not have access to your father’s personal file. If you could list more than one repository, then you don’t have to choose.

  2. When I saw your post in the community, I didn’t realize you are doing this. I enjoyed reading up the series, and I like your method. I tried doing this about 18 months ago and got completely derailed when I got to a school report that my brother wrote about my grandfather’s life after interviewing him. I got overwhelmed with information and haven’t gone back to the project. (I know.)

    I wanted to document every source I had for each person, and since I started with the people for whom I have the most sources I quickly decided the project was going to have to wait until I had more time or I would never get past my grandparents. Limiting the sources for each person is a great way for me to get started again. I’ll be watching these posts with interest. Thanks for sharing!

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