I get asked a lot from people in the UK and Australia if Evidentia will work for them. The short answer is yes, but I understand the concern. Most of the sample templates for citations are based on Evidence Explained, and there is a bias in a lot of software developed in the US for…well…the US way of doing things. It is not that US software developers intend to be biased, its just that US practices and standards is all that some of us know. In fact if anyone knows of a standard for genealogy citations for records outside the US, please let me know – we would love to enhance our template offering.
Having said that, Evidentia is NOT just about citation formats, and most, if not all, of the concepts supported by Evidentia are universal – we are talking about documenting and organizing our research after all. Is there really an “American” versus “British” way of organizing?
Sure, our biscuits are in the breakfast food aisle and theirs are in the snack food aisle, but…wait what were we talking about? I digress.
Our friend Rod Deller in the Evidentia Google+ group suggested this weeks Evidentia Meets topic – a BMD from the UK. He even offered his father’s birth certificate for our example.
(I have been told a BMD is shorthand for the government Birth, Marriage, Death registry – yes, I had to ask 😉 )
Feel free to enlarge the image on the right as you follow along. Some of the handwriting can be a bit hard to read.
Citation for a UK Record
I have avoided working on citations in the Evidentia Meets series because I have wanted to focus on how to record claims and analysis. However, since we get so many request about how to cite non-US source, I thought I would stray from the path a bit to show how I would tackle this one.
I looked on the template list in Evidentia, using “U.K.” as a filter, and found a template that seemed like an obvious match. After conferring with the submitter, however, we determined that this template was created before we really fully understood what we were looking for, so I am going to work from scratch.
Can I use the same template I use for US records?
If this were a US Birth certificate, I would filter on “Vital” records. The template for Local Vital Records: Certificate is pretty simple, let’s see if it will work.
I made a best effort to match up fields in the certificate with fields in the form. After doing this, I understand the frustration of some users from the UK, since our terms differ. This is the result:
Is this a respectable citation? Could another researcher find this record with the information supplied? Certainly. Will others respect the academic diligence of this citation? I assume so, but I leave it to others to comment.
I agree, the template could be made more U.K. friendly. Having said that, let us move on.
This certificate is chock full of valuable information.
|This source claims that…|
|Reginald Charles [Deller] was born at 11:50 AM the Seventh of November, 1908 at 6 Rainville Road in Fulham, as reported by the mother E. L. Deller on December 18, 1908|
|the father of Reginald Charles [Deller] was John Deller, as reported by the mother E. L. Deller on December 18, 1908|
|the mother of Reginald Charles [Deller] was Emily Lavinia (Sheppard) Deller, as reported by the mother E. L. Deller on December 18, 1908|
|in November of 1908 John Deller worked as a general laborer|
What a benefit that the person reporting the information was recorded! All the information can be classified as Primary, since Emily had first hand knowledge of the birth of her son and the occupation of the father.
It should be noted that the source itself is Derived. Why? This certificate was create Oct 5, 1999 from a record originally recorded December 18, 1908. That introduces the possibility of a transcription error on the part of the person creating the certificate. Believe me, it happens. If this record conflicts with other, this should be noted in the analysis, since it could be a factor in the discrepancy.
I will round out this post with the evidence tags for the claims.
|This source claims that…||Subject/Claim Type|
|Reginald Charles [Deller] was born at 11:50 AM the Seventh of November, 1908 at 6 Rainville Road in Fulham, as reported by the mother E. L. Deller on December 18, 1908||Deller, Reginald Charles/Birth
Deller, Reginald Charles/Residence
Sheppard, Emily Lavinia/Residence
|the father of Reginald Charles [Deller] was John Deller, as reported by the mother E. L. Deller on December 18, 1908||Deller,Reginald Charles/Parent(s)
Sheppard, Emily Lavinia/Spouse
|the mother of Reginald Charles [Deller] was Emily Lavinia (Sheppard) Deller, as reported by the mother E. L. Deller on December 18, 1908||Deller,Reginald Charles/Parent(s)
Sheppard, Emily Lavinia/Child(ren)
|in November of 1908 John Deller worked as a general laborer||Deller, John/Occupation|
I almost missed tagging the implied spousal relationship between John and Emily, as well as the Residence evidence for all three. I could have listed residence as a separate claim since it is explicitly recorded as such in a separate column of the certificate. Evidence is evidence, so take your time.
Rod shared an interesting fact about this birth certificate I thought worth sharing.
This type of information is well worth noting in analysis.