Dear Ancestry Insider,
Although I have years of experience with the old FamilySearch, I'm using the new one for the first time. I am getting two nearly identical results for what I presume to be the same records, except for the batch and source film numbers. Why? How do I cite these?
This has happened a number of times in the Virginia Marriages and Virginia Births and Deaths databases. For example, J.H. Holland/S.J. Stringfield marriage in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 3 March 1898.
One result shows groom's father's name as Ed, the other Elwin. Batch and source film numbers are different. Why?
I'm awfully spoiled being able to contribute corrections to Ancestry's database, can that be done at FamilySearch too?
Robin in Short Pump
Dear Sensible Shoe Robin,
Here are the two results in question, with the differences highlighted:
Why Two Results?
Why is Some Info Different?
Information passes through different hands along the way from record to ourselves. This is called information provenance. It works much like chain of evidence that you hear about in cop shows.
These two records have batch numbers. That means they were indexed by FamilySearch volunteers. Because there are two different batch numbers, there were two different projects. The system origin is Virginia-EASy. EASy was the Extraction Administration System used before FamilySearch Indexing.
These records have a film number. That makes it easy to find out where the information came from. The film numbers are different, so the information might have come from different records. The possibility also exists that the same record was filmed twice.
- Can you think of what you might do to further understand the information provenance of these two records?
How are They Cited?
There’s something we should do before thinking about citing these records.
- Are these original or derivative sources?
- Which provides stronger evidence, an image copy or a textual derivative?
- Why is it a very bad idea to cite these sources?
As you can tell from that last question, we won’t be figuring out how to cite these records.
Can a User Contribute Corrections?
Sadly, no. I understand that FamilySearch has this on their roadmap.
After you and your capable co-readers have had a chance to respond, we can review the answers together. Feel free to post comments with your answers. (Scroll to the bottom of this article and click “Comments.”) Don’t send me e-mail; I ignore it.