Thursday, November 10, 2011

Civil War Pension - Blog Response

This is in response to a Blog post by my friend Randy Seaver:

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 22: Creating a Civil War Pension File Source

This is part of a series of blog posts in an effort to help us understand how to use FTM2012. As you may know, it has been frustrating at times, and in the area of Source / Citations, I would guess frustrating isn't the right word.

Here is my take on this topic of dealing with Civil War files and not in response to Randy's very fine Blog.

In another Blog, not on Family Tree Maker, I told of my search for a Civil War hero using the Inferential Genealogy that Dr. Thomas Jones has described are conferences and in a video series on Family Search.

I am not sure that there is a right way, nor a wrong way of recording what we find on any of our Ancestors, especially our Hero's. I am only going to talk about how I do some of this recording.

We, as users, will have our own ways of doing this recording of information. I ask myself:

  • What Facts do I want to use AND Why? 
  • What does out data look like on Output?
With all of our choices what makes sense.

  • What do I want to capture?
  • What do I want to Share?
Having been working on a couple of Civil War soldiers, I thought about the questions above.

The limitless number of Facts that we have, and that we can have "Alt" Facts, or the multiple Facts that we can have, what makes sense for reports for myself and what might I want to share with others. There are some limitations, but what information do I want to use for my analysis and what do I need to try to tell the story of this hero.

I tend to record "just the facts" and where I found the Facts. I have a gentlemen in my file with 20 pages of Civil War Records, another with 30. So I captured his Civil War Journey, in fact I am still adding facts for the Military Service Fact. I am working on a timeline for his unit, with dates and places of battles that his unit participated in. All of that to say, that I use the Military Service Fact for the information from his Civil War records with one Source, a number of Citations, referring to pages within that record.

I consider the Military Service Fact for my information in helping me try to put the story together. The SmartStory feature I will probably use, and have used in the base. But the Notes Section for the person is where most of the story will be documented.

Here is a link to an earlier post for a Revolutionary War Hero.

Family Tree Maker 2011 - Smart Stories

Oh, but the Notes do not allow for Citations. But, what I do is to type in a Citation, that makes sense to me, and not in the Evidence Explained! format, but enough information. For example:

First and Second Maryland Infantry
Muster Rolls
Page 444


Pvt. Co. A, 2nd Md. Inf. b. 1844. Res. of Baltimore. Enl. Richmond 8/21/62 age 18. WIA (flesh wound to thigh) Gettysburg 7/3/63. Paid 7/17/63. Ab. wounded in Charlottesville hospital 8/14-17/63. Transf. Richmond hospital. Returned to duty 9/63. Paid 1/11/64. Present 3/31/64. WIA (upper portion of right thigh amputated) Weldon R.T. 8/19/65. Ab. wounded in Richmond hospital 8/21/64. Retired to Invalid Corps 12/24/64. Paroled Charlottesville 5/1/65. Member, Army & Navy Society, Maryland Line Association 1910, res of Baltimore. d. 12/23/27. Bur. Green Mount Cem. Brother of James McHenry Howard, 1st Md. Inf.

I already have a Citation for this document, for each of the facts that I took from the above paragraph. I normally will show these Notes when I share my research. If I were to generate a report, I would only reflect the Preferred Facts and not all of the Facts that I have collected. I think that the reader of the report is not as interested in how many Military Service Facts I have, but only the Preferred Fact which is

Bet 21 Aug 1862 - 01 May 1965 - 1st Maryland Infantry - CSA

The above documented summary is exactly the information that I found in the 20 pages from his Civil War Records. In fact, I am still inputting that data.

Back to my questions:
  • What Facts do I want to use AND Why? 
  • What does out data look like on Output?
The basic, normal facts that the reader can understand, using the Clearest and Preferred Fact and the Notes. I know which Facts help me with research but don't display all of the Alt Facts that I have. Those facts help be determine the Preferred Facts. I am also concerned about the reader.

In reality, I would put this information into a book on this Hero, using the Book feature of Family Tree Maker and would include a Bibliography. I doing usually include EndNotes in reports, but in the Book feature, I have a statement that if the reader would like the EndNotes, I can generate that, because I understand the need for them. But, my family really doesn't care. They want the Story, not how I got the Story.

To show the Timeline of his Military Service, this is what is in FTM2012:

Each of these facts have Citations.

Copyright © 2011 by H R Worthington

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