Friday, November 9, 2012

Citing as you Go --- What about Email?

Just before Hurricane Sandy hit, my friend, YOUR Friend in Genealogy, Dear MYRTLE posted this Citing as you go. 

Spending time keeping my family safe, keeping warm, and trying to access the internet took up my time, but I did want to address this issue.

I have been working on a project that has used email more that I have used it in the past. In this case, this project is for a Presentation that I have been working on, BUT, for several reasons, decided to run the project with Family Tree Maker for the Mac (FTMM-2).

What was important to me, was to have the 'data' from the Email's within FTMM-2, as the presentation will be run from my Mac. I wanted the content of these emails with me, and not relying on my email account to access the data. I also wanted to Cite information that might be of use in the file, to compliment or dispute or help resolve issues that are addressed in the email.

The data in the file is all mine, completely documented, but the start of the file came through email and a document attached to one of the emails. Each piece of data that came from that attachment is cited, and since it was attached to an email, I wanted to Cite the emails as well as to have the cited emails in the file.

The screen captures are from FTMM-2, so they may look a little different from the normal screen captures.

I also wanted them to be in the Evidence Explained !! format when End Notes are generated.

The appropriate Template is found by going to the Sources Workspace, clicking on Add (right side of the screen, just below the Workspace menu bar, selecting New when the Add Source Citation screen opens, and enter EMA (for email) as the Keyword. That will offer the Personal E-mail template.

It Source Template: (Personal E-mail) has the following fields to be filled out:
  • Collection
  • Researcher Surname
  • Researcher Forename(s)
  • Researcher E-mail Address
  • Researcher Address
  • Researcher Address
  • Writer Surname
  • Writer Forename(s)
  • Writer Address
  • Writer Location
  • Writer Contact
  • Recipient Surname
  • Recipient  Forenme(s)
  • Comments
Because this is live data, and I prefer not to include the details that are in the various fields, it will explain what the terms mean to me.

Collection: I used the name of the Project as the Collection Name. It could be a Surname, but for this, I named the collection with a Project Name.

The Researcher is me, the "Writer" is the person who sent me the email. If multiple people were involved with emails, the collection would remain the same, but the Writer would be different. The Recipient, would be me as well.

All of the contact information is in the Source Screen.

What I chose to do, was to create Citations for the Subject Line of the Email. This includes any Replies to that subject line.. That is the Citation Detail entery. The Citation Text, I used "thread started" with the date.

The resulting Reference Notes (End Notes for reports) are clear.

The Source, is the Email Template entry, and the various Email's are the Citations in the Center Panel. There are links to each Fact that I picked up in that Email. In this specific case, it is the Attachment to an Email, so a number of Facts are linked to that document.

Again, because of the nature of the data, the Reference Note is not very easy to read. But, the information is correct and in the Evidence Explained!! format.

Each of the email (threads, first message and the replies) are listed by the Subject line of the email.

The next piece that is important to me, is the Text of these email threads. It was a matter of Copying the Text of each Email, Header information included (header information would include the email addresses and the date time of the email) as well as the text.

Below is what that looks like.

This example has the Subject and the date the thread of emails started, and in the Notes Tab for that Citation is the text of the first and follow up emails with that subject line.

Most of the emails do not have links to any Facts, but several do. For example: The Name fact, in many cases, were spelled differently. Several of these emails helped identify why the name was different. A specific example was that a Census Record "assumed" that two children carried the head of household's surname. When in fact, the head of household was NOT these two children. I have to rely on the family Expert, who had different sources and access to sources that are not online. The family expert has documented for me, the correct surname for these two children.

This conflict of surnames, is a To Do or Task List item for these two children for ME to find the appropriate documentation IF they exist online some where.

This is how I Cite as I go, with Email as the Source of some of the data in my file.


Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington

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