The source document reference number is just a numbering system I’m using to identify people and documents. It works for me, but I have a very small database (just hit 1,400 people!) and I do not see it expanding much beyond that. I don’t know if it would work so well with larger databases. I also file documents for each person (rather than by family or by document type).
There are definitely anomalies with it, but they’re (mostly) consistent (!), so again it seems to work.
The 8 digit document reference number is composed as follows:
- Leading letter derives from the (maiden) surname
- Next four digits are the number that has been assigned to the person (I keep a simple spreadsheet with this info and it ported from another program. The number is recorded against each person using the Reference Number fact)
- The next letter indicates the “grouping” that I’ve assigned to the class of document. A is for reports, B is for written biographies, C is for certificates / parish records / vital indexes, D is for directories, S is for census etc
- And the final 2 digits is the type of document – C01 is a birth certificate, C02 is a parish baptism record, S01 is 1841 England census, S02 is 1851 England census etc
So in the example above A0093C02 tells me the document is a parish baptism for Samuel Arnold (I actually mistyped the number when putting up the post!). A0093S03 would be the 1861 England census for Samuel Arnold.
The thinking behind it was that the media could be searched 2 ways – leading letter / numbers (“A0093”) would find all documents for Samuel Arnold, but if I searched for “C01” I would find all the birth certificates I have for everyone in the tree.
It also means in RM8 that I can confirm and link a document to a citation as they both have the same number. (The media tags in RM8 only specify the source, and not the citation, unless you click in to edit it when you can then see the citation name).
The number system was also brought in to save on the number of characters used in the media filename (I understand there is a limit of 256 so didn’t want to compromise this with a long media name). And I have 10 James Butler’s in my tree, all from the same area, so I needed a way to distinguish them! The reference number does this. I also use the reference number as a prefix to tasks / research folders etc too.
In having said that the citation name is repetitive – the document number already tells me what it is, but I have added the name, document type (that sort of derives from the source), date, and place, so I know I’ve correctly picked up the right one when reusing / copying the citation.
I must admit that like you I only find the source attached to a citation by going into the Edit Source area. But the 3 digit suffix (C01 etc) also tells me what sort of document it is and hence the likely source. This could be refined to provide more surety about the source, but so far I’ve found I’ve not needed to do this.
One thing I have found though is that if I run a “find everywhere” search of the reference number (A0093) I’ll find the person, tasks, and media but not the citation name. Seems “find everywhere” does not search and report this field. If it did, it would then provide the link back to the source! I’ve been meaning to put in an enhancement request covering this aspect.