RM 9 - Citation - reuse versus copy

I like to create one ‘citation’ and then memorize/paste on a fact and OFTEN add information into the detail comments that is not in the original citation I memorized. For example: fact OBITUARY has the entire information about the OBITUARY (research notes has the transcribed obit) - and the detail comment is blank. I then memorize the citation and paste (say) as a PERSON citation and then in the detail comments have something like: ‘Name John Jones in obituary of mother Linda Jones’.

If I choose ‘reuse’ the citation and then I add a detail comment it CHANGES the detail comment in the original citation. If I choose ‘make a copy’ and add a detail comment, it doesn’t change the original. The problem is that now I have multiple copies of the citation where the only difference is the detail comment.

What I’d like is that there be one citation with multiple uses, AND the detail comment can be different for each use. Is this possible?


That’s not possible in the current design of reusable citations. To get the effect you desire, you would need to move all the reusable data up into the Master Source and leave the non-reusable data in the Source Detail so that the non-reusable data could be in separate citations.

Well, that’s not possible for me. My master source in this case is Newspapers.com. The citation is the specific newspaper information.

However, if I move the transcribed obituary from research notes to detail comment and instead put the specific detail in the research notes that seems to hold. Seems counter-intuitive to me. Detail should be the specific detail for the fact (in my view), but I can work with this… other than having to go back and fix everything I’ve done so far. Good thing this is a small RM9 working database. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you.

Well, I spoke too soon. That doesn’t work either. Guess I’ll just have to have multiples of the same citation.

There’s a parallel in Media tagging. With RM4, we could have a caption and description for every tag. In RM5, that was moved up to the media which meant you had to add the media over and over to support the different captions. It had the virtue that if all you wanted was the same caption then you had only to add the media and its caption once and they would appear at every ‘use’. What should have been done was something like customising a fact sentence. At every instance of a fact, you can override the sentence generated by the Fact Type with a custom sentence for just that instance. As of RM8, that ability to override has been added to Citations for sentences but not Notes (the latter is fine, as is). To accomplish your goal, an override of the Citation Notes needs to be added to ‘uses’. Or, you need to follow Jerry’s practice of extreme splitting of sources to give you the granularity you want at the Citation level.

Here is how that would work for your situation. I doubt you will like it, but I will describe it anyway because it would give you the level of granularity you seek.

  • Your Master Sources would include newspapapers.com and all the specific newspaper information. You would end up with a gazillion Master Sources. But managing a gazillion Master Sources in RM8 and RM9 is much easier than it was in RM7 because of the new search boxes for the Source list.
  • Your Research Notes or your Detail Comments field either one could contain the specific detail that you desire for every Paste of what is otherwise the same citation.

I was catching up on reading this thread with interest and I saw how you had apparently solved your problem by moving your specific detail from the Research Notes to the Detail Comments. I was puzzled because I knew that wouldn’t work. Then I saw your follow-up message where you also had discovered it wouldn’t work. :grinning:

The RM8 and RM9 data model for sources and citations now has three levels.

  • Level #1 is the Master Source (AKA Source). It can contain data.
  • Level #2 is the Source Detail (AKA Citation). It can contain data.
  • Level #3 is the links between Level #2 and your items in RM that can have citations such as people, families, facts, and names. With one exception, Level #3 contains no data at all. It is just the links. So it contains no place to contain your specific detail. That leaves nowhere else to put your specific detail except at Level #2.
  • The one piece of data that Level #3 does contain is the Quality indicators for a citation. That’s because the the Quality of a citation can depend on what it is a citation for. A death certificate citation for a Death fact is usually of higher quality than is the same death certificate citation for a Birth fact,

Here is a final comment. I understand the need for the same piece of information to look different when applied to different people. For example, a Census fact for a given census year looks a little different in my reports for each family member even though the information comes from the same census page. But I guess I don’t understand the need for the citation to be any different for each family member. One of my census citations will include a full transcription of the whole family and an image of the full census page. That same citation will be applied to the Census fact for each family member and sometimes to other facts for some of the family members such as Birth facts and Marriage facts. I don’t quite see the need to change the citation for each family member.

For example, here follows a link to a Web page containing a presentation of my RM data for one particular person. Compare the Census facts with the associated citations. The citation superscripts are hyperlinks to the citations.

Sample Web Page with Data from RM

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Thank you for the detailed information. I’m going to read through it a couple of times and try it to see if that will do what I want which is really one master source. I really didn’t like looking at the sources and seeing detailed newspapers.com sources for each obituary, marriage etc.

That’s why I didn’t think you would like the approach I use. I only went to the approach I use because RM7 and its predecessors did not support reusable citations. RM8 and RM9 do support reusable citations, but for the time being I’m still using the same approach in RM8 and RM9 that I was using in RM7. I may eventually change, but I haven’t changed just yet.

I will probably play around with it some more to see if I can get something I like with the reusable format. I am using a database that I only had on ancestry when I was trying to determine my cousins birth parents. It’s not a huge database, so it is good for learning RM9.

Jerry - I don’t think I ever answered why I like to have more specific detail. It is really just for me. I still have much of my research in (paper) notebooks (pending eventually scanning to my computer). If I have certain transcribed information, I don’t have to go find/look the specific document unless I REALLY have to (and sometimes I do).

I also like to be able to see what I transcribed from the document. In the example of an obituary, if I attach the citation to a person mentioned in the obituary as opposed to the actual person I like to know the name/relationship (why I attached). Same for census information as many times there are other family members. Also, in the census, many times the name doesn’t exactly match the known persons name. I don’t like to put the in the notes, although I suppose I could and also include the citation it is associated with.

I like the RM9 source list where I can click the arrow on the right and see the citations under the master source and go right to the person in the source. So I think I can live with that.

Newspapers.com is not a source. It is a repository. The published newspaper is the source found at Newspapers.com.

Each newspaper is a source with detail of date and page. Then you can use the same newspaper source for more than one article and edition.

By the way, Ancestry.Com is not an author. It never wrote anything. It is a repository.

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Thank you for the clarification.

Unless you are using indexes only that they created, that have no images.

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I agree that Ancestry is the author of their indexes.

I always try to get images, whether it be via download from online collections or from microfilm or from whatever. But sometimes, I run into brick walls where all I can find is an index. For example, when I first started doing genealogy, I often had to use marriage indexes and death indexes in published, bound books I found at the library because nothing was online and the library didn’t have all the microfilm I needed.

These indexes were certainly authored, and that author was really the only source I had. Presumably, the author had access to the actual images, but I didn’t. It seems to me that the Ancestry indexes are no different. They are not ideal sources, but sources they are - namely, authored sources.

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Yes, I have to admit I was over-simplifying. I’m not sure indexes can be copyrighted because they are not original work, and an index is not a source very often because it is short on the detail to prove the topic or a “close to the event” report, as you noted.

When I first started I used an old version of FTM and for whatever reason I thought I needed to record the details of the source that was applicable to the particular person. When I moved to RM I realized that I was spending a lot of time transcribing individual notes that would have been helpful to me when I was looking at another family member. In an effort to cut down on my data entry I went with the idea that Jerry shows in his 1940 Census and obituary where the whole source detail is listed. This can then be easily pasted to all involved person.
Question to Jerry, why didn’t you do the same for Census 1920 & 1930?

In the case of census, each of my citations corresponds to a single census page. I transcribe only the family or families that are on that page. The example I shared with the 1920, 1930, and 1940 censuses only had a single family on each census page for which I had made a transcription. But I do have census pages where the transcription includes two or three or four families. In the citation itself, the transcription has all the members of the family. You can see that practice in effect for the 1920 census, the 1930 census, and the 1940 census if you look at the bottom of the page for the transcriptions. The transcriptions in the citations that include Arville Ailey include the whole family for all three census years.

In the census facts, it’s only the individual person that is transcribed for each fact, except that the census fact for the head of household has the transcription for the whole family. Maybe that’s what you are talking about. In the 1920 and 1930 census facts for Arville Ailey, he was the son of his father and Arville is the only person listed in the census fact. In the 1940 census fact for Arville Ailey, he was now married and head of household and so his 1940 census fact has the whole family. But the citations for 1920, 1930, and 1940 have the whole family. For Arville in 1920 and 1930, the family was his parents, himself, and his siblings. For Arville in 1940, the family was his wife, himself, and their children.

As another example, you can click on Arville’s father Henry Houston Arville to see his page. On Henry’s page, Henry is the head of household for the 1920 and 1930 census so you can see the whole family for those two censuses. But the citations for Henry’s 1920 and 1930 census entries are identical to the citations for Arville’s 1920 and 1930 census entries because the census pages are the same. So the census facts are customized for each family member, but the census citations are the same for each family member.

Doing it that way may or may not really make sense, but I have done it that way for a really long time and people that read my reports that I distribute at family reunions seem really to like the format.

I find people often miss-use Ancestry(com/ca etc) as “Source” (in my view). A census image is a census image… the image is basically the same (except for image quality) where found on Ancestry, Family Search, Find Past, National Archive etc. As Renee said - the where the record is found in the repository in most cases. The same could be true for the family bible - when the parents die it could be moved to different family members or addresses etc.

The Census image is normally for a specific Decade and location, followed by page and household etc. — those details get broke apart differently depending on the method used. Lumping vs splitting (and what level of splitting). This something I am just beginning to understand the difference as I am about to begin on my journey to rebuild all sources/citations.