Source Lumping vs. Extreme Splitting

Like many RM users, I’ve been working on my genealogy projects for decades, and (over the years) I have used multiple programs and versions. Reading some recent discussions about sources & citations prompted a question:

“How does the decision to be a Source Lumper or Extreme Splitter affect the printed reports?”

I’m a Source Lumper (still working in RM7), and I did a quick check on my current sub-project.

Total report length = 390 pgs
narrative chapters = 319
footnotes & indices = 65

I suspect that an Extreme Splitter would have a different balance between the lengths of narrative chapters and the supporting documentation. Indeed, I suspect that Extreme Spitting would create MORE footnotes, and so the supporting documentation would be longer…


My reaction is that lumping vs. splitting would make no difference whatsoever in the printed reports if all you are creating are footnotes or endnotes, long or short. Where it would make a difference would be if you were making a bibliography.

I am a source splitter with my own source templates. Moving some of the data fields of the source templates into the Source Details field does not change the endnote sentences at all. I have done considerable experimentation making just such changes in RM8 in order to take advantage of RM8’s reusable citations.

Having said that, there is a subtle but important difference between RM7 and RM8 in regard to endnotes. In RM7, if you choose the Reuse Endnote Numbers Where Possible, the definition of “Where Possible” is where the text of the endnotes is the same. In RM8, if you choose the Reuse Endnote Numbers Where Possible, the definition of “Where Possible” is that it the same citation that has been reused rather than the same citation that has been copied. The text of the endnote is not considered at all. This gets into RM8’s reusable citations and the distinction between reusing them and copying them. I think that even in RM8, the reusability of endnote numbers should be based on the endnote text.

I have reported incorrectly that the Reuse Endnote Numbers Where Possible is not working in RM8. That’s because I forgot once to Merge Duplicate Citations after importing my RM7 database into RM8. After doing the Merge Duplicate Citations process in RM8, my duplicate endnote numbers merged just fine and my endnote lists were identical between RM7 and RM8.

I think this can be in important consideration for RM8 users who either don’t understand or don’t want to bother with the distinction between Paste/Reusing citations vs. Paste/Copying them. For the purposes of improved reporting, my advice would therefore be always to Merge Duplicate Citations after importing from RM7 to RM8, and also always to use Paste/Reuse citations rather than Paste/Copying them unless your intention is to use an existing citation as a way to create a new one.

But my advice runs afoul of the situation where rather different sources in Ancestry can sometimes end up having the same endnote text in RM after being imported from Ancestry into RM. This is not the typical situation, but it can happen. Citations for different sources in Ancestry can come into RM with the same endnote text and differ only in having a different media file. But to me, that’s a problem even in RM7 where the Paste/Reuse and Paste/Copy distinction doesn’t even exist for citations.