This page updated 28 Dec 2007
Applies to Versions 7 & 8
TMG has a very comprehensive set of capabilities for recording source information, including these features:
But sometimes this very "comprehensiveness" makes using the system seem daunting. This article is intended to help a user better understand TMG's capabilities for managing sources, and offer some guidance for getting started in using the system.
Topics Included in this Article
|Understanding the terms used|
|A step-by-step example - creating and citing a source|
|Controlling the way output is written|
|Examples using other types of source|
Some readers may find the article on sources in my TMG basics series helpful. That series is conceptual, rather than practical. Some readers like it; others don't.
Before we begin, it's helpful to have an understanding of the basic parts of the system.
A Source is something from which we have obtained information.
It might be a book, letter, or e-mail. It could be a public record, tombstone, or census. It might also be an interview, or even our own memory.
We describe a source by certain characteristics, such as title, author or creator, location, etc.
In TMG, we describe each source only once. That's called "creating a Source," or perhaps more properly, "creating a Source definition."
Sources are listed in, and new sources defined from, the Master Source List. The list is accessed from the Tools menu.
Creating a source definition doesn't associate that source to any event we may record; that's done with a Citation, described next.
A Citation links a Source we have defined to the information we recorded based on that source.
When we enter a name, event, or relationship, we can add a citation to show that information was found in a specific source.
Citations are entered on the Citation screen, accessed from the Tag Entry Screen of the Tag which contains the information for which we are citing the Source.
The citation may also record details about how the source supports the information we entered. It may tell exactly where in the source the information was found, such as the page number. Or it may provide some detail about what the source said or how we interpreted it in recording what we entered in the tag. For example, we might enter "shows age 16" when we enter a date in a birth tag, to record that the source had the age and that we computed the date from the age.
A Repository is a place where a source can be found.
It might be a library where a book can found, the archives where a public record is kept, or your own files where the letter from Aunt Jane is stored.
Generally, style guides do not call for Repositories for published works, like books, since it is assumed that they can be found in many places. But this information is usually called for with one-of-a-kind items, like deeds or private papers, to tell where they can be found.
Repositories are listed on, and new ones defined from, the Master Repository List, accessed from the Tools menu.
Repositories are attached to Source Definitions on the Attachments tab of the Source Definition screen.
A repository can be attached to any number of different sources.
With a few ideas now defined, how do we actually go about creating a Source Definition? What follows is a step-by-step description of entering a new source and attaching it to a tag. We are going to use a very common source as an example, an e-mail message from a relative.
1. Open a Source Definition. First, open the Master Source List, from the Tools menu, and click on the Add button:
This opens the Source Types screen. TMG provides an large number of predefined Source Types, to help create a source definition that is appropriate for the particular type of source you are defining. Different types of sources are described differently, using characteristics appropriate for each type. The definition for a book, for example, might include title, author, and publisher, while a tombstone might include the name of the person, and the name and address of the cemetery. Further, when TMG produces footnotes or bibliography entries in reports, the items entered in the description appear in an order appropriate for the type of source, using Italics, quotation marks, and other punctuation.
When a Source Type is selected, TMG provide places to enter the information appropriate for that type of source, and later formats the footnotes and bibliography entries accordingly. The default source types in the standard edition are based on Wholly Genes' interpretation of Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence! (Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1997). Those in the UK edition are based on designs by Caroline Gurney, specifically for sources commonly encountered in the United Kingdom.
Since we are using the standard edition, we scroll down the list of Source Types searching one appropriate for our e-mail source, and find:
We select the E-Mail Message source type, and click Select. This opens a Source Definition screen, with the E-mail Message source type selected. We then proceed to enter information in the fields:
For this Source Type, we entered information into the following source elements:
Abbreviation: Always has to be filled in. It is used only on the Master Source List and the Tag Entry and Citation screens, to identify this Source. It is never included in any endnotes or bibliography, so enter any description that briefly describes this source to you.
Title: In this Source Type, the Title source element is the "Subject" line of the e-mail. It could also be the title of a book or article. In some Source Types the label "title" appears in all lower case, which means it is not used and can be left empty. However, it is still a good idea to enter something for your own reference.
Short Title: Used for footnotes after the first one for this source in a report. Repeat the Title if it's short, as in this case. But if the Title is long enter a shortened version of it here.
Author: The name of the author (sender) of the e-mail. Always enter names as shown, last name first, and TMG will rearrange the names properly for the full footnote, short footnote, and bibliography. If there is more than one name separate them with semicolons.
Recipient: The name of the person who received the e-mail.
Date: The date of the e-mail, in the format that you want it to appear in notes. In this case, the label "<Date>" appears with angle brackets. That means that it may be omitted if desired without causing a problem in the footnotes. You might want to omit it if you wanted to use this Source Definition for several different e-mails received on different days. If you did that you would enter the specific date in the Citation Detail when you cite this source (see below for this).
Address: The regular mail address of the author. This is recommended because e-mail addresses change so often, so it offers a better chance of finding the author again later if desired.
Author E-mail: The e-mail address of the author. The usual format for e-mail (and web) addresses is to enclose them in angle brackets like this: <firstname.lastname@example.org> but since these brackets have special meaning to TMG, you enter them preceded with the backslash, as in the screenshot.
A Reminder screen opens for most Source Types to help us enter the appropriate data in each field:
For more on Reminders, see my article on Using Reminders.
When done, click OK to close the Source Definition screen, and we can see our newly created source listed in the Master Source List:
Note that the source is listed with its Abbreviation and the source number, which is 1 in this case, because it is the first source we have entered. (Be aware that the "More >>" button changes the Master Source List to a different display mode if you see a "<< Less" button there, click it to return to this mode.) Click Close to close the Master source list.
Now we are ready to "attach," or cite, this source in an event tag. We create a new tag, or open an existing one, to cite our new source. In this case, it will be a Death tag because our correspondent provided information about the death of a cousin:
After the appropriate information is entered we click the + button near the bottom of the screen, above the (currently empty) list of citations. This opens the Citation screen, in which we enter the number of the Source we are citing, and any detail we want record about how this source supports this tag:
In the Citation screen, we entered:
Source Number: We can simply type the number in if we recall it. If not, click on the binoculars button (means "search") next to the number field, which will open the Master Source List, and then select the desired source from that list. Note that when we move the cursor out of the source number field, the source Abbreviation appears to the right of the binoculars button, so we can be sure we have the right source.
Citation Detail: Here we enter any details we might want to record about this citation. In this case, our source, the e-mail, didn't give a date, but said "she died about 5 years ago here in Richmond." But we entered a date circa 1998 in the Date field. So we explain that the source didn't actually give us the date, but we estimated it from the statement in the source. In other cases, like a book, we might enter a page number where the information appeared. Or if we had not entered the date of the e-mail in the source definition because we were using this source definition for several e-mails received on different days, we might enter the date of the particular e-mail we used for this tag in the Citation Detail.
When we are done, we click the OK button to return to the Tag Entry screen. Note that the citation we just created is now listed near the bottom of the screen. The listing includes the source Number, the source Abbreviation, and as much of the Citation Detail as will fit.
We're done! Click OK to exit the Tag Entry screen.
Now, to see the results of our work, we print a report for this person, using the options to print footnotes and a bibliography. Here is what we see for this source:
|First footnote:||Robert E Rodefeld, "Rodefeld Family History," e-mail message from <email@example.com> (Richmond, Indiana) to Terrence Reigel, 23 Jan 2005. Hereinafter cited as "Rodefeld Family History".|
|Subsequent footnotes:||Rodefeld, "Rodefeld Family History," e-mail to Reigel, 23 Jan 2005, said she died about 5 years ago.|
|Bibliography:||Rodefeld, Robert E "Rodefeld Family History." E-mail message from <firstname.lastname@example.org> at Richmond, Indiana. 23 Jan 2005.|
This completes the step-by-step tutorial.
There is one subject we skipped over in the tutorial that should be mentioned. Recall that we said the Source Type selected determines both which elements are included in the source definition and how they are used in creating the footnotes, endnotes, or bibliography. The Source Type accomplishes this with it's Output Template. Actually, there are three of them, one for the full footnote, one for the short footnote, and one for the bibliography.
We can see the default Output Templates when we choose a Source Type (see above) or from the Source Definition screen, by going to the Output Forms tab:
Here we can see the three Output Templates. Understanding the Output Templates helps in understanding how the source elements will be used. Seeing how it is used in the template may help if the intent of a particular source element is not clear. In this case, we look at the Full Footnote template and see that the Author is printed first. Then the Title, which is placed in quote marks. The phrase "e-mail message from" is followed by the Author e-mail address, then his mail Address, which is placed in parenthesis. The word "to" is followed by the Recipient's name, and the Date. The term "<, [CD]>" means that if there is a Citation Detail, it is placed next. Finally, the phrase "Hereinafter cited as" is followed by the Short Title. There are also various commas and periods appropriately placed.
Not only do the Output Templates show us how the information we enter will be used, but we can also modify any of the templates to obtain different results, if we want. That subject is discussed in some depth my article on Working with Source Templates.
This tab of the Source Definition screen has another important tool as well. If we click the Preview button, we see a preview of how the footnote or bibliography will appear:
If we see that something does not appear as we expect, we can go back to the General tab and modify our entries, or to the Supplemental tab or the Repository Definition screen if those are used by the Source Type we have selected.
Note that the Citation Detail is not entered in the Source Definition, but is entered as part of each Citation when we cite this source. Since each citation might have different information entered, the preview cannot know what that might be, so it simply displays the "<[CD]>" code to indicate where the information from the Citation Detail will appear in the actual note.
One might note that the Bibliography template does not contain a "<[CD]>" code and you might wonder why. It's the same issue - each citation may have a different detail - and there is only one bibliography entry for the entire report. Since there would be no way to decide which citation detail to include, none is permitted.
I have created three more examples of how one might use TMG's source capabilities. The examples cover three source types commonly encountered, a book, a state birth registration, and a family Bible. Each example:
In each case I tried to replicate the example in Ms. Mills' book Evidence! using TMG's default source templates. As you will see, in each case, the default template produced output similar to the example in the book, but some editing of the default template would be required to replicate it exactly, should that result be desired. My examples do not attempt to show the "best possible" method, but rather illustrate a straightforward application of the default templates. They are intended to help with gaining a basic idea of how to use the default templates, and to serve as a basis for thinking about various ways to customize the templates to achieve specific results.
The three examples are found here:
This article provides only a brief overview of TMG's source recording capabilities, using the default Source Types. Users can customize the output templates of individual sources, as I mentioned briefly above, and can modify the default Source Types, or even create their own. Some ideas for more advanced use of the source feature are found in a series of articles on Customizing Your Source Citations.
The Second Edition of my sell-out book, A Primer for The Master Genealogist, is now available.
Details are can be seen here.
Copyright 2000- by Terry Reigel