Talk:New Hampshire, Death Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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1. Why would the information defining the source(s) of a Historical Records Collection (database and/ or digital images) be subject to open addition/editing?

A given collection might contain millions of records. If the sources to that collection are listed wrong, then folks accessing the records for the purpose of documenting their family history are going to record the wrong sources.

If the source that is listed is not just wrong, but somehow bogus, then folks will record sources that don't exist. That's sad.

I searched the Family History Library Catalog (FHL Catalog) online up one side and down the other for the "source" reported for "New Hampshire Statewide Deaths (aka, the database New Hamphsire Death Records, 1654-1947), I found 'no matching entries in the FHL Catalog'.

The source reported on Record Search (and the related wiki) is:

"New Hampshire Death Records, 1901-1948," database, FamilySearch Record Search, 2010; from New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics. “New Hampshire Death Records, 1901-1948." Bureau of Vital Records, Concord. FHL microfilm, 316 reels. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Again, searching the FHL Catalog, I find no such source or source of the source.

It took multiple attmeps for me this week to conclude the source listed for "New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947" probably didn't exist and the source of the source almost certainly didn't exist.

I blogged about it yesterday.

Only some people, likely those close to the indexing project and collection managment, will know the full range of sources used to create most of the collections. Shouldn't the honor of (and responsibility for) precisely identifying the source and source of the source for each and every collection go to those who _know_ which FHL Catalog titles were actually used to create the Record Search Historical Collections.

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. The source information in the wiki article has been updated to more accurately reflect the FamilyHistory Library Catalog entries. The collection description in the article has also been updated to more accurately describe the connetion contents. (timothynb)

4 Jan 2011 (GeneJ): The "updated" information still looks wrong through my goggles. Appears we may have gone in the wrong direction? (I have sent an e-mail pointing to the orginal blog entry about this datase. To be helpful, I included links to that entry in the comments that follow.)

  • 1st item now in "Source of Information for This Collection" refers to an author (New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics) that does not exist in the FS Catalog online. The author "[New Hampshire] Bureau of Vital Records" DOES exist. (The author "New Hampshire" is also recognized by the FS Catalog online, see following item as it's associated with many, many titles.) See Note (**).
  • The author that does exist ("[New Hampshire] Bureau of Vital Records") is associated with two-death related record TITLES, as follows (a) Death Certificates, 1901-1937, and (b) Death Certificates, 1938-1947.  The 1901-1937 title was filmed 1997-1998 and is represented on 201 microfilm reels. The 1938-1947 title was filmed in 2002 and is represented on 50 microfilm reels.  (Note: These two titles (and many, many more, will also return if you search the author as "New Hampshire.") See note (**).
  • 1st item now in "Source of Information ...." does NOT report the source of the source separate author, "New Hampshire, Registrar of Vital Statistics," which is associated with the title "Index to Deaths, early to 1900." That author, that title IS associated with little Hannah Preston's death record. See the blog entry Here and Here about little Hannah's record. Even though most of the records in the database are said to relate to deaths after 1900, my family line resided New Hampshire from before 1750 until sometime after 1800, so I imagine most of the entries I will search for in "New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947," will come from the title that is missing from Wiki and Search page source information. The title, "Index to Deaths, early to 1900,"  was filmed in 1974 and represented on 60 microfilm reels. See note (**).
  • 2nd item now in "Source of Information ..." links to only ONE of at least THREE titles in the database, so it's not "A full bibliographic record." (Personally, I would remove that 2nd item and replace it with an "authority" statement linking to ALL the recognized titles by all the recognized authors that went into the database.)
  • 3rd item now in "Source of Information ..." -- does such a source "New Hampshire Death Records, 1639-1948 " exist? The "source of that source" seems a failed attempt to identify the missing title noted above "Index to Deaths, early to 1900." (Personally, unless there really is such a database, "New Hampshire Death Records 1639-1948," I would remove this third item all together.)

Note (**) Personally, I would rewrite, in entirety, the 1st item. In that re-write, I'd recognize the real 2010 database (I only know of one, "New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947"; I'd recognize ALL of the sources of the source that were used to create that real database (we know there are at least three). As above, I'd like to see those source(s) of the source come from an authority--someone who KNOWS which film titles were used to create that real database. (GeneJ)

4 Jan 2011 (2nd) (GeneJ) Timothynb, I appreciate all the effort toward a corrected record for this single database. Thank you also for the e-mail, so I know we are still working on this one. I wonder if there shouldn't be an administrative process involved in reporting these sources--something users could really rely on--not just about this single database, but for all the databases in the Historical Record Collections. These are marvelous records, and the indexing effort is a brilliantly administered global project. I'm hoping the sourcing of these databases can be administered in a manner befitting the whole effort. In the mean time, Hannah and I are both thankful. :) --GJ

10 Jan 2011 (GeneJ) Timothynb, Any progress?

2. Why does the wiki page for a Collection carry a different name than the Collection itself?

Won't some folks end up sourcing the title on the Wiki page and others source the collection title?

The wiki page may have a different title than the collection because wiki pages may refer to multiple collections. The collection titles may also differ from the FamilySearch Libray Catalog titles because multiple titles may have been combined into a single FamilySearch Historical Records collection. These combinations are usually done for the user's convenience.

For example, in this case, New Hampshire Statewide deaths, the records in the collection came from the state vital records office as well as individual town clerks. By using the Historical Records collection the user only needs to search one collection rather than several collections. (timothynb)

10 Jan 2011 (GeneJ). Perhaps it would have been less confusing if at each "combination into ..." there had been a wiki page the described that combination. In other words, if a wiki page existed for the actual record collection in this database, New Hampshire Deaths, 1654-1947, then the ?three FHL titles that were inclued in that single database/collection would have a source of information. At such time as that collection was combined with others to form a new, higher level collection, then a new wiki page could have been created for that new, higher level collection. 

I note FS already has othe higher level collections. If I search the FS Wiki for "New Hampshire Vital Records" (without the quotes), I also find wikis for "New Hampshire Vital Records," New Hampshire Vital Records Index (FamilySearch Historica Records)," and "New Hampshire State Vital Records Index.."

3. Should information entered in the Wiki be footnoted (the way Wikipedia does it)?

The wiki "New Hampshire Statewide Deaths" contains conflicting information. For example, the Collection title includes the years "1654-1947," but in "Collection Time Period," someone has entered, "This collection includes information for the years 1639-1948." "Record History" begins, "Town Clerks began recording deaths as early as 1640."

As above (no. 1), the source and source of the source listed (neither of which seem to exist), refers to the dates "1901-1948." Finally "Quick Facts" refers to the dates "1799-1800."

The authors often footnote pieces of information in the articles. (timothynb)

Thanks for your questions, Gene. I have two additional points about them.

In this case only a few collections have been combined. In the case of the Belgium Civil Registration collection however, records from hundreds of film collections will be combined into a single collection. We have a small staff and cannot at this time add a citation for each of those collections.   

It is not possible to lock down a segment of a wiki article. 

Thanks again for your input. As this is a wiki article, you may enter information into it yourself. It would be good if you did that in collaboration with timothynb. horandm