Citations to Canadian Censuses should identify the page
edited September 28, 2020 in Suggest an Idea
James Cobban said: Citations to Canadian Censuses should identify the page. The current citations read e.g. "Canada Census, 1901," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1... : 18 March 2018), Bessie A Mcmaster in household of Minnie Mcmaster, Oxford (north/nord), Ontario, Canada; citing p. 1, Library and Archives of Canada, Ottawa. but since this site does not provide access to images to non-LDS users need a conventional citation e.g. district number subdistrict number division number and page. Without that users need to repeat the search on the LAC or Ancestry sites. Also the exclusivity period in the contract between LAC and Ancestry should have already expired so why doesn't FS make the images available or at least include a link to the images on either the Ancestry or LAC sites? IMO the images on the LAC site are higher quality.
Slotbuddy said: Agree with you that this is so frustrating when this type of thing happens. I have been an indexer and arbitrator for familysearch.org for many, many years and still cannot access a lot of my ancestors' records too unless I go to a familysearch center. I cannot easily get to a center and it happens to me time and again despite the fact that familysearch says they will let us access it after a certain number of years.
The only thing that keeps me indexing and reviewing is the hope that we will eventually gain access to the records, but I wish they would be more consistent in the amount of time it takes to gain access to them. Perhaps someone from support could tell us just how long it takes.0
Tom Huber said: I have to go to a FHC to obtain images of certain records. It doesn't matter if one indexes or not, it is all in the legal contractual agreement between the record holders/owners/administrators and FamilySearch.
It should be noted that FamilySearch works hard to obtain as wide as possible access.
The only was access through the internet will happen is if someone can convince the holders of those records to make them available through the internet. In the meantime, we have some records folks who make money from the records and as such, do not want to grant access to the general public.0
Tom Huber said: The full citation reads: ""Canada Census, 1901," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1... : 18 March 2018), Bessie A Mcmaster in household of Minnie Mcmaster, Oxford (north/nord), Ontario, Canada; citing p. 1, Library and Archives of Canada, Ottawa."
page 1 is cited.0
Phil Jeffrey said: The problem is that wasn't a field that was indexed or added when the census was indexed.
You can search an index that has it broken down as you suggested but is a little more harder to search. The catalog page suggests. "To search an index to the 1901 census created by Automated Genealogy with links to the Library and Archives Canada census images, click http://www.automatedgenealogy.com/ind... (as of 17 April 2018)."0
James Cobban said: Page 1 of what? I include the entire "citation" in my original post. But to work with it I need the district, subdistrict, and division. That information is in fact available in the database created and made public by the copyright holder, Library and Archives of Canada, and to the best of my knowledge that database was created by a joint project in which the FHL was a partner.0
James Cobban said: Contrary to the assertion by Phil Jeffrey the district, subdistrict and division numbers ARE part of the index that was created by the joint project including Library and Archives Canada (LAC), a consortium of Canadian Universities, AND the FHL. The only exception is that the 1891 census transcription database created by this project for some reason did not include the division numbers, a gap which I PERSONALLY addressed by hand-delivering a CD to LAC which I created by examining EVERY IMAGE IN THE 1891 CENSUS so the divisions are available on LAC's copy of the database. I know that the identification information is in the shared nominal index database because I was part of the project. FamilySearch does not even need to host the images because they are available for free on both the LAC and Ancestry sites thanks to the terms of the contract between LAC and Ancestry. LAC even went beyond that and insisted that the nominal index for all of the censuses be free on Ancestry. All that FamilySearch needs to do is display the URL linking to the image and include the reference information in its "citation". Of course it is always desirable to ask permission before linking to another site, and to properly credit the provider. If FS does not have the translation table they can ask for a copy from LAC, and in addition I have offered FS my OWN translation table which is available in XML, JSON, and human-readable HTML on my personal web-site. For example https://www.jamescobban.net/getRecord... My table is only complete for the 1881 through 1911 censuses but it is 90% complete for Ontario for the 1851 through 1921 censuses.0
Robert Raymond said: James,
Can you clarify some things for me? In your original post you state that "since this site does not provide access to images to non-LDS users [they] need a conventional citation e.g. district number subdistrict number division number and page. Without that users need to repeat the search on the LAC..."
1. I tried and you seem to be correct. Using the information displayed on FamilySearch, I was able to search and find a desired image. By chance, do you have any examples where your statement is false?
2. Since you object to the FamilySearch citation on the grounds that it requires a search, I tried to find a way to locate an image on LAC without doing a search. Even with district number, subdistrict number, division number, and page, I was not able to find an image unless I performed a search. Can you step me through the process of finding an image on LAC without doing a search?
James Cobban said: Since I originally raised this issue the services provided both by FS and LAC have changed.
The original LAC web site did not include a nominal search except for a joint project between LAC and the Ontario Genealogical Society to index heads of household and "strays" in the Ontario portion of the 1871 census. That is the original LAC implementation only provided a mechanism to locate an image by its internal page identification as established by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics (since 1965 called Stats Canada to be bilingual), the identification which I consider the natural citation format.
When FS initially provided access to the nominal index of the Canadian censuses created by your volunteers it did not provide direct access to the images, presumably because you awaited written permission from LAC to provide those images from your copies of the microfilm.
I started building my family tree in 1992, put the first version up on the web in 1996, and added the ability to modify the family tree and perform original document transcriptions on the web in 2005. I therefore have a problem using citations which are only usable within a specific commercial framework because they include references to services of the commercial framework, rather than references to the original documents as held by a repository.
When LAC replaced its original implementation with one based upon the nominal index shared with FS and Ancestry this actually created problems for me because my personal site needs the ability to link to a specific image based upon the original citation information. So my site includes a set of tables which organize information about the structure of the censuses including the URL of the image of each page. As I have mentioned in the past those tables can be accessed using both XML and JSON. When LAC discarded its original implementation in favor of its current user-hostile (compared to Ancestry and FS) nominal search I had to laboriously recreate the necessary internal tables to obtain the URL of each image. Fortunately I had managed to extract those indices for most of the censuses before LAC changed its service. But, for example, about half of the 1871 census is not yet organized down to the page level.
Similarly when I reference Ontario vital statistics I use the registration year and registration number as assigned by the Ontario Registrar and used by all internal microfilm services of the Ontario Registrar and the Archives of Ontario, except where those were never assigned either by policy (for early events) or accidentally, in which case I reference the original hardcopy volumes by year, volume number, page, and item number within the page. I record both forms of identification for each personal transcription of a vital statistic record.0
James Cobban said: This problem has still not been addressed and almost a year has gone by. FS does not provide enough information to identify WHICH page of the Canadian Census the indicated record is on. For example https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/619..., a response to a search for Roy Beatson son of Thomas Beatson born about 1887, tells me that the individual is on page 1 of Brandon Manitoba in the 1901 census. WHICH PAGE ONE! There are 100 enumeration divisions in Brandon District of the 1901 census. See https://www.jamescobban.net/database/... for a summary. That means there are 100 page 1s. Since the original database that is shared by FamilySearch, Ancestry, LAC, and the Canadian University network includes complete citation information: district, subdistrict, enumeration division, and page, all of that information should be present in the citation suggested by FS. Library and Archives Canada has granted ME permission to link to the images on their site, because I am using it for non-commercial purposes, I cannot understand why FS does not have the same permission. The only exception would be for the 1921 and 1926 census images which are maintained by Ancestry, although still legally the property of LAC.0
Tom Huber said: Citation issues are not limited to this Canadian Census. For years, the U.S. Federal Census enumerations had bad citations. Until relatively recently, that was true of every U.S. Census enumeration out there. It didn't matter if the information was known, indexed, or whatever. The citations lacked in one or more details that could identify the page exactly.
Since census enumerations are often from microfilms not produced (or imaged) by FamilySearch, it means that a manual citation must be produced unless there is sufficient information in the fields to produce a proper citation which, no matter what site is used to view the images, one can go to the exact page for that person in the enumeration. That includes using the "home" (owners') site or facilities -- in the case of U.S. federal enumerations, the N.A.R.A. (a U.S. government agency).
Only recently was one of the U.S. Census enumerations set up to specify exactly, to the page number in which the record of a person could be found.
By the way, Ancestry is not any better, and because they are using what is essentially a closed system, citations are essentially, incomplete and useless outside of their own (or in many cases, FamilySearch's) records.
When I add sources to my local database, I have set up a system that produces an accurate citation for the film and is not person-centric, which is the case with FS source citations, but page-centric.0
James Cobban said: As I indicated I started my family tree 30 years ago and established portable citation standards. With regard to the US census since the citations on both Ancestry and FamilySearch are clearly incomplete, I went to the NARA site to try and find an explanation of what a proper citation should look like but could not find one. I sent a message, about 6 months ago now, and have not received any response to explain, or point me to an explanation, of how the US census is actually organized so that I can create proper citations.0
Tom Huber said: Each U.S. Census enumeration has a series number associated with it. For instance, the 1920 enumeration is series T625. The second element is the Roll, which covers one or more counties in a state. The third element is the enumeration district (or E.D.), and finally, the page number, which in most cases will have a letter suffix, indicating the front or back of the page.
After indicating the title -- U.S. Federal Census, 1920, I indicate the series, roll, E.D. and page: NARA Series T625, Roll 1943, E.D. 114, Pg 11B.0
James Cobban said: Thank you. But why is this essential information missing not only from the description of using the US censuses on all of the commercial sites and Family Search, but also from NARA itself? And why has nobody from Ancestry, or FamilySearch, or NARA itself responded to my written requests for an explanation. For the Canadian censuses Library and Archives Canada has oodles of information explaining exactly how each of the censuses is organized. In particular for each Canadian census there is a table giving the translation from internal district and subdistrict codes into place names, and for most censuses there is a copy of the enumerators instructions for each column of the form.0
Tom Huber said: Well, a request for an explanation is likely going to be ignored. What is important is that at least one of the U.S. enumerations on FS is properly set up with a decent citation. I don't remember which year was involved, but that is an unusual situation and has been in place for a year or so. That indicates that work is being done to provide proper citations for some of these records. Unfortunately, they are still person-centric and tied to the internal structure of FS.0
Tom Huber said: It should be noted that the NARA is the repository/supplier of/for the films, and not a genealogical research facility, per se. As such, they do not provide name indexes to their films. All indexes are created by other organizations.
I have been frustrated by the NARA site in attempting to identify roll numbers for specific locations when the NARA roll number is not included in the organization's index. The best indexes were on a site that was not heavily used (not Ancestry or FamilySearch) by researchers.0