How to include "why I know this" type of references?

+5 votes

I'm writing the profiles of my ancestors circa 1800.  There are no records that directly say "Person A is the child of Person B".  The facts were only determined from a multitude of records from many different profiles that together provide evidence to support a relationship.

So when I write "Person B was the 3rd son of Person A" .. that is the conclusion.  I don't feel that including two paragraphs that explain how we know that is relevant within the biography, nor do I feel that its place is in the sources.  

I feel its important to include it however in an intuitive manner - otherwise other collaborators may look at the facts, look at the sources and say "how did they conclude that?" .. and then change it ...

What would be ideal is if I could provide the explanation enclosed in an inline tag, but when rendered it shows up as a  or something ... and the user clicks on it to see the explanation.


James is the son of William. How do we know that?

First we know that James is brothers to Moses, William, and Samuel. Their age as provided on the census are all within a few years of one another. They all filed land petitions in 1797 together. The petitions were filed by the same clerk. All four are mentioned in the same sentence in one of the petitions. The land allocated to them was all neighboring one another.

Second, we know that William Sr. was the father of William and Samuel, and ergo - by extension - also the father of James and Moses. We know William Sr died in Feb of 1797. The land petitions were all in May of 1797. This shows a reason for the land petitions. Following William Sr's death, a neighbor claimed ownership of his property. Documents show the property was purchased around 1794 by William Sr. In the claim, it was William Jr and Samuel that were listed on the court documents as the defendants. They won the case, and were jointly issued the land.

So as you can see - that's a lot of information to include in the biography.   And on an old profile - you may have MULTIPLE facts where a connection of the dots is required.

So what is the proper way of doing this on WikiTree?

in Policy and Style by Daniel Ward G2G1 (1.8k points)

The example you have given in the text of your question would more likely belong under Research Notes.

I would say that for a brief explanation, a footnote would be fine and for a longer explanation, or a group of explanations, then as Lindy says, a Research Notes section would be best.
My first thought as I read those two paragraphs is: What specific sources support these statements and conclusions?
Thanks Lindy - will do that.  I've been using a research page (a separate free space page) for profiles where the research notes are too many ..  I will just have to do something along the lines if the "explanation of proofs" gets too complicated too.
Using a free-space when the explanation become too complicated makes sense, Daniel. You can direct viewers to the free-space with a link to it from the Research Notes section (or from the Biography, if you prefer).

2 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer

As Lindy said, what you said belongs in Research Notes. What you are stating is what is considered a "Genealogical Proof Statement." They aren't part of the narrative but are a conclusion report based on evidence. You might lookup the Genealogical Proof Standard that the Board for Certification of Genealogists has developed.

by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (366k points)
selected by Daniel Ward
+2 votes

Since the information refers to many profiles, I would make a free-space page that gives the explanation using the WikiTree IDs. Then use that free-space page as a source on each profile.

ADDED example:

Anthon Twins Marry Haass Brothers

by Pat Credit G2G6 Mach 7 (79.2k points)
edited by Pat Credit
Thanks Pat - I thought about that - but it seemed to me that is a lot of work.  It takes a lot of work to update WikiTree as it is - I would like to refrain from creating free space pages for every pre-1800 ancestor.   

I'll throw it into the research notes as others had suggested.  Maybe this is something Wikitree should look at incorporating into its design.  Anything that helps establish the source for information is well in line with WikiTree philosophies.
Daniel, if you do want to consider free-space pages, there would be no reason to create one for each ancestor.  I'd think there would be good reason to do just one for a family, even several generations, to give a coherent overall picture.
Daniel, I didn't mean to have a space page for each profile. Julie's suggestion is in line with what I meant.

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