Help get this topic noticed by sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, or email.
I’m Happy to provide this suggestion for anyone that might not be comfortable with the current sort by time approach to source lists

A Simple Approach for Organizing Source types when using the Custom sort for Source Lists

For people who find that the new Chronological sorting of sources in source lists isn’t quite their cup of tea (especially with very long sources lists), this approach using the Custom sort capability in FS may be useful to them.

I have been requested to illustrate this method (that I use) of organizing/categorizing source types when using the custom sort option in Source lists. When you go into a source list, there are different reasons that you might be there looking through the source list. I find this organization has always helped me. YMMV

1) This is obviously not a totally detailed example for everything. For example, if the main person of concern showed up in somebody else’s obituary (i.e., not a child, but a spouse or grandparent) it could be put into the “Sources for Relationship’s block.

2) Note that by REMOVING all the extra space, line separators, redundant links, and source details which were added recently to make things “easier to read”, things are MUCH easier to read and find exactly what you want IMHO. The logical groupings of sources can be seen and identified far easier EVEN WITHOUT the Category Titles (constructed from fake custom sources) that people have been using.

3) Note that within each block, the sources are in logical order. I say logical, because an actual chronological sort may not succeed in correctly placing these items (e.g., a Christening sources ALWAYS would follow Birth records even if they have “Event Dates” that are identical)

4) If you needed to verify Death information specific to the Benjamin Walton in the example, it is in the 1st block with all of the other main vital sources specific to Benjamin’s life. In a chronological sort, this information (in this case, the Find A Grave index) drops from the 3rd slot all the way down into slot 39 surrounded by various children marriage and deaths (which has nothing to do with his death, location, his parent relationships and the names of last wife, etc. such as you might find in a gravesite or a Death Certificate). Using this source category organization at the top levels avoids this problem.

I’m sure that others will have suggestions or improvements that they may have for this. Also, because there are so many people different preferences for organizing source types, the discussion could go on a long time. The thing I like about this one is that it is fairly simple and easy to remember and it handles a number of different reasons a person might be searching a large source list.
2 people like
this idea
  • So here is that same list Chronologically sorted with all the current clutter:

    Compare this with the one in my original post. See how fast you can find any information on when he might have died and any members of his family also shown on those death records. Or find records that would reasonably validate a birth date and location other than Censuses that are only approximation to the year (hint one of them is in the 3rd or 4th slot down, another is in the 32nd slot down, and the last is in the 30th slot down)

    Note I did have to shrink this image even further in order to get the extra "Attached by" data into the view. This has a lot of effect if you are on a smaller screen.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image

    e.g. happy, confident, thankful, excited kidding, amused, unsure, silly indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • Jeff,
    That's very helpful. Thanks for putting it up. It's a great strategy and a very useful one. I hope others see this and realize it's benefits.

    I often need to review what I know about a person by looking at their sources. The sources prove certain things.

    The dates on their page alone are not enough. The sources are the backup.

    NOW what do you do with duplicate or multiple sources for the same event involving the same person? FamilySearch keeps sending similiar or the same sources and I always attach them all.
    Do you have a way of filing those?
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image

    e.g. happy, confident, thankful, excited kidding, amused, unsure, silly indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • The short answer is--In all cases except one (see item 1 below) they should all be attached and grouped together next to each other.

    There are a couple of scenarios that can occur here:

    1) There are TRUE duplicates of a source attached

    This is fairly RARE and only occurs during certain glitches of the system or someone not using their source box correctly. They can be identified by the fact that they all have the same URL and Identifier numbers (as shown in the Citation of the source). This is where a given source has been attached to the same person 2 or more times. When this happens, the system gets confused and keeps sending that same source as a hint to you. You solve this by detaching ALL of those TRUE DUPLICATES and then going back and reattaching that source again (either from a search screen or a hint). You should now have just one of those sources attached and that same source will no longer be sent to that person's profile as a hint.

    2) The apparent "duplicates" are NOT true duplicates as in "1)" above.

    When the URL and identity numbers are different, then the sources are UNIQUE, and all that are appropriate for a given PID should be attached to it and grouped together (next to each other). This is not only because they all apply to the PID, it helps the search engines and hint generators to become more accurate. If you dismiss any of these because you just don't want them in the list, it hides them from future investigations and confuses the hints generators. In the example I gave in the original post for this topic, these groups are easy to see as the default titles are usually identical.

    There are two types of things that can occur in "2)"

    2a) Although they have the same titles, the original sources are different types of records.

    The titles generated by FS for sources/hints are usually based on the collections that they were taken from. However, collections can contain different types of records. For example, for a given John Smith there could be images of a birth register page from 1900, a probate court delayed birth record from 1940, and a manually created (written) index for finding the birth register pages of different people created in 1925. All of these record types with their images when provided as a hint/source to John Smith would typically be labeled as John Smith, "Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003" since they came from the same record collection. Obviously, these are different types of original records, so all of these sources would need to be attached to the PID and grouped together (since they were for the same event for that person).

    2b) They have similar titles and the images they refer to also appear to be the same.

    In this case people assume that since the titles are similar and any image referenced in it are similar, then they are duplicates. This is not the case. In some instances, the same images were indexed multiple times by different people or organizations. So even though they appear similar, they can have different spellings or mistakes in them. It is important to have all of these to compare to each other for accuracy, especially when only the index records are available (i.e., access to images are disallowed). So all of these sources would need to be attached to the PID and grouped together (next to each other) as well.

    Also, note that when you “open” a source in a source list by clicking on it, what is displayed is FAR MORE than the source actually contains. The original image, and the data that was indexed from that image are shown there as a convenience. But if you want to see the REAL source that is in the list, now click on the View or Edit button and you will see that the REAL source content in the list is ONLY a citation to some index record (that was derived from some image). If only the contents of the actual source from the source list were shown initially, there would be no doubt that these “duplicates” people are referring to are not duplicates at all. But by having all that extra data and imagery included for convenience in the initial viewing of a source, people tend to think that the source in the source list equates to the original image that it was only indirectly derived from.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image

    e.g. happy, confident, thankful, excited kidding, amused, unsure, silly indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated