Jump to content
TNG Community
  • 0

Documents - Histories - Difference?



I have searched the internet and numerous family genealogy sites on TNG trying to find the difference

between a document (legal paper trail?) and a history.

Seems blurred or is it my vision - I have numerous pdf with Families and their kids with stats and personal info

all with LDS record number - are they document - history - certain this has been answered - I search the forum and come up

with very little  - Thanks for patience and help

Share this post

Link to post

3 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 0

Hello, please keep in mind that this is my personal opinion, and no doubt you might get many different opinions, but I will try and answer your questions as I understand them. 

Where it relates to genealogy... 

A history is simply something one compiles on a given place, person, family, bloodline, etc... This history should include references to documents like census records and other vital records as well as books, like county history books, used to compile the history.

A document would be things like federal or state census records, military records, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, court records  and the such.

A paper trail for a person should include references to much of the above, but a proper paper trail should be via census records, birth, death and marriage records, newspaper articles and obituaries and the like. These documents can not only be for the person you are documenting but you can also include documents for other close relations of that person because you often need clues from those close relations to figure out the relation you are working on.

With respect to the LSD record number I am not exactly sure what you are asking... But if you means for instance you have gone to the FamilySearch web site and found a relation and he or she has an LDS number with a tree showing his family and parents. You have copied that overview to a PDF and you want to know if that can be considered part of a Legal Paper Trail? I would definitely say no. Are they a document or a history? Again, I would say no. I would say they are nothing more then clues based on another persons research. I personally put items like these in the persons electronic family folder on my computer for future reference. 

In short, the LDS family records on familysearch.org are no different then the personal family trees up on ancestry.com and the web in general. Those LDS records were compiled or in many cases just plain copied from one tree to another, then submitted to the LDS as that members research. If you search you can often find that a person has multiple LDS numbers from submissions from multiple people. Years ago when I used to look at these records I found one relation with 20 plus LDS numbers and another with 50 plus. These LDS records as well as any tree you find online, are only as accurate as the person compiling them makes them. Regardless of how close you are to the owner of that tree, that information should always be used for the clues it contains and nothing more. You should never copy that information, or import that gedcom blindly into your family tree, until you have at least validated that information and by validation I mean you have verified the info to be correct via other methods and by other methods I do not mean you found the same information in other trees, I mean validated by actual documentation like birth, death, obituary, etc....

However, with reference to all of the above, you also have to keep in mind that all genealogy records are subject to errors and change. This includes birth and death certificates, obituaries, newspaper articles, family histories found in books and yes, even headstones.

In the end, we as family historians have to look at all the clues we have gathered and document to the best of our ability, based on those clues, just what we believe the facts to be, all the while knowing that next week or next year we just might find another document that alters those facts a bit, and then off we go again, searching for more clues.

Hope this answers your questions and helps.

Share this post

Link to post
  • 0

Jim has got this just about right. Put simply, documents, images and other numbers are the data elements which when put together form a history. When these are written down in some form they are the interpretation of those elements by the person who collated them. Articles in a newspaper are good examples of this.

I too use TNG's template 4 (as does Jim). Not wishing to confuse the issue at all, but this first appeared with the facility of a column of "Feature Articles" on its front page which was designed to take the author's own custom-written family histories using a skeleton file called historytemplate.php  This was in addition to the  option of  "Histories" built into the Media collection where fascimiles of documents could be stored. My own site now has nearly 500 such Feature Articles.


Sent you a PM as an example


Share this post

Link to post
  • 0

thank you very much for your thorough responses

appreciated very much - it answers my question

Think I will put the info in question on an external hard drive

for future reference

I always thot the LDS film number or file number was carved in stone

thanks for the heads up

Share this post

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now