Enhancements for Documents and Sources

Started by Joe Brous Buttrill on Saturday, January 22, 2011


Profiles Mentioned:

Related Projects:

Showing all 15 posts
1/22/2011 at 10:25 AM

A number in parentheses has been added to the Source tab. What does this number represent?

(The following discussion uses the profile for William John Burrell Buttrill for illustrative examples. The number in its Source tab is (10).)

My first guess was that the number is the number of source documents associated with the profile. However, clicking the Media tab in our example and looking in the Documents section shows seven documents associated with this profile.

Clicking on the Source tab brings up the Sources with a default view of View Facts. (BTW, is there anyway to change this default? View Facts is not a very useful view since the facts appear to be listed in a random order.) Clicking on View Sources lists the seven documents that were displayed under the Media tab, however, in a different and apparently random order.

In our example, the Media tab and the Sources tab seem to agree that there are seven documents, but neither agree with the (10) found on the Sources tab. So, I'm confused. What does this number mean?

1/22/2011 at 10:38 AM

# of facts

1/22/2011 at 11:50 AM

Thank you, but what does that mean--number of facts?

Staying with our example, William John Burrell Buttrill , is his Current Location one fact or three facts? His Current Location was in three different locations in 1880 vs. 1900 vs. 1930. If his Current Location is but one fact, then what does that mean? And what is the usefulness of knowing the sum of such "facts"?

1/22/2011 at 11:58 AM

Maybe better stated as "# of categories of facts".
As to the usefulness....

1/23/2011 at 5:38 AM

# of sourced facts. So for instance, if you're in merge view, you will see a little icon that means one birthdate is sourced, the other is not. This should help quite a bit at the "resolve conflicts" stage so that's some "usefulness" right there. :)

I agree the "facts" available for "sources" could stand enhancement. So get a list together to submit to Geni as a development request. :>

1/23/2011 at 8:34 AM

Thank you all for your replies.

Oddbjørn, I tend to agree with you.

Erica, let's explore some of your ideas. Continuing with the example using William John Burrell Buttrill , he has a document attached to him for the 1900 U.S. Census ( http://www.geni.com/documents/view/profile-6000000003329994210?doc_... ).

That document tells us that the household resided in the town of Mansfield, in Justice Precinct 8, in Tarrant County, TX, on June 20, 1900. The household is headed by David B. Buttrill. He lives with his wife, Jane E., his seven sons, William J., Charles M., Milton A., Henry M., Asa B., Arthur P., and James T., and his daughter-in-law, Maggie R., who is married to James T.

David B. is a farmer (married white male) born June 1851 (age 49) in Georgia. His wife, Jane E. (married white female) was born December 1855 (age 44) in Alabama. They have been married for 25 years at the time this census was taken. Jane E. has had 10 children with David B., only seven of whom have survived.

David B. and Jane E.'s seven surviving sons are listed as follows:

- William J. (single white male) born November 1879 (age 20) in Georgia
- Charles M. (single white male) born April 1884 (age 16) in Alabama
- Milton A. (single white male) born April 1886 (age 14) in Alabama
- Henry M. (single white male) born March 1888 (age 12) in Alabama
- Asa B. (single white male) born August 1890 (age 9) in Alabama
- Arthur P. (single white male) born June 1892 (age 7) in Alabama
- James T. (married white male) born November 1876 (age 23) in Georgia

James T. is married to Maggie R. (married white female), who was born December 1885 (age 14) in Georgia. They have been married less than a year (actually about a month) and they have no children.

Now let's see what facts we have and don't have for this household. For all members of the household, we have their:
- Current Location
- Month and Year of Birth but not their Day of Birth
- Ethnicity
- First Name
- Gender
- Last Name
- Living Status
- Middle Initial but not their full Middle Name
- Country and State of Birth but not their Place, City and County of Birth

We also have David B.'s Occupation.

Other information included in the census but for which we have no Geni "fact categories":

- Marriage information (current marital status, date and location of each marriage, etc.). We know that David B. and Jane E. are married and have been for 25 years (ca. 1875), and James T. and Maggie R. are married and have been for less than a year (ca. 1900).
- Children information (number of children, current living status, etc.). Jane E. has given birth to ten chldren, seven of whom are living and listed in this census. Maggie R. has had no children.
- Other relationship information. Maggie R. is the daughter-in-law of David B. and Jane E. William J. is the son of David B. and Jane E. and the brother of Charles M., Milton A., etc.

Several observations:

- The current set-up for recording facts does not support numerous important facts (e.g. marriage, family relationships, etc.)
- If the current approach were expanded to support all of the facts, it would become a data entry nightmare.
- One way to reduce the data entry burden would be to tailor it to the document being added as a source. This means programming screens for each U.S. census (the format of the 1850 census is vastly different from the 1900 census), state census, city census, Canadian census, not to mention European and other censuses, and all non-census documents, e.g. death certificates, marriage certificate, birth certificates, etc. (Obviously, Geni does not have the technical staff to support such an approach in the foreseeable future.)
- Perhaps, the "facts" portion of Geni should be abandoned as an ill-conceived idea that is just not workable given Geni's limited resources.

1/23/2011 at 8:38 AM

I think it was an attempt to emulate Ancestry and to use a source document. But I think you're on the right track.

1. Geni should be ahead of the curve, dynamic, and setting the standard, living the 900 pound gorilla in the dust.

2. Geni intends to be multi national in a way Ancestry is not. Therefore, a great deal of database flexibility is needed to support different naming conventions, facts available, etc.

3. What about linking documents to events? That would be more interesting to me personally.

1/23/2011 at 8:40 AM

P.S. I do like the new icon and the way it shows citations. Much easier. And I'm still exploring and learning the new release myself so shouldn't say too much until I'm more familiar with it.

1/23/2011 at 9:43 AM

Erica, Geni currently does support "linking documents to events."

From the examples used above, the event http://www.geni.com/profile/6000000003329994210/events/600000001013... attached to the profile William John Burrell Buttrill has the document http://www.geni.com/documents/view/named_event-6000000010130111429?... linked to it.

On the Timeline for "William "Will" J B Buttrill," go to the event "Residence of David "Brit" Britton Buttrill Household in 1900" and scroll down to the section Documents and you will see "1900 U.S. Census--Buttrill, David B" linked to this event.

PS: Though a document can be linked to more than one event, from the document view, Geni can only display one event linked to it--I believe the event that has most recently been linked to the document. This is in contrast to Geni's ability to link multiple profiles to both events and documents.

1/24/2011 at 10:45 PM

Joe- can you tell me how to link a document to more than one event?

1/25/2011 at 4:22 PM


There is a subtle difference between linking an event to a document versus linking a document to an event. You can link only one event to a document--as far as I know--but you can link the same document to multiple events.

To link a document to an event, pick the event to which you wish to link the document. You will see the following sections in the event:

- People
- About This Event
- Photos
- Videos
- Documents
- Comments

Scroll down to the Documents section. If there are documents attached to this event already, you will see them in the Documents section. To link a new document, click the "Add Document" button on the Documents section header. Geni will then display four options:

- Upload a New Document - From your computer's hard drive.
- Browse Existing Documents - Add a document that you have already uploaded to Geni.
- Post a New Link - Add a document from the Internet.
- Create a New Document - Start a new text document.

Pick the option that is appropriate for you, and follow the instructions from Geni to complete the link.

Repeat this process, using the same document with another event, and you have linked the document to multiple events.

As I said before, linking multiple events to a document is not allowed. Further, if you link a document to multiple events, when you view the document, you will only see one event linked to it.

3/22/2011 at 4:17 PM

Hey, all, I noticed today that I no longer have the option to "Browse Existing Documents" to add a document to an event. I made sure that the profile is tagged in the document, but still I can't see my existing document as an option to add to my new event.

Is this a bug? Have they changed how documents/events relate? Am I just being confused?

3/22/2011 at 4:40 PM

Jennifer, it looks like we accidentally disabled this capability when we made it easier to create/upload new documents for events. We'll get that fixed for our next release. In the meantime, an alternative way to put a document on an event is to start at the document page, and clicking "Edit Document" from the Actions menu.

3/22/2011 at 8:01 PM

Thanks Mike, but that alternative doesn't work when there is more than one event to a document. I don't want to change the primary event that is on this document, so I'll just wait until the bug is fixed. At least I know it's not just me being dense!

3/22/2011 at 9:33 PM

Sorry for the troubles. I believe the plan is to release a fix this week.

Showing all 15 posts

Create a free account or login to participate in this discussion