Genealogy is about analysis and interpretation. One cannot analyze or interpret if one cannot determine exactly what one is looking at.
That’s the problem with the images of marriage records in the “United States Marriages” on FindMyPast.com. I can guess what am looking at. I may have a good idea what I am looking at. But the fact remains that this index jumps too directly to the image of interest. The image screen does not allow me to view the page or image before the item I have located. The image screen does not allow me to view the page or image after the item I have located. It takes me only to the image the index refers to and that’s it. I can’t move around. I’m stuck on that image. There is no left turn. There is no right turn. There is only reverse.
There’s no way to see the title cards that are a part of virtually every roll of Family History Library microfilm.
There’s no way to see the front cover of the ledger from which the record was taken (in the cases where the images were made from books). If a license was contained in a packet there’s not way to see that packet.
The screen shot illustrates. I can start a “free family tree” but I can’t see what comes on the page before.
One can surmise that the previous image is a marriage license. It still would be nice to be able to cite it in some way shape or form.
This item was located by searching for Thomas Sledd marrying in Kentucky.
This is all that is on the image.
And there is no way to date or source it at all because I cannot navigate. Pretty hard to analyze it when it’s just dropped into my screen.
The folks at FindMyPast.com apparently do not know what a transcription is either.
The “transcription” from FindMyPast is shown below. It is not a transcription. It is an abstract. The definitions I’ve used aren’t ones that I arbitrarily made up for a blog post. They are pretty well accepted in the genealogy community, except for FindMyPast which seems to have it’s own definitions.
Per Evidence Explained (Elizabeth Shown Mills, 3rd edition, 2015, page 832), a transcription is “an exact copy of a record…” and an abstract (page 820 ) is a “condensed version of a record.”
The image on FindMyPast is a duplicate of the record. The “United States Marriage Transcription” would more correctly be termed an abstract.
This may be quibbling about definitions, but using the appropriate genealogical terminology would indicate that the publisher was cognizant of current trends in genealogy methodology and terminology.