Actually, it really doesn’t matter where on the internet you find the transcribed document. I am just using USGenWeb as an example because it just so happens there is a transcribed document there that I am interested in. It is a roster of the Grand Lodge [Masonic] of Georgia, 1854 St. John's Lodge No. 100, Haysville, Columbia County. There is someone on the list that I am researching (W. Q. Spires). My first move is to email the submitter and hope that the email address is still valid. I am going to ask her where the document is and if she has an image of it. I always try and get the original document if I can.
If I can’t contact the submitter, or if she doesn’t know where the document is now and doesn’t have an image of it, I will use the transcription as a source. This isn’t the route I want to go but if I have to do this then hopefully the submitter will be able to provide me with some additional information that I can add to the source to make it more credible (when and where she saw the document, for example). The more information that I have about the document the better the citation will be. If she doesn’t have an image but knows where the document is then I will try and get the image myself.
There is another question you might be asking, how is a simple roster from the Masons useful information? It puts W. Q. Spires in Lincoln County in 1854. I can add this to his timeline. It also gives me a list of his associates. One name in particular stands out, J. P. M. McCord. I am pretty sure that W. Q. Spires is William Spires that married Mary McCord so this J. P. M. McCord definitely interests me.
Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis