Analyzing the quality of a cited source is important to reaching sound genealogical conclusions. This is true not only when you initially record the source information and reach a conclusion, but in the future. You may find information that contradicts what you have and need to reconsider the soundness of your conclusion. The source quality is also relevant to other genealogists and historians as they consider your conclusions. For these reasons it is best to record the quality with the information in your genealogy software.
The GEDCOM standard includes a field for capturing a genealogist’s evaluation of the quality of a cited source. It’s called the “QUAY” record (don’t worry, there won’t be a test later) and the standard documents it this way:
The QUAY tag’s value conveys the submitter’s quantitative evaluation of the credibility of a piece of information, based upon its supporting evidence. Some systems use this feature to rank multiple conflicting opinions for display of most likely information first. It is not intended to eliminate the receiver’s need to evaluate the evidence for themselves.
0=Unreliable evidence or estimated data
1=Questionable reliability of evidence (interviews, census, oral genealogies, or potential for bias for example, an autobiography)
2=Secondary evidence, data officially recorded sometime after event
3=Direct and primary evidence used, or by dominance of the evidence
Reunion for Mac supports this field in its GEDCOM imports and exports as well as in source citations displayed in the program and its reports. Although the software will dutifully store whatever value you input, you may want to consider following the standard.
In this video from the MacGenealogist Archives, I show you how to add the quality of data field to genealogy source records within genealogy software Reunion for Mac and to change its appearance in endnotes.