New at the DCB

Even though it’s chock full of interesting history, I rarely go to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography website. At the most recent visit, I found new biographies for BELL, FREDERICK McKELVEY; GREEN, THOMAS DANIEL; BÉDARD, JULIEN-AUGUSTIN and MACDONALD, ANNIE CAROLINE.

I checked it recently, not for the content so much as to see the length of the citations. Take the first paragraph of one for this recent addition.

MACDONALD, ANNIE CAROLINE , missionary, social reformer, and interpreter; b. 15 Oct. 1874 in Wingham, Ont., fourth of the five children of Peter Macdonald, a medical doctor and future Liberal mp , and Margaret Ross; d. unmarried 18 July 1931 in London, Ont., and was buried in Wingham.

The hatch, match and dispatch information is there, but with no citations to where the detail can be found. A genealogist might shudder at the omission.  Where do you come down in between wanting a series of facts, or a presentation of the significance of the person’s life. For me there’s enough in the article to allow follow-up with research in civil registration, census and other sources if you want, without being directed by a traditional citation.

One Reply to “New at the DCB”

  1. I’ve used the Dictionary of Canadian Biography a number of times in my research. I treat the site much like I treat any compiled profile of a person found in books. I don’t consider the information as gospel since I don’t know the sources for the facts being stated. However, I will make use of the various citations provided to point me to references that were consulted to create the biography. Of course, those references may be other books (and they may be new to me so that’s a win) so I may need to keep repeating the process with those books until I hopefully come to the actual source of the various facts concerning the person’s life.

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