Sunday, February 3, 2013

Genealogical Proof Standard - Step 2 - Complete and accurate source citations

I talk about citing your sources all the time so you can be sure that I think it is very important.  As you are doing your exhaustive search, you need to be recording a complete source citation.  Again, this is where your Research Calendar comes in handy. You will have the date and time you did the search, what you searched [complete citation], what you were hoping to find and what you did find all in one place.  When it comes time to write up your report with your findings it will be easy if you have recorded your information this way.  When I first started out I didn’t bother with research calendars because I thought they were more trouble that they were worth but I was so wrong about that.  I use them religiously now when working on genealogical dilemmas and I keep them as part of my file. If you do a full citation as you are putting your calendar together, you will have that citation later when you need it without having to go back to Evidence Explained or The Chicago Manual of Style to try and get it formatted right.  If you have your research calendar in your computer, you can just copy and paste the citation.

You can read The Basics of Citing Your Sources for more info.  Since I wrote that post, I found another great resource.  I highly recommend Tom Jones’ Seeing the Forest AND the Trees (and Their Leaves): Mastering the Craft of Genealogical Documentation.  He will help you understand why citing your sources correctly is so important and he breaks down the citations to make them easier to understand. James Tanner wrote a GREAT blog post on sources just this past Wednesday.  Please read More Thoughts on Sources.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Michele, your link to the Tom Jones piece goes to your Basics post. Can you fix it?

    Thanks -- Randy