Genealogy Source Citations Quick Reference
To me an accurate source citation is more than just how we know “where we got the information.” It’s more than how a reader can reproduce your research or assess the quality of your sources.
Family Tree Maker User: Use of Source Citation Template - LDS Film
A proper source citation for a record is the equivalent of an address and phone number for a person. Every address and phone number must include certain elements, if people are to successfully contact the party they seek.
I’ve been attaching the source citation to the sentence that states the fact found in the source, and the citations are all endnotes. However, there are several sources that I use over and over again – most notably a short biographical sketch written by my ancestor himself and an article about him. Both citations look like this:
Secondary source citations are not just for direct quotations. For instance, when referencing Rogers's adult learning theory, if you did not find the information in Rogers, your citations for the material should be in secondary source format.Citing online or other technology sources is a special case, although the basics still apply. Remember that the implied factors for traditional source citations do not apply and we must be literal to help others find the work.Experienced genealogists agree that accurately recording the full citation data from a source the first time is essential. You may vividly remember those first few finds; but, as more and more information is gathered, details blur, contradictory data is found and memory is not sufficient. Nor is it sufficient to declare, "I wouldn't have written it down if it weren't true." Whether the source is a probate court record, a yellowed newspaper clipping, grandfather's diary, or a conversation with your father, cite your sources. Whether you take notes on a computer, hand-write them, make copies on a copier or dictate them into a tape recorder, practicality, credibility, and ethics require careful source citations. Most of us must also admit that we've occasionally neglected to do that and had to backtrack -- time and effort we'd rather have spent seeking new information. Make every effort to note all of the elements of a source while it is still in your hands.Source citations in proposals for new and revised subject headings serve two purposes: to allow for vetting of the proposal during the editorial review process, and to provide a permanent reference for future consultation.Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Sandra Hargreaves Leubking, The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, Ancestry, Inc., Salt Lake City, 1997. [The first chapter of this updated classic should be required reading for all genealogists, new and old. It details basic principals of genealogical research including a well stated argument for thorough source citation.]Citation of an “LC pattern” in a 952 field is not a substitute for source information provided in the 670 fields. Source citations provide intellectual support for the need for the heading and references, while the LC pattern justifies the form of heading and references.The authority record also serves as a permanent record of the rationale for proposing the heading. Catalogers use the source citations of approved headings to understand what the headings mean and how they should be used. Catalogers also use the citations to assist them when considering whether to propose another heading.1 This example is adapted from Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1941) 110–11. Sources and Citation at Dartmouth College 6On printouts, a single source citation will print only once, and show the same footnote number, regardless of how many events were found in that source.In both our personal notes and the work we make public, our source citations should include that interpretative data. In short, once we refer researchers to a specific source, we are obligated to alert or caution them, as they may be less experienced with the materials.Source citations have their own basic elements that we must learn. They differ somewhat, according to the type. To strip them down to the barest essentials:For the latest guidance on source citations, traditional and electronic, the Board for Certification of Genealogists highly recommends Elizabeth Shown Mills' (Baltimore: Genealogical Publ. Co., 1997), available from GPC or BCG at $16.95 plus $3.50 postage.