Genealogy Sources And Citations

Welcome back; we will learn about the importance of documenting sources and how to attach their citations. I can not express enough concern for proper documentation in our research. We must not overlook this process, and as a result, we will dig deep to make sure we understand it’s importance. We will be looking at examples of various sources and citations and how and where recorded in the genealogy website and computer programs.

Document, Source, Citation

Documentation (sources) is vital to planning and executing genealogy research, collecting and recording data, and gathering research results. These documents appear in the form of working notes and shared genealogy research. Shared items include articles, blogs, charts, forms, family histories, reports. They also appear as educational material for genealogists.

It is then required to provide complete and accurate Citations to the Source(s) of each information item supporting a claim that the outcome has proven.

Here is a reminder of some essential Definitions:

  1. Document: The process of recording and showing the Source of concepts, evidence, images, and words that an author or compiler has used.
  2. Source: A container of information; includes all kinds of publications and unpublished artifacts, records, recordings, and written materials; may be used in a physical form or as a facsimile; may be classified as an original record, derivative record, or authored narrative.
  3. Citation: A Source reference that uses a standard format to describe the source.

Source – Let’s find one

My Sister has done a lot of genealogical research over the years. We have the same father but different mothers; she has passed on ancestors’ names and information on our father’s line. She has done a great deal of research, and I appreciate all her dedicated work. Having acknowledged all her work and thanks for sharing what she has found about our common ancestors, I still feel responsible for making sure I am not just coping with her results but verifying the information in the source documents and their citations. I am doing this not to prove her wrong, but when I pass this family history to my children, I am confident that the information is correct. If I am to pass on genealogy research to others, I am responsible for that information. I want to be as accurate as possible when searching for genealogy sources and citation examples.

I will be using, for example, the information of a Great Grandfather and Grandmother. The following details were given. I believe my sister had received most of this information from family members.

  • Andrew IVERSON
    • Birth Date/Place: 31 Oct 1872 -, Emmet, Iowa, United States
    • Married Date/Place: 21 May 1900-, Emmett, Iowa, United States
    • Death Date/Place: 28 Sep 1941 – Jack Creek twp., Emmett. Iowa, United States
  • Gertrude JOHNSON
    • Birth Place: Graettinger, Palo Alta, Iowa, United States
    • Death Date/Place: 6 Feb 1950 Union, Johnson, Iowa, Unites States

In my genealogy software program, Ancestral Quest, I can connect directly to genealogy search websites.

Started my search on Ancestry.

As you can see from the search results, the first result is someone else’s family tree. If I had no details for my g-grandparents, I could see what this family has found and taken notes of the information they gathered use it in my searches later.

Ancestry Research Example 1

We could stay with the Ancestry site and gather the necessary source info for this burial, but I like seeing the original. I can always return if needed.

What is the Source?

The record I want to look at is the U.S. Find A Grave Index, 1600-Current, so I click on “go to website.” Here is the Source. (Click Picture to Enlarge)

Ancestry Research Example 2

As you can see from the screenshot, a picture of the headstone and the cemetery where buried.

We also see from the screenshot the names of Andrew’s parents, which I will take note and use in further research.

Even though we are on the Ancestry site, I still would like to see the original.

As we go to Find A Grave, we can see the original picture that was taken by LucyT. (Click Picture to Enlarge)

Find A Grave Research Example 3

Existing and New Information

We can see from the Headstone that we have found verifies existing info and new additional info.

Find A Grave Headstone Example 4
  1. We have a middle initial “J” for Andrew.
  2. We confirm the Birth Year and Death Year for Andrew.
  3. We find out that Gertrude’s name is Gertina.
  4. We have a Birth Year for Gertina.
  5. And we now know where buried.
  6. Also, under the Memorial Tab, there is an obituary write up for both Andrew and Gertina, which will provide information to obtain the original document hopefully.

The headstone and its location gave me satisfaction knowing their burial plot. I never knew then, and in a way, it’s like an introduction.

What is the Citation for the Source?

The Citation for this source is: (Click Picture to Enlarge)

Find A Grave Citation Example 5

We need to have a full citation copy; I did a left click with my mouse dragged across the page and selected the information I wanted and printed because of a want a copy in my file folder. (Click Pic)

Ancestral Quest Source/Citation Example 6

I also put the source and citation into my Ancestral Quest software program under Andrew’s Name; that information will show up on printed reports. I used the same process for Gertina as I did for Andrew.

In Conclusion

The Internet is an excellent tool for genealogy research if appropriately used. The amount of information available is massive. It requires patience to sift through and determination to find the ancestor we are seeking and make sure it is an accurate source. Remember to attach or take notes of the citations, even if using the information from another’s family tree. Also, make sure to acknowledge the family and thank them for sharing their research. I enjoy this work so much, and it has so many rewards.

Thank you for taking the time.

I value your thoughts. Please feel free to comment and ask questions.

May your journey forward be full of gratitude for those who have come before.

Kindest Regards


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