Updated: Nov 20, 2020
3 minute read;
Originally on my Blogspot 2016
TLDR: cite everything and here are some great ways to take notes
Deep down that word is reserved for proving someone wrong in the English-lit world, but for our purposes in genealogy, it actually allows you to have superpowers. Hearsay or 2nd hand accounts need proof and power. Without where you found your data, it stands unreliable. In some places and cases sans source is not accepted or leads to following “cyclic redundancy errors” or “circle jerks”.
I have had the desire to cry when a person took my tree and placed a great-grandfather as the son of that great-grandfather because the name of the weird daughter was identical to fewer birth dates.
I am currently in the large project of sorting sources per person of 6475 people and I am hunting proofs for all of these specific persons. Massive corrections and massive work.
Remember when your living classification changes, your citations are someone else’s sources and it may be all they have to make their tree accurate.
Citation & Source Notes:
What data: Define what you expect to see because people can error in the search of that document-employment on some census data capture is the item we are looking for not the improper spelling of the room mate’s name)
Where was it captured: Websites change constantly, opinions vary and stories can change)
How was it captured: Verbal recording, transcription errors occur, sadly not recorded but over should entry form (was-)living
When was the data captured: Websites change and so do sources- like books.
Reliability and environmental condition: reliability can vary from the mental health of the source, the translations/ transcriptions can be super hard to convert to and from. Environmental conditions may include the fact the paper is scorched or the audio recording is fading, the persons in the room during recording can impact the source, the mental health could be noted here too.
Site of Original Source: Census and birth certificates can be actually scanned from source but the more hands it touches prior to making it to your collection the more error layers can be added. Google drive has first- hand picture of his baptismal certificate- a bad angle.
[Provider of Translations/Transcription]: Translation is an art and science. Some artists are just that -Artists.
Notes: (having fun with notes)
Original scan of a document found in an envelope in [users] notes. The hard copy was destroyed upon digitization due to the condition – coffee rings.
The hard copy was accidentally burned during [user] house fire.
The soft copy was lost due to a computer virus, and the hard copy was recycled. This source was verbally confirmed by said person.
This source is from a book with more grammatical and spelling errors than acceptable.
The hard copy has a layer of artistic colour. [toddler art]
Auntie was near Abuela [Source person] during the capture and would not discuss the conditions of Abuleos death. Auntie doesn’t know he is dead.
Teo was drunk. Source not credible- but it is all I have.
Robyn is unisex- I assume that she is a girl cause I am Robyn and a girl. Gender not provided.
The cemetery was moved twice. Body location undefined.
Death cause provided but no date… it has been 250 years I assume the person is dead. No images to conclude vampire or zombie effects.
Mass grave indicated. No specifics.
Citation - What are the specifics of the information or evidence provided by this source? Detail (required) Enter the title, or the film number, volume, etc. DateEnter the publication date of the document or material. Transcription of text Transcribe or cut-and-paste exact wording from the source. Other information Enter any other pertinent information related to this citation. Web Address If the source was found on the Internet, enter the URL here.
Before my superpower:
Where is the file:
A great example source citation of an easy one:
What data: Name, Birth, death, funeral, burial location. Funeral Card
Where was it captured: Original from Event when descendant attended in 1975. Scanned digitally by Robyn Morales August 18, 2012, 11:14:46 PM
How was it captured: Hard copy by attendance. Soft copy by a computer scanner
When was the data captured: August 18, 2012, 11:14:46 PM
Reliability and environmental condition: 4.5/5 original is in good condition if re-scan is needed.
Site of Original Source: soft: C:\Users\robyn\Google Drive\Genealogy\Person\Wendelin Senger [L89N-5FV] and hard: FJ Senger document collection
Citing sources you can find again makes it shareable… both ways more “provable” data to share.