Genealogical Research Source Citations

All professional genealogists should provide source citations to all of the genealogy research information they collect for your family history. As a consumer you should expect and demand this service. To give credibility to your personal genealogical research it is very important to create a source citation that describes the source of the genealogy research information you discover and attach it to your genealogy research in the form of a footnote. Footnotes are best because it will always be on the same page along with the genealogy research information you discover.

There are a number of basic templates depending on the type of source such as online historical resources, ancestry.com databases and images, archival manuscripts, articles, books, censuses, electronic data, local government records, and microform. These are available in the form of a “Quicksheet” by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, MD, or in the book “Evidence, Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian” by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, MD, 1997.

Simply put, the goal for citations is for anyone to be able to read your source citation and be able to find exactly where you found your genealogical research source. Any genealogy research information that you find that does not have a source citation should be viewed as only a suggestion that requires followup genealogy research. Any information that is not considered common knowledge should have a source citation.

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