14 May 2006

Keep your Sources in Cite

14 May 2006
When I first started my interest in genealogy I quickly found a lot of information that I just couldn't wait to enter into my family tree software. The whole subject was so new, interesting and exciting that I ignored all the advice about making sure I cited my sources ... that is, that I also entered details of where the information I was entering came from.

However, as time went on and my interest deepened and the amount of information I had grew and grew I often needed to look back at those original entries so that I could verify them, only I no longer could remember where the information had come from in the first place! If I had just taken the time to enter even basic information such as "1881 Census" or whatever, at least that would have given me a clue. As it was, many times I had no idea where the information came from - much to my regret.

As time went on, I was able to find out some of the sources and made a point of entering those sources into my software but I still have several "holes" where I'm not sure where a particular piece of information came from.

I have learnt my lesson and now I enter my sources as detailed as possible and if you want to save yourself headaches in the future, you'll do so too!

Recommended Reading: "Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian" by Elizabeth Shown Mills

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Christi said...

You're absolutely right. This is a great article. I think that it is a great idea for people to educate themselves about these things before they begin, that way they save a lot of time, as well as frustration later on. You can also get a file cabinet for your records, and separate them with folders. If there are documents that should be in several locations, make a copy and file it within any appropriate location. That way you'll always be able to find what you need in a hurry. It is your "hard copy" back-up, and you have your computer records as the main family tree through your software. I also found quite a few good tips at People Search News

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