We are now into Week 5 of the Genealogy Do-Over and are topics this week are (1) building a genealogy research box and (2) citing sources.
Genealogy Do-Over Toolbox 2015
My genealogy toolbox began about four years ago when I started to use Google for documents, books and newspapers. I have countless webpages that are booked mark. Going through them will be a tedious job and it is on my "to-do" list. In the meantime I have started a new toolbox, "Genealogy Do-Over Toolbox 2015" and as I weed through the old one I will only transfer those that are absolutely necessary into my new toolbox.
I created my new "2015" toolbox with a notebook in Evernote. I am still learning how to use Evernote but I have the notebook and notes down pretty good. Here are the categories I currently have in my toolbox: Maps, Newspapers, Archives, Digital Libraries, Favorite Websites and Calculators. I am very satisfied with the way my new "2015" toolbox is coming along but it is a work in progress. I have plans to incorporate my favorite sources for each state I research and by country. I haven't learned how to share my notebooks/notes from Evernote but here is the link for my toolbox https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eaBNcHHhzupTRIzX0pUR23nX2_8GfL91cGnaSrs40QY/edit?usp=sharing
Like many beginning genealogists I did not cite my sources, I collected names and trusted what I found in genealogical family histories in libraries or was given by other researchers without checking the facts for myself. I have since learned that all of that is a big no-no! Don't get me wrong I truly appreciate the work done by other family members before me especially since they did not have the resources I have today. I consider their work to be like a springboard because it allows me to see what they have done, it allows me to garner new leads or perhaps point me in a direction I had not considered previously.
Of course, I didn't know that there was an actual genealogical way to cite my sources when I first began research so many years ago. I used the method I was taught while I was in high school and then later in college where I learned the APA and MLA source citation formats. Now as I rebuild my new trees I am will be using the proper source citations.
How I View Sources
I see sources as a way to establish proof or evidence of fact(s) such birth, marriage, residence, occupation, relationships and death. I see sources as a way to determine evidence (ie: direct, indirect, primary, secondary etc.,) and how it relates to the person or persons I am researching. In tracking my sources I can locate the record(s) at a later date and/or provide it to someone else. There are other factors to be consider as well. Such as expanding my research into an ancestor's life with evidence I have already proven can help me to make a better determination when considering further or future research. Finally, my sources will allow me to find conflicting information in my past or current research when I discover new evidence.
Old Source Citations vs. New Source Citations
All source citations have the following information in them: Author's First & Last name, Title, Publisher and Date right? Not exactly. The source citation should include the following information: Author's First & Last name, Title, Publisher, Locator Information (ie: page or pages), and if it is an online source you will need to include the Date the source was accessed or retrieved, Examined (you examine the document for reference to John Doe).
For example when I was researching my ancestor Charles Coulson Rich, I accessed a book online by Leonard J. Arrington. I found this document at FamilySearch.org. and this is how I sourced it:
Arrington, Leonard J., Charles C. Rich - Mormon General and Western Frontiersman (https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE96564&from=fhd: accessed 4 September 2014.
I do not own a copy of Evidenced Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyerspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills, but I have become more familiar with her book through her posts on Facebook. I realize now that I am missing some information in that source citation. I believe it should look more like this:
Arrington, Leonard J., Charles C. Rich - Mormon General and Western Frontiersman, Brigham Young University Press, pp. 291-308 (https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE96564&from=fhd : accessed 4 September 2014).
My plan now is to carefully track all of my sources. Then I will slowly, carefully and correctly enter my source citations into my new tree.
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