A. “Source citation” can sound like a technical term, but its really just recording where you found each record or piece of genealogical informationthat way you or anyone else can go back to recheck the original record.
Different sources are cited different ways. For books, record the title, author, publisher (with the location), year of publication, where you found the book (the name of the library or the person who lent it to you), library call number (if it came from a library) and page numbers containing the referenced information, like so:
Carmack, Sharon Debartolo and Erin Nevius, eds., The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists (Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2004), 219-220.
For examples of citations for a variety of sources, such as census records, vital records and oral history interviews, download our Source Citation Cheat Sheet as a PDF.
This citation Web tool will automatically format various types of citations based on what you type in about the source.
Where and when to cite your sources is another important issue. As JustJean says in the FamilyTreeMagazine.com Forum, include a full citation on the front side of every photocopied record or page from a book, so the citation won’t get separated from the data.
Most genealogy software lets you type in source details or even link a digitized record when you add information to your tree. If youre using paper, you can number all your photocopied records and add the numbers to your family group sheets. For example, if Grandmas birth certificate is record number 17 in your files, youd write 17 next to her birthdate on a family group sheet. (Most dont note sources on a five-generation ancestor chart.)
You also might keep a log of the sources youve found and what pertinent information they contain.
For an in-depth look at source citation, see Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills (Genealogical Publishing Co., $49.95).
Readers, click Comments to add your own source citation advice.