Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year Blog Series: Genealogy Strategy #2

Strategy #2

Record source information for what you find when you find it.

It’s not enough to enter the information into your database, you need to make note of where you got it.

In The Beginning Times...once when I found a primary record that completely contradicted information that I had previously entered into my database, I was stumped as to which “fact” was correct because I had failed to document my source of the original information. I later found a sticky note that revealed it had come from a great aunt with a less than pristine memory. Armed with documented proof of the true facts, I corrected my family tree and vowed to sourcing each “fact” as it surfaced.

Learn from my mistake grasshopper...


Thomas MacEntee said...


A lesson learned by me as well. It's also important to press this issue with the new genealogist especially if that person doesn't have a research background. Stressing the importance of scholarship and attribution.

I've noted two free website apps at my tech blog that help in building a bibliography - this might be helpful not only in building a list of source citations but so users understand what goes into a cite.



Brian said...

I had the same problem when I started my research. I was so pulled into getting all of these cool names into my tree that I didn't stop to source it. Let's just say that it's been a lot of work to go back and do that.

Now, I source almost everything, even if it's just listed as "1860 Census" or whatever. It at least gives me and anybody else proof and a place to look for more info.