Sources

Site your sources of genealogical information. This is a case of don’t do as I did; do as I say. When I started doing my family history about 1976 I would make copies when I could but many books couldn’t be copied because they were too old or too fragile. So I would hand write notes but didn’t record where I got the information. Now it is many years later and I have people sending emails asking where I got got my information from. It is really embarrassing to have to say that I am not sure where it came from. Just last year, I went through the very old copies in my file cabinet and added my reference sources for those. I have been able to find some books online and have been added many reference sources. But, there are some facts that I found on genealogy travels that I won’t ever be able to figure out where I got them from.

No one had personal computers in 1976. I typed family pages by hand. In the early 1980s genealogy programs didn’t have methods to record your sources. Now, genealogy programs make it easy to record where you got every piece of information. Elizabeth Shown Mills has a couple of great books on recording sources. Plus she has published “Quicksheets” showing how to reference online sources. Most important is that you just record your sources. So if in the future you or anyone else ever need to go back, you can.