Friday, January 06, 2006

WHERE to insert source citations

NOTE: Its best to view this column on the web at:

From: Julia Duffel
I have the PAF (Personal Ancestral File) program. I haven't been able to figure out how or where I go on it to put my references of where I found my information.


There are 2 schools of thought. I subscribe to the "old school" and put everything in notes.
[see web version of this column for a screen shot]

Others click the small "s" beside each event in PAF and add the source citation using the source fields.

[see web version of this column for a screen shot]

The reason I put it ALL in notes, is that I often need to see "everything" on the person's life, and in fact need to copy and paste the info from notes to email when someone asks me about a specific ancestor in my database. I don't want things hidden over next to the birth and death fields or in the marriage data entry screen of PAF. In notes, I can just take a quick glance and see what evidence I've already collected, and where I might need to strength my case for lineage assumptions.

Myrt links all the digitized images of source documents as additional "photos" for all individuals mentioned in the document if they are in my database. For instance, if a man dies, leaving a widow who provides the information for his death certificate, I'd link a copy of her spouse's death certificate to her collection of multi-media files. The purpose of those files is to prove she was in a specific place at a certain time.

There is no problem using the "s" source citation button in PAF. In fact, the fields guide us into providing a complete reference, not just a general reference. Source fields include:
Source TitleAuthor
Publication Information
Call NumberCitation Detail
Date record was made
Actual Text
(There is also a button to attach a digitized image of the source document.)

I believe that process for inserting source document has greatly improved with the addition of the source citation fields. Its hard for anyone just starting out to know how one might appropriate explain where they got some information on an ancestor. Ol' Myrt here had to work long and hard to perfect her source citations in notes without a screen prompting me to put all the necessary sections in a paragraph format. -- 'nuff rambling.

LET'S JUST GET THOSE SOURCES CITED in notes or wherever.

By the way, whenever you don't know how to do something in PAF (or any other program for that matter), just consult the "HELP FILES" by clicking "Help" on the menu bar. In the screen shot in the web version of this column, I then clicked "Index" and typed in the word "source" (without quote marks.) Note the variety of subtopics. By double-clicking an item on the left side of the help screen the details show up on the right side of the screen. You can print the topic if you wish further study.


-- Mills, Elizabeth Shown. QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Resources.

-- Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207

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