Friday, November 18, 2011

SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part I

From: Sue McCormick
Maybe I should post this at the Second Life Facebook page, since it is a follow-up on last night's Evidence Explained discussion. 

Background: 3-1/2 years ago (when I was VERY green) a distant cousin sent me a decendancy report with lots of citations and notes. He sent it as a way of helping me learn what I should do. At that time I just used it to explore how to do in Reunion what he had done in Family Tree Maker. I saved the entire email correspondence and went on to the next thing.

Since working with the Greenwood book, Researchers Guide to American Genealogy, I have been creating the logs I should have done then. A death listing which was on "" when Mike compiled this report is NOW on "". I am building my source citation now. I am not sure if this reference to the material supplied by Mike should include the location where he found the information or not. If so, do I also cite the new location? Or does all this that I'm outlining here go into the Search Log?

The basic question is: which approach will give the best information to someone wishing to follow my research?
I am making a screen capture of the website and saving it to my files. I always do that since the web tends to evaporate.

Explaining the journey we take in our ancestral quest is very important, and your research log is a great way to keep track of things. Yes, cite every instance of information you find about your ancestor whether email, online, or off line.

Compiling an accurate research log permits folks to see what sources you considered when compiling info about each ancestor. In comments on your research log, note the source of death info on IndianaGenWeb site appears to be same as provided to you via email years earlier. 

If the information on now on IndianaGenWeb's site  is merely a new web address for the same page, then list both, and the approximate dates you consulted each site. This has happened to a lot of USGenWeb sites that formerly had their own sub-domains at RootsWeb, but chose not to have their work incorporated into properties after Ancestry purchased RootsWeb.

I do have a follow-up blog post with some additional ideas for dealing with "who provided the info". 

SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part II
SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part III
SOURCES: Did you view it personally
Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.


  1. OK, I bought the book and it is really complicated. I had never, ever thought to source as thoroughly as this book suggests. I do see the benefit to future researchers using my family history to have it sourced in a way that it can be found again by them. I do have a question. I found a will at Family Search. It is in their collection, "North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970 - Edgecombe." Under that collection, I found the will in "Wills, 1758-1830, Vol. 09." The will consists of image numbers 214 and 215. It was filmed by The Genealogical Society of Utah at Raleigh, NC, 28 July 1941. Following the suggestion in the book, I am thinking the URL should reference the Wills Volume where I found the will. How should this source appear in my database?

  2. This is how I did it. Does this look right to you?

    North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970, Edgecombe County, Wills,
    1758-1830, Vol 09, SCH-THOM. "William Marin." 20 December
    1783. Recorded 6 Aug 1783. Filmed by The Genealogical Society of
    Utah at Raleigh, North Carolina 28 July 1941. Digital Images 214 and
    215. Accessed 20 Nov 2011.

  3. Your genealogy program should take care of the issue for you, as there is a field for the URL. What program are you using?