Sunday, October 28, 2012

Citing as you go

Miriam Robbins asked via Facebook how to cite a private Facebook message in one's genealogy management program. Bravo for staying on top of things, Miriam!

Ol' Myrt here used to feel wary of citing email, akin to a Facebook message, but have realized the folly of failing to do so. Such unsubstantiated info seems shaken at best, however... 

Early in the research process, that email or Facebook message may be all I have to go on. While I plan to find reliable, original records with primary info about an ancestor, the fact is I am usually unable to do this on a timely basis. Life happens. I get caught in Grandmother Mode, or stumble across info on the other side of my family tree. 

To ignore citing an email or Facebook message in my genealogy software means I might not remember with whom to discuss additional info culled from subsequently discovered documents, perhaps months later. 

Also, there is a difference between citing all sources during the research process and citing sources in the final proof argument.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
G+: +Pat Richley-Erickson
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont


  1. So, how would you cite it? Not only would I cite it, I'd take a screenshot of it, since everything on Facebook is so fleeting and hard to find again.

  2. I'd cite it like an email, and attach the screen shot.

  3. I've done this with FB and messages from If you have a pdf writer (easier if you have a mac as it is built in) and I print to a pdf. It makes it a nice format and a bit cleaner to print for the binder. In my science life I list these as personal communications and have a tendency to list as PC in gen. life, too.