Cite Your Sources

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RULE NUMBER ONE: Cite Your Sources

When you’re starting out in research, with limited data, it’s easy to think that you can easily remember that Grandpappy or Aunty Jane contributed the family information you have. But eventually, your treasure of names and dates will increase until you realize there are TWO death dates for the same great-grandmother and can’t remember how either came to be in your records. Of course, this isn’t the only reason one should cite sources. In sharing or publication of information, whether in book or electronic format, it is even more crucial to document where information was obtained, in order to present a credible family record.

A very helpful article, which presents the need for citation, is W. Scott Simpson’s “My Plea for More Citation of Primary Sources”. He begins the article with the difference between those who really are genealogists, and those who simply collect genealogy.