Thursday, October 2, 2014

Save Your Sources

*All screen shots taken from and

Sources Sources Sources!

I will start off by saying I am not a profession genealogist.  But, if there is one thing anyone reading this blog can away is Sources!  It can’t be said enough in genealogy. 

I wish I had read that when I first went hunting.  I have since read many blogs where the question was asked of the blogger, “If you could start all over again, what would you do differently?”  And they all say SOURCES!  A source citation, at it’s simplest, is a record of where you found your information.  It allows you and anyone you may share you tree with, know where you found this fact(s). 

Now, it is difficult to get the hang of coming up with a source citation yourself.   Luckily, most of the mainstream websites have a way of providing the source citation for you.  You just need to save it, and put it where you can find it again. 

When I first started, I did some note taking and then some poor attempts at saving my sources.  I am now finding that they are only mildly helpful in getting me back to the record I originally found my fact within.  That sucks!  And then you go fishing again.

I use to save my tree online.  I also have a program on my computer on which I keep a copy well. 

On Ancestry I use their source tool.   Is the way I use it cringe-worthy?  Most probably to a professional genealogist.  But, in the future, if someone (or myself) uses my tree as a reference, they should be able to get back to exactly where I found the record.

I divide my “Source Titles” up into something somewhat general.  Such as all Civil Marriages Registrations in a particular town such as this;

Since I grab many of my Mexican records from, I expand the source citation at the bottom of the page where the record is located and select “Copy Citation”.  

I then paste that into the “Details” line of Ancestry.  But here is the problem; usually the source citations from Family Search are too long for the details section.  To truncate it, I will then pull the part out that is called for else where on Ancestry’s Source tool; the web address URL. (I leave the date accessed though)
I then place the web address (URL) in the “Web Address” a few spaces down.  I finish up by indicating what fact(s) this record is a source for and click save.

Believe me, the moment this hobby become addictive, you will wish you had done this part.   I now spend a lot of my time re-finding records I have already seen, to better source my tree.  It’s better to do it (semi) right the first time.[1]

[1] Sorry profession genealogist everywhere!

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