Like genealogists everywhere, I love the thrill of the hunt – searching through online databases, records and books for tidbits of information about my ancestors and their lives! I admit that sometimes I get so caught up in the hunt and recording the information in my database that I haven’t always taken the time to properly cite my sources. I made notes on the sources – usually a copy and paste of the information to a text document – with every good intention of writing the source citations later.
In the last year, I’ve changed my errant ways and record my source citations as I go along. But I still have lots of catching up to do. This weekend I spent several hours going through those old documents (some back from November 2009!) and creating the proper source citations in my database. What I’ve learned from experience is that if I’d just done it right the first time, it probably would have taken me far less time!
It reminds me of this quote attributed to Jack Bergman:
There's never enough time to do it right,
but there's always enough time to do it over!
Take whatever steps are necessary to set up a system that makes it easy to create your source citations right the first time! Whether you use the templates available in your genealogy software, free-form citations that you write using Elizabeth Shown Mill’s Evidence Explained as a guide, or templates you create on your own in your word processing software, get that source citation written! It will save you time in the long run.
If you need help, here are three resources to make it easier:
- Cite Your Genealogy Sources: A Guide to Documenting Your Genealogy Research
- Genealogy Citations Made Easy
- Citation Guide
© 2012 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research