Thursday, November 26, 2009

Checklist for Citing Sources

We have all been cautioned to "cite your sources," but do you remember to do it? If you don't, maybe the following checklist will be helpful in reminding you to do this necessary task.

1. Have I listed a source for each fact not of common knowledge?

2. Have I used the proper format for the source, therefore providing a clear path so other researchers can find that source? Did I include the title of the book or article, name of author, date of publication and the name of the publishing company? If it was an original source, did I include the book title and page number and location of the record (i.e. Caldwell County, Kentucky Will Book B, p. 25, Caldwell County Clerk's Office, Princeton, Kentucky) It is also helpful to add the date the source was checked just in case that book or record gets moved or lost.

3. Have I acknowledged the work done by others? Have I unfairly passed off the work of other researchers as my own? If John Jones shared his research with me, including material I did not have, do I list him as the researcher?

4. Have I included original sources in my search for information? Thorough research includes an exhaustive search in a variety of records, not just online material.

5. Am I aware of the difference between oral tradition and facts? If Aunt Mary tells me Grandpa Jones died in 1899 and she saw the date listed in a Bible, did I list Aunt Mary as the source rather than the Bible I have not seen? Oral tradition can provide new avenues in our research, but should not be labeled as fact unless proven.

Citing sources should become a habit and is the mark of a good genealogist.

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