What are some of the issues related to sources and citations?

Lately, as you know, I have been struggling with my lineage report.  By Tom Jones’s admission on the BCG videos, it is the most complex report of all that are written.  Should I cite as I go along?  Should I write some and then cite?  What if I do not have the source for the citation (doesn’t happen often)?  What if I want to include information about X but I have no source at all? What if the source is in Iowa and I cannot go there to get it?

Well, these are all issues I have faced this past few days.  Here is what I did to assist with some of these questions:

  • I decided to do a little writing and a little citing!  It seemed like the right balance.  I actually like the act of writing the citations.
  • I went to my public library and copied the Elizabeth Shown Mills September 1999 NGS special edition about Evidence.  I particularly liked the graphic way she defined the words sources, information and evidence.
  • I asked a friend of mine in Iowa to see if they had the birth certificates I was looking for.  They were supposed to be at the county level.  Unfortunately they didn’t have any of them, so I have to go to the state.  I might not get them for two months!  She, however, did find the land purchase document for my ggrandfather’s farm and I am excited to get that!

So, sometime we just have to incrementalize what we are doing, make a list and check things off.

This will be my last post until mid-next week.  Happy hunting!


What I have done since the last post: copied many of the recent NGS annual writing awards (usually lineage reports) to get ideas about my own.  Big takeaway:  have a theme for your lineage and do not be afraid to write narrative at the beginning to provide context.


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