What do you do with sources within a table?

I have been having a small discussion with another reader on how to cite sources to content that is included in tables.  Since we were not in alignment with our thinking I did some research.

The issue is not one of the form of the citation but rather where the citation ought to be located.  Should you 1.) just add a row at the bottom of your table and place your citations there or 2.) should the citations be in sequence with your others and be located at the bottom of the text?

Here is what I found:

Elizabeth Shown Mills does not address this on her website…..nor would I expect her to.  In her book, Evidence Explained, Ms. Mills states that The Chicago Manual of Style is “rooted” in this style manual.

website: https://www.evidenceexplained.com/

Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2007) p. 42.

The Chicago Manual of Style Online (CMS) states:

“3.74 Order and placement of notes to tables

Footnotes to a table are of four general kinds and, where two or more kinds are needed, should appear in this order: (1) source notes, (2) other notes applying to the whole table, (3) notes applying to specific parts of the table, and (4) notes on significance levels. Table footnotes always appear immediately below the table they belong to and must be numbered separately from the text notes. But if a multipage table contains no general notes and any specific notes pertain only to a single page, these notes may appear at the foot of the printed pages they apply to. In an electronic version that includes hypertext links, all footnotes are usually grouped at the bottom of the table.”

Emphasis is mine.  Note: it says at the bottom of the table, not at the bottom of the page or at the bottom of the text, except in the situation where you have a multipage table

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/16/ch03/ch03_sec074.html

In a review of the NGSQ over the past year, all articles with tables cited the source attached to the table itself and used superscript letters in lieu of numbers. (This is also consistent with CMS; however, the CMS also allows you to use symbols, such as asterisks and crosses, in lieu of letters.  The main criteria is to be different than the main body footnotes.)

I then checked out the The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, American Spirit (DAR), The American Genealogist and some other peer reviewed journals. If they had tables, the sources were within the tables and usually superscript letters. Single sources were embedded within the table and labeled “source: citation followed.”

I did a sample table following the examples i had seen.  This was a challenging example as there are so many citations.  It may also be possible to pull these citations out of the table itself and place them below but connected to the table. (see Tom Jones’s example.)  (Sorry this is so long; I got carried away.)  Note: the lines forming the table are lost on the blog posting.

Event Grietje Wennenga Bode Eda Wienenga Eckhoff
Birth date 19 October 1849a 12 April 1853a
Birth location
     1870 census, entry 1 Hanoverb not found
     1870 census, entry 2 Hanoverc
     1880 census Prussiad Hanoverb
     1900 census Germanye Germanyc
     1910 census Germanyf Germanyd
     1920 census Germanyg Weener, AUe
a. Iowa Department of Vital Statistics, death certificate 38-059 (1922), Grietje Bode; Vital Records Section, State of Iowa, Des Moines.b. 1870 U.S. census, Stephenson County, Illinois, population schedule, Ridott township, p. 32, dwelling 245, family 238, Henry Bode; digital image,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication  M593, roll 275.c. 1870 U.S. census, Stephenson County, Illinois, population schedule, Ridott township, p. 29, dwelling 224, family 217, Henry Bode; digital image,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 275.d. 1880 U.S. census, Kent County, Michigan, population schedule, 32nd Ward, Grand Rapids, p. 6, dwelling 49, family 59, Henry H. Bode; digital image,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 November 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 588.

e. 1900 U.S. census, Mahaska County, Iowa, population schedule, Black Oak township, p. 9B, dwelling 151, family 153, Gertrude Bode; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 446.

f. 1910 U.S. census, Butler County, Iowa, population schedule, Parkersburg, Albion Township, p. 5A, dwelling 113, family 115, Tamme R. Tammen; digital image,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 November 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 394.

g. 1920 U.S. census, Butler County, Iowa, population schedule, Parkersburg, Albion Township, p. 1A, dwelling 7, dwelling 7, Gertrude Bode; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 November 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication  T625, roll 480.

a. Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, death certificate 38-132 (1922) Eda Eckhoff; State Registrar, Des Moines.b.1880 U.S. census, Stephenson County, Illinois, population schedule, Ridott township, p.26, dwelling 243, family 243, Peter Eckhoff;  digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 259..c. 1900 U.S. census, Grundy County, Iowa, population schedule, Shiloh township, p. 6B, dwelling 101, family 105, Peter P. Eckhoff; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 434.d.1910 U.S. Census, Grundy County, Iowa, population schedule Shiloh township, p. 7A, dwelling 137, family 137, Peter Peters Eeckhoff; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T624 roll 403.

e.1920 U.S. census, Grundy County, Iowa, population schedule, Shiloh township, p. 5A, dwelling 118, family 112, Peter P. Eckhoff; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 489.

WordPress changes it a bit when I insert it into this blog post, so here is the link to a PDF as I see it in the document:

2012 1130 blog table example

A good example is found in a recent NGSQ article by Thomas W. Jones, “Misleading Records Debunked: The Surprising Case of George Wellington Edison Jr.”  In this article, probably created in Word, Dr. Jones has manually placed the citations at the end of the table but outside, and then placed a box around that.  The citation can then stay associated with the table.  He also used letters to differentiate from the superscript numbers of the citations of the text.  I took a PDF of that table and placed it here to show you:

2012 1202 table example Jones

I also wanted to check the flexibility of the major word processing software programs.   I tested two different word processing programs, Pages for MAC and Word for PC.

On a MAC with Pages:  you cannot link an event in a table to a source using the footnote feature, neither inside the table or out.  Not possible.  Option is greyed out.  Your only choice is to manually insert the superscript letter into the table and then cite the source by adding the extra row.  Manually, insert your letter and the source there.  The good news is that this works.  For you MAC users, I also tested the export feature and Word handled the table the same way as I had imputed it into Pages with no loss of format.

Using Word for MAC (which I admit might not be the same as Word on a PC):  You can cite an event in a table with a source in two locations, immediately under the table (but not in) or at the bottom of the page.  So, the option is to manually “force fit” them, like the MAC.  Also, I noticed that you cannot place some citations at the end of the table AND some at the end of the page.  You have to pick one location over another.

Comments and thoughts are always welcomed!

Happy Hunting!

Jill

What I have done since my last post:  recruited another writer for the SGS Bulletin, re-read the NGSQ Family History Writing Award winner (it’s an outstanding article for both content and style); went to my public library and browsed various genealogical magazines (very interesting…if you haven’t done that, you should), worked on my genealogical summary of the article I am writing for the Bulletin, and met with the SGS Librarian to work on a draft of writing guidelines that incorporates copyright protections for writers and SGS. I also have spent a fair amount of time working on this blog posting, reading EE, and working on putting together a trip with friends to SLC in February.

Source List

  1. Jones, Thomas W. “Misleading Records Debunked: The Surprising Case of George Wellington Edison Jr.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 100 (June 2012). National Genealogical Society. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org  : 2012.
  2. Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2007.
  3. Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained  https://www.evidenceexplained.com : 2012.
  4. University of Chicago. The Chicago Manual of Style Online http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org : 2010.
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5 comments on “What do you do with sources within a table?

  1. Nicely done, Jill! This is one of the most challenging aspects of footnoting, for sure!

    • jkmorelli says:

      Thanks! I love tables and what they can show (As an architect I tend towards being graphically inclined.) If there is a comparison to be made, I think first whether putting the content in the table would make it clearer.

  2. Allen says:

    This is an excellent and useful analysis of the challenges of footnote placement. Good work. Keep it up.

  3. Rachelle says:

    What a useful post…I will definitely refer to this in the future. Thanks!

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