Footnotes! Footnotes! Footnotes! Part 2

How do you manage footnotes while you are writing so their inclusion does not halt the flow of your writing?

footnotesI struggled with this while I wrote my Kinship Determination Project (KDP) and Case Study for my portfolio for certification for the Board for Certification of Genealogists. [1]

In the end, I employed two basic techniques.

First, I internalize information as I do my research and take copious notes. Before I started writing, however, I also reread several key documents I had deemed critical to the research question. Then, I started writing. I do not consider myself a great writer, but once I “get going,” I do not like to stop. Here is what I do to accommodate my “with the flow” approach to citation inclusion.

I write three, four or even ten paragraphs before I pause. At those pauses, I go back to what I have written, do some rough editing and insert a “dummy citation.” Yes, it could be a real footnote if I have all the information handy, but instead of pulling out the document and figuring out how to cite the evidence, I insert number for the footnote and insert a code for the source, for example, DR HJB. This would tell me I needed to cite the death record of Henry J. Bode at that location. There may be many of these “dummy citations.”

I enter a footnote everywhere I think a footnote is needed. For every dummy citation I put where I think/know the information is found.  I rarely leave one blank.

Then I  continue writing.

At a (later) time of “citation inspiration,” I return to what I have written and start entering “real” citations. I dig out the source, confirm that it actually supports the statement, check Evidence Explained to see if there is any construction guidance and then build the citation. [2] If the content does not support the statement I am making, I have two choices: I can rewrite the paragraph so it is supportable or I go looking for a source that supports the statement.

This process allows me to keep up with the flow of writing, but also reminds me of a need for a citation. How do you handle the flow and the citation timing?

You might find it interesting to read my first blog on this topic, Footnotes! Footnotes! Footnotes!

Happy hunting!


What I have done since the last post: worked on my Timelines presentation for the Olympia GS to be given in March. I have a “never-evers” presentation I need to put together for February. I am excited about some great speaking opportunities that are coming my way for 2017.  I listened to some webinars on Legacy. I thought Gena Philibert-Ortega’s on “Social History” was particularly good.


[2] Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, third edition (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2015).


One comment on “Footnotes! Footnotes! Footnotes! Part 2

  1. […] Footnotes! Footnotes! Footnotes! Part 2 by Jill Morelli on Genealogy Certification: My Person Journey […]

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