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).

Footnotes! Footnotes! Footnotes!

Do you manage your footnotes or do they manage you?

When writing my Kinship Determination Project (KDP) for my portfolio, I had trouble keeping  the footnotes “complete and accurate.”[1] They should add “consistent’ to this rubric.

I thought I had a plan. I didn’t; or the one I had didn’t work so well; or maybe it worked as well as could be expected.

Nevertheless, I thought I would outline my process. Hopefully, you can find some ideas you can use or perhaps learn from my mistakes.

I would also be interested in how you manage your footnotes when writing  a footnote intensive paper. I would like to improve this process.

Note: I don’t use RefNote or any specialized software. I used Word.

I did OK for most of the KDP in keeping my footnotes consistent.   I attained what consistency I did have by keeping a record in Word of every type of footnote and using the style as a template for future footnotes of the same type.  The footnotes were arranged by record type in the Word document–all the death footnote types were together, all the electronic ones were together, etc.

But, I learned as I wrote and some things shifted in the footnote creating inconsistencies.

Every footnote was entered as a full footnote. I did not make it a shortform, even if I knew there was a similar reference before it, until I was completely done with the paper. If I knew (or thought) that a footnote was previously used, I put the letters SF, for “short form,” at the beginning of the footnote.  If the footnote was a candidate for Ibid., I put that at the beginning as well. But I  did not convert it to a SF or an Ibid. until the very end of the writing process. Reason? I was moving around paragraphs of information right up until the end.  At one point I removed about 1000 words from my KDP. I knew I had to be careful. It also didn’t matter if I made a mistake because I knew I had to check every one.

By the time I got to the end of writing the document, inconsistencies in my formatting of even the typical footnote templates, had slipped in. I had also knew that there were consistencies, even if accurate.

So, I re-reviewed every footnote at the end of writing the paper. (Which I think you would have to do anyway.) Here is how I reviewed all my footnotes:

I first made sure that all footnotes were the same font type, size and black in color.

Starting with footnote number 1 and going in order:

  1. I made all my footnotes into endnotes and copied them into a single Word document (I called this document the “Endnotes”). Then I changed the document with endnotes back into one with footnotes.
  2. Working back and forth between the document and the Endnotes, I checked to make sure that footnote #1 was accurately reflecting the content of the cited work, complete and in a format that was most consistent with the narrative.
  3. I re-checked each one against Evidence Explained [2] so I knew where I deviated and why.
  4. I used the Find feature to see if I had any duplicates of that footnote. Since even the most typical footnote had a unique identifier, this was not hard. (Obviously, the first footnotes were unique, so this happened later in the writing.)
  5. On the Endnotes, I changed the color of that particular footnote to green, when I was completed with checking for correctness, accuracy, consistency.
  6. Repeat, until you find a source that has already been cited. Create the shortform. Copy the shortform and paste into the Endnotes, under the first full citation.
  7. As you go, adjust the footnotes to include Ibid., if appropriate.
  8. When you are done, all Endnotes will be green; all shortforms and Ibid.s will be entered and you will have checked all against other similar footnotes for consistency. And you will have checked each type against Evidence Explained.
  9. Pat yourself of the back and repeat for the Case Study! [3]

I hope it doesn’t sound confusing. It went quite smoothly and quicker than I thought.  I am visual so the color coding was essential. The Find feature was a godsend. If I discovered an inconsistency, I could identify all of the affected footnotes and change them one-by-one.

That describe how I handled them when the document was finished.  Next we will look at how I did ciations during the writing process so they didn’t put a full stop on the flow of the writing.

Happy hunting!


What I have done since the last posting: I know it has been some time since I posted but I have traveled to the Eastern time zone 3 times in about 10 days.  Plus made presentations in about 10 venues. I also am Seattle Genealogical Society’s president.  It’s been an active fall, but is now winding down as we get ready for our daughter’s wedding in Boston.  Looking forward to it and to a little relaxation afterwards.

[1] “Rubrics for Evaluating New Applications for BCG Certification, revised 18 January 2016,” Board for Certification of Genealogists ( : accessed 9 November 2016).
[2] Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained, Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, third edition (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2015).
[3] I wanted to make this a 12-step program, but I just couldn’t come up with two more steps to my process! 🙂



Book Review: Genealogy Evidence by Noel C. Stevenson,

Gen Evid bk StevensonStevenson, Noel C. Genealogical Evidence: A Guide to the Standard of Proof Relating to Pedigrees, Ancestry, Heirship and Family History. Laguna Hills, California: Aegean Park Press, 1979, revised 1989.

What can you learn from a book written almost 35 years ago and revised 25 years ago? A lot!

To state the case most simply: if you are working on your portfolio, you need to have this book close by. Let me explain why.

Noel C. Stevenson, J.D., FASG  is one of genealogy’s icons of the most recent past generation, serving as President of the American Society of Genealogists from 1985-1986. [1]  His book, Genealogical Evidence is recognized as a pioneer in defining a common genealogical vocabulary, constructing a standard for source analysis and providing guidance for assessment of evidence.[2]  Thus, in the genealogy of genealogy, this book is an “ancestor” to Evidence Explained  by Elisabeth Shown Mills and Mastering Genealogical Proof by Tom Jones. [3]

The content covers common genealogical problems and establishes guidelines for their assessment.  For example, The first chapter on “Paternity, Maternity, Legitimacy and Illegitimacy” discusses “Age and Paternity” and “Age and Maternity,” where Stevenson discusses the ages one can expect parents to be within and ones that are outside that realm.  When you are looking at the age of the father at 16 and the age of the mother at 13 in your case study, what do you say about the likelihood of that happening? Stevenson will give you guidance and his work is a respected source. Is your case study a question of identity?  If so, Stevenson has an entire chapter on that topic.

Stevenson then breaks down records into two groups — public and unofficial records, the latter being everything that isn’t public, such as bibles, church records, tombstones etc., and covers types of records within those two broad categories. With each source type he begins with a short history of the development, and then describes their relative accuracy. Another great inclusion is the list at the end of these chapters which describe the various locations one can obtain the information desired if the single source does not exist.  The list for location of evidence of marriage, considered a public record, is 21 items long.  These other locations for marriage records may assist you in breaking down some of your brick walls or verify that you have truly completed your “exhaustive research.”

As a lawyer, his narrative concerning court records is especially note worthy. Stevenson brings a depth of understanding of the types of courts, their history and the records found there. He covers the types of marriages and the legality by state of common law marriages.  In this era, laws of marriage are changing so rapidly this list may be outdated, but it gives you a place to start.  This section (and others) are laced with examples which focus the reader on the analysis and the conclusions that can be drawn from the court records.  He even discusses, with examples, false pedigrees and some of the genealogical hoaxes that have been committed and still exist today.

Val Greenwood’s book, The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, another iconic book, looks at source types; Stevenson’s addresses source types but then investigates each source type for the type of information it might contain and discusses the inherent validity of the evidence you may find within that source type. It is true that Stevenson uses terms like “circumstantial evidence” which now are dated, but this does not obviate the quality of the contents within.

If you are “on the clock,” this book will provide you with a basis for assumptions, will give you a basis for analyzing your sources and give you hints as to other locations to find records which make for a more complete research effort.  In addition, his citations may lead you to other documents, articles and books to assist you in solving a particular problem.  However, this is not a “brick wall problem solvers guide” as it is not focused on a particular problem you might have but rather the book provides us with a road map for our every day genealogical assessment.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  I made my research plan for the holiday weekend.  I also listened to Ron Arons Legacy Webinar on mapping.  He did a nice job and Geoff Rasmussen, the host, gave my webinar presentation on fire insurance maps (scheduled for April) a shout out to all the live listeners.

[1] American Society of Genealogists, “Past Officers” ( : accessed 25 November 2015).

[2] John (surname not given), “Elements of Genealogical Analysis,” Our Blog (Allen County (IN) Public Library Genealogy Center), blog,  13 November 2014 ( : accessed 25 November 2015).

[3] Do I really need to provide a citation for you?

Dissertations: an Untapped Resource

dissertationFor scholarly writing such as the Kinship Determination Project (KDP), one of the resources I love to access is dissertations. I am always surprised by the wealth of information (both depth and breadth) to be found in this resource and the lack of use of this resource. Dissertations are published original research of a single topic that has been written by a candidate for a advanced degree.  The topics can range from poly-syllabic titled medical and scientific investigations to history and social science manuscripts.  The latter is of most interest to the genealogist doing technical writing and when learning more about a narrowly defined topic.

Dissertations are the result of extensive research by upper level students and reviewed intensely throughout the process of writing by a subject adviser.  A panel of experts then reviews and often subjects the candidate to an oral defense of the thesis and its methodology.  Once signed off by the entire panel, the candidate is eligible to receive his or her advanced degree usually a doctoral degree (Ph.D.). (see photo at left for front page of dissertation and the signatures of the review panel.) Some examples noted below are capstone projects for Honors (undergraduate) and Masters degree candidates.

Because of the rigor of writing a dissertation, the work represents exhaustive search by the candidate; the use of informative citations; analysis and correlation of the evidence obtained to support the thesis statement; resolution of  conflicting data and is written for submission to the panel for review.  Sound familiar? Yes, dissertations would pass the genealogical proof standard and therefore, they are an ideal resource. [1]

BI (Before the Internet), dissertations were difficult to find except by reviewing annual compendiums by type (Science, Medical, History, Social Science etc.).  Now, your local academic library is your friend and for me that is the online catalog for the University of Washington library system.  I can access the dissertations written by candidates from institutions from around the United States and have them delivered to my desk through inter-library loan.  While my search at UW is unique, I would suggest a search based on “theses and [fill in your search topic].” I used “theses and immigration  history 19th century”  You should substitute your topics of interest. Although I could have reseatricted my search to theses written in the 21st century (or any other time bracket), I I decided not to as often writers of earlier dissertations obtained information that is now no longer available.

Dissertations are considered unpublished manuscripts in Evidence Explained. [2] So, in spite of the dissertation often being bound, it is not a book and the title is contained within quotes and not italicized. The type of manuscript should be included, in this case “dissertation” or “thesis” as well as the date of compilation, year and the affiliated institution. [3]

Here are some representative examples of the thousands of dissertation “hits” I received when conducting the search based on the parameters described above. I included the OCLC number although the template does not require it. Very few of these have been digitized.

  • Arthur John Brown, PhD, “Means of promoting immigration to the Northwest and Washington to 1910,” dissertation, 1942, institution not named in library index, OCLC 1549748.
  • Paul G. Merriam, M.A. (History), “To Oregon by sea : maritime immigration, 1834 to 1860” thesis, 1963, University of Oregon, OCLC 54102953.
  •  Francine Fiore, “You cannot be an immigrant twice : a study of Willa Cather’s novel My Antonia,” thesis, 1998, Linfield College, 1998. OCLC 39309983.
  • Gillian A. Lindsay, B.A. (Honors) “Constructing an Australian identity : a study of four immigrant narratives” thesis, 2003, University of Puget Sound, OCLC  839714675.
  •  Arthur Jiro Nishimura, M.A., “Japanese emigration in the pre-World War II era (1868-1937) : a reconceptualization of the history” thesis, 1995, University of Washington,  OCLC 34286431.
  • William Forbes Adams, “Ireland and Irish emigration to the New World from 1815 to the famine,” dissertation, 1932, Yale University, OCLC 01072854. (This one may have been published as a book.)_
  • Robert Ernst, Immigrant life in New York City, 1825-1863, originally presented as the author’s thesis, Columbia University, 1949. (Syracuse, N.Y. : Syracuse University Press 1994) OCLC 30913183. (Citation reflects that the indexed document was published as a book.)
  •  A. Hammerton, “Emigrant gentlewomen : genteel poverty and female emigration, 1830-1914,” thesis, University of British Columbia. Canada. OCLC 04932629.

Dissertations can provide great information and support for context and even evidence for the wide range of scholarly writing we do.  I also thought that some of these looked like interesting reading.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last post: printed and prepared the SGS newsletter for mailing (thanks to Pam, Judy, Bruce, Julia, Janet and Reiley for assisting in its publication.); received “big news” on my request for Dirk’s papers–stay tuned!, received big news about a presentation and had lunch with a friend who is interested in genealogy and wants to start.  Woo hoo!  All in all, this was a very good genealogical week.

[1] Perhaps that tells us something about the origins of the GPS?

[2] Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace,” (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc. 2007) 120.

[3] Thesis and dissertation as defined by the dictionary can be used interchangeably. However, I have chosen to use dissertation for PhD level manuscripts and thesis for the others.  But, I have also used the word thesis as a single idea which is advanced in any discussion, also an acceptable use of the word. Dissertation is usually associated with the process of original research resulting in the awarding of a Ph.D.

How Do You Handle URLs in Citations?

CMOSWe had a discussion in our ProGen class about how much to include of the URL of a website in a citation.  There were a variety of opinions and so I went searching for an answer.  The uniform resource locator or URL is the series of numbers and letters that forms the web address.  It appears in your browser window and begins with http://.  Sometimes it is very short but sometimes it is very long.



The options discussed were:

  1. Use a TinyURL.  (If you are not familiar with TinyURLs check them out here.)
  2. Use only the homepage URL (e.g. and
  3. Use the entire URL address.

Here is what I found.

Option #1: TinyURLs
Citation for this blog using a TinyURL:
Jill Morelli, “How Do You Handle URLs in Citations?” Genealogy Certification: A Personal Journey, 7 March 2014 ( : accessed 7 March 2014).

TinyURLs take a long web address (URL) and turns it into a small one.  For example, the Permalink for this posting is  I shortened it to  by using going to the TinyURL website and putting in the longer web address into the field and the site generated a unique but shorter address.  The address for this blog is not particularly long but compare that address with this citation for an image at

Include the citation information around this link and you end up with six to eight lines for every footnote, sometimes consuming half of the page.

Why not use a TinyURL if you only wish to locate the source in the future–that works, doesn’t it?  No, it doesn’t.  What if the link is broken?  What clues are you or the reader given to enable you to find the source again?  The TinyUrL gives no clue as to which source you consulted to obtain the information.  However, the long URL in the example above has embedded within it the site name of ancestry and information about the type of record and the name of the individual of interest.

Tom Jones, in his book, Mastering Genealogical Proof doesn’t even mention ease of retrieval as a reason to cite your sources.  Instead, he describes citations as indicative of an exhaustive search and our use of “least error-prone sources” and to document our findings. [1]  But if the citation uses a TinyURL, how can you determine if you have done a thorough search?  You have no idea if the author cited Wikipedia or a peer reviewed journal article. You also are hampered in predicting the probability of error. The use of a TinyURL also does not assist in documenting findings.

I do not recommend using a TinyUrl in any citations you are writing.

Option #2: use of only the homepage URL
Citation for this blog using only the homepage URL:
Jill Morelli, “How Do You Handle URLs in Citations?” Genealogy Certification: A Personal Journey, 7 March 2014 ( : accessed 7 March 2014), searched for citations & case study.

Elizabeth Shown Mills in her book, Evidence Explained, discusses web addresses (URLs) in section 2.37, page 59. [2]  Her assertion is that long URLs are subject to change  more easily thanthe  shorter homepage address and may not link correctly at a later date.  We all have encountered the ERROR 404 on a broken link.  Broken links are not uncommon even in the most cared for site.

Ms. Mills proposes that we use the address of the home page but include any additional descriptors for finding the particular item cited.  You can see in the example for this web site the search criteria of “citations & case study.” In a citation for a census image from, you might add “search for John Smith, Winchester County, Indiana.”  If using the homepage appraoch, Ms. Mills offers no guarantees as websites can still be rearranged, but even if the homepage changes it might be possible to locate the document in the future through the use of Internet Archive Wayback Machine. The use of the Wayback Machine is an option not available if a TinyURL is used.

Option #3: Use the entire URL
Citation for this blog using the full URL:
Jill Morelli, “How Do You Handle URLs in Citations?” Genealogy Certification: A Personal Journey, 7 March 2014 ( : accessed 7 March 2014).

In EE, Ms. Mills indicates the need to use the full address for journal articles and journals themselves.  She continues by saying that most style manuals use the full URL  [3]  I found it difficult to tell if she was only talking about Journal citations or it was a more global statement.  I analyzed each (yes, I really did!) of the QuickCheck Models in EE that pertained to online citations to try to discern a pattern of full URL vs. just the homepage URL.

Four observations:

  1. At no time did I find an example using a TinyURL.
  2. The full address was used more often, by a ratio of 2:1 (n=34,) than the homepage URL for citations that were related to online resources.
  3. In many, but not all, where the short address was used, the citation described the database and not a specific image.  In my recent blog about “What is Context Anyway?,” citations have to be responsive to what is being cited.  In some cases the “short form” was being used because…it would have been inappropriate to do anything else.
  4. but there were examples where, for example, was cited using the homepage URL and the image was the focus.

I checked ESM’s EE web page ( and didn’t find any specific information on this topic, but you can read what I did find by going to this link: .  And, if you find a relevant article somewhere, please share!

The Chicago Manual of Style provides, to me at least, the answer:
“URL or DOI. [4]  Many of the examples in this section include a URL or a DOI at the end of the citation.  A DOI, if it is available, is preferable to a URL.  If using a URL, use the address that appears in your browser’s address bar when viewing the article unless a shorter, more stable form of the URL is offered along with the electronic article.”  [5]

Three observations seem now apparent:

  1. Whatever is decided, be consistent across types of citations.
  2. The BCG certification “fear factor” makes each applicant ultraconservative in writing citations, resulting in full URLs more prevalent (observation based on my reading of several BCG portfolios.)
  3. I need to think about the context of the citation.  If I am citing just the database or have a narrow site focus, use the homepage URL; otherwise…
  4. I will be using the long URL or DOI.

I would be interested in your thoughts, especially of those who are “on the clock” or already certified.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting: spoke to the Eastside Home Economists’ Club on “Soldier, Spies & Farmwives: the Changing Roles of Women in the Civil War.”  It was well received;  computer was down for 1.5 weeks. I suffered from major withdrawal; worked on my draft no. 2 of my Proof Argument for ProGen;  tried to set up a time to meet with my business counselor but had to cancel;  encouraged a friend to consider running for Vice President of SGS;  worked on presentation of GPS Element #2 for SGS to be given on Sunday.  I hope some folks come–its DST!

[1] Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), p. 7.

[2] Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co, 2007), p. 59.

[3] Ibid, p. 799.

[4] DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier and is tied to the image, not to the website.  The link is extremely stable.

[5] University of Chicago, Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press) section 14.184.

What is “Context” Anyway?

Context of the source, context of the citation, and context of its reader should all inform the decisions we have to make while crafting a citation. Different contexts will lead to different decisions about what to include and how to format the elements of the citation. — Tom Jones, email to the author, 31 December 2013. [1]

Citation is an art, not a science. — Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained, p. 41.

What?  Dr. Jones speaks of “crafting” a citation and Ms. Mills describes it as an art!  In my genealogical infancy, I confidently looked up the type of source in a style manual, found a suitable template and filled in the blanks–no need to read all that text!  Now, Dr. Jones and Ms. Mills challenge us to thoughtfully create citations that are responsive to the text and regard the reader–the context.  But, this word “context” still has me puzzled.

I thought “context” was the sociological or historical or political environment within which we make decisions.  How can a source or a citation or the reader have a context?  What is “context” anyway?

Let’s start with the Oxford English Dictionary:

Root of the word: “Latin contextus (u-stem) connection, < participial stem of contexĕre to weave together, connect. (author’s emphasis)”
[2]  I love that!  Weave together–how beautiful!
Definition (noun): “The weaving together of words and sentences; construction of speech, literary composition”

So what are we actually weaving?

In 1425, a Middle English writer combined the word “context” with “historical.”[3]  Today, genealogists are also introduced to the phrase “historical context.”  For example, the decision by Ulysses Grant to stop the exchange of Union and Confederate prisoners confined many individuals in Civil War prisons. More contemporaneously, the decision by the US Congress to reduce spending on research can negatively impact the numbers of young investigators entering the field.  A soldier kept in prison for months may become sickly for the rest of his life; a promising student may decide to enter the familial business rather than have a life in research.  These are real world individual decisions that are affected by the decisions of politics and history.  The individual decision is inextricably tied to the macro event–tightly woven together.

So, how does this apply to citations?

In Evidence Explained, Elizabeth Shown Mills has three references to “context”– cemeteries  and censuses and their physical context of the neighbors and the differences of the context of the original church record as opposed to that of a certificate of marriage. We may be able to obtain the certificate but a review of the original church entries may include information that wasn’t included on the certificate and reveal information about the recorder (e.g. shakey handwriting, level of literacy) which lead us to conclusions about the quality of the source. She covers the issue of context of the citation without a direct use of the word in Section 2.1 Art vs. Science. [3]

Let’s look at a relatively simple example–the blog– to illustrate how the context of the item being cited can drive the format of the citation.

If the context of the information that is being cited concerns a specific posting, the citation, according to EE, might look like this:
“What is Context Anyway?” Jill Morelli Weblog: Genealogy Certification: A Personal Journey, 11 February 2014 ( : accessed 11 February 2014).

If the information that is being cited is focused instead on the blog as a whole, the citation might look like this:
Jill Morelli Weblog: Genealogy Certification: a Personal Journey, 2011-2014, [6]

If the information or the article is focused on the author, the citation might look like this:
Jill Morelli, “What is Context Anyway?” Genealogy Certification: A Personal Journey, 11 February 2014 ( : accessed 11 February 2014).

We can look to the templates provided but ultimately we must think about what are we citing, why are are citing it and what impression do we want to leave with the reader.  Thus, the development of the citation is one of mindfulness of the source, the narrative, the reader and the citation.

Happy Weaving!


What I have done since the last posting: worked on the SGS newsletter and getting it ready for publication.  The feature article is about the Spring Seminar featuring Jeanne Larzalerle Bloom.  I met Jeanne at the APG Professional Management Conference prior to SLIG and interviewed her.  It should be a good issue. Continued to work on the ProGen assignment–a genealogical proof argument.  My topic is the Irish village of birth of Mary Coyne.  The client provided me with many family traditions related to their location from which the family emigrated but I am writing a proof argument without the use of any of the clues provided.

[1] Tom Jones [(e-address for private use)] to Jill Morelli, e-mail, 31 December 2013, “blog posting comparing article with EE citation templates,” digitally filed, Blog file; privately held by Morelli, [(e-address) & street address for private use], Seattle, Washington, 2013. cited in blog posting “GPS Element #2: Informative Citations,”,
[2]  OED Online. December 2013. Oxford University Press. ( : accessed 9 February 2014).
[3] The OED cites the first usage in 1425, “In the contexte historicalle….” Almost 600 years later, we, as genealogists, use the word similarly.
[4] Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007). For blog postings, see 811-813; for cemeteries, see 229; for censuses, see 260; and for church records, see 340.
[5] As our internet vocabulary matures, I believe the word “weblog” has evolved to “blog.”  I would suggest handling the word “blog” similar to the word “digital image” or “database”.  This might the citation looking like: Jill Morelli, “What is Context Anyway?” Genealogy Certification: A Personal Journey, 10 February 2014, blog ( : accessed 11 February 2014).

Have you ever looked at the Chicago Manual of Style?

2014 0125 CMOSI recently purchased the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. [1]  This was partially due to Tom Jones’s urging at SLIG but also because issues kept coming up which (I was told) could be answered within the CMOS, as it is sometimes referred.  Why did I need CMOS when I had Elizabeth Shown Mills’s Evidence Explained? [2]

Major Misconception:  CMOS is only about citation form.

My copy arrived while I was at SLIG and I am amazed at the information it contains.  And, I am equally amazed that this book is not in more genealogist’s libraries.

Some sections are particularly interesting to me…

  1. The parts of a book.  Since I am doing more self publishing and publishing for clients, I am finding this section validating and helpful.
  2. How to proof your work.  I think this will be very helpful as I get closer to BCG submission.
  3. Tables and illustrations.  I was learning from examples published in NGSQ etc. but here is how to do them.
  4. Copyright information.  While I look to Judy Russell’s blog and webinars to education me, it’s nice to have this as a backstop.
  5. Little things.  The authors discuss when to write out numbers and when they can be in numerical form, when certain words are capitalized and when not, and how to handle quotations.
  6. and of course, citations.

There is also an e-book but the hard copy will suffice–for now.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last post: cleaned up my desk after reinstalling my desktop computer, discussed with hubby my criteria for a laptop computer, worked at the SGS Library as a volunteer, wrote up my interview with Jeanne Bloom, the Spring Seminar SGS speaker and worked on my case study. I also ordered and received Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.  I had a copy but my daughter “shopped” my library and now has it in hers. The color of the cover of the CMOS is actually a light turquoise–very distinctive on my shelf.  My thoughts are with those of you in the Midwest and East as the storm comes your way.  Stay safe.

[1] University of Chicago Press, The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010). See p. 701, CMOS for this citation.

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