Citations Made Easier

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As genealogists and family historians there is always the question in the back our minds thinking, how will I cite this source? There are many different citation methods out there but many of them do not give guidelines for the same original records we look at. We are all taught to cite the records so another researcher could find it again. But we are also supposed to cite the record back to the original source, if we can. This has caused some headache to many researchers, including this one, as we have tried to cite the many different records we are using.

Elizabeth Shown Mills published a book called Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation and Source Usage a few years ago. In this book, she provides many examples of how to source the many different types of documents we look at and use in our research. It is a great book to base your citations off of when you don’t know how to do it. However, if you’re like me, you want to write down the citation while you are looking at the source. Well, the book is full of great information and examples but it is kind of bulky. It can be a hassle to carry around to every place you are going to do research. Luckily, she has since published a website that gives examples of some explanations and some examples of the citations. The original book provides a great quick reference pages and you can view many of them on the website.  It also is now available as an e-book and there are separate “cheat sheets” for different types of sources and research strategies.

One great feature on the website, that is likely looked over, is the forums page.  Here users can post questions, problems, etc. for people to look at and help with. I have done a lot of Native American Research and many of the records that I have searched do not have a set citation method. So I do my best to cite it so someone else could find it again. This website can be a great place to get others’ opinions and questions on your own citation questions. I think that those who use the forums page will find that many people out there have or are struggling with citations just like them. Here they can help each other out and get to know others doing similar research.

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