Discovery Your Family History

No Need To Fear Citing Your LDS Family Search

Many people neglect to cite their sources during their LDS family search, because they are afraid to do so. They feel like they are back in school or they think that it is time consuming and unnecessary. Not citing the sources of your information is a serious mistake that you will regret later when others are viewing your genealogy and can’t see any evidence that validates your documentation.

There are three steps to citing sources correctly, according to Genealogy citation expert, Elizabeth Shown Mills. These steps are: knowing the basics, gathering up front details about your source and getting help with your citations if needed.

If you know the basic information about your resource from which you’re researching, you can overcome your citation fears, and continue with your LDS family search. You don’t have to cite your sources while you are gathering information, but it helps to get as much information about the source as possible. Elizabeth Shown Mills offers advice about citing different types of sources using the Chicago style, as this is the most widely used style for genealogical research.

The Four Questions of Citing  

There are four questions you should ask yourself when citing your sources: Who wrote or created the source? What type of reference is it? When was it published or produced? And where is the source located. Answering these questions while you are researching, and making note of your answers saves you time and stress later on. Once you have the elements to cite your sources noted, you can add them to your files later.
Once you have all the information you need for your LDS family search, it is important to make a note of the source information right then. If you are getting your information from a book, you will find all the citation information you need in the front of the book. If your information comes from a periodical, such as a magazine or journal, get the article title, the name of the author, the name of the publication and the publication date from that source. For information that comes from indexes write down any information that explains how the information was obtained and what was included in the reference. For other types of sources, such as maps, library manuscripts, microfilm or microfiche, the details of the source are easy to locate. For library manuscripts, use the library’s card or electronic catalogue; for microfilm or microfiche you can find the details of the lid of the box in which these items are stored; for maps, look on the bottom for the publisher’s or printer’s name. There are web sites to help you cite your sources accurately, but these only apply to information in books, magazines and other Internet sources. However there are sources of information such as a family quilt, grave stone, family records stored in a family bible etc. that have to be cited in a certain way in order to be properly validated.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

It is important to get expert help with citing sources that don’t have actual dates, or citing family heirlooms, grave sites and other items not documented in a book or library. Elizabeth Shown Mills has written several excellent books to help you cite these types of sources and many more. Now that you have followed the steps to citing your informational references, you will no longer have to be afraid of making citations for the documents in your LDS family search.

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