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# Wednesday, 11 June 2008
How to Cite Sources
Posted by Diane

Q. How do you cite your sources? I know how to fill out a family tree chart, but I don't know how to cite the information.

A. "Source citation" can sound like a technical term, but it’s really just recording where you found each record or piece of genealogical information—that way you or anyone else can go back to recheck the original record.

Different sources are cited different ways. For books, record the title, author, publisher (with the location), year of publication, where you found the book (the name of the library or the person who lent it to you), library call number (if it came from a library) and page numbers containing the referenced information, like so:
Carmack, Sharon Debartolo and Erin Nevius, eds., The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists (Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2004), 219-220.
For examples of citations for a variety of sources, such as census records, vital records and oral history interviews, download our Source Citation Cheat Sheet as a PDF.

This citation Web tool will automatically format various types of citations based on what you type in about the source.

ProGenealogists also has a guide to citing online sources, including databases such as those on

Where and when to cite your sources is another important issue. As JustJean says in the Forum, include a full citation on the front side of every photocopied record or page from a book, so the citation won't get separated from the data.

Most genealogy software lets you type in source details or even link a digitized record when you add information to your tree. If you’re using paper, you can number all your photocopied records and add the numbers to your family group sheets. For example, if Grandma’s birth certificate is record number 17 in your files, you’d write 17 next to her birthdate on a family group sheet. (Most don’t note sources on a five-generation ancestor chart.)

You also might keep a log of the sources you’ve found and what pertinent information they contain.

For an in-depth look at source citation, see Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills (Genealogical Publishing Co., $49.95).

Readers, click Comments to add your own source citation advice.

genealogy basics
Wednesday, 11 June 2008 18:51:49 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [3]
Thursday, 12 June 2008 18:26:18 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Having had a multitude of "paper" courses in college, I've had the importance of source citation drummed into me until it's second nature. I've used the excellent, "Family History Documentation Guidelines", by the Silicon Valley PAF Users Group as a guide practically since I started using a computer in genealogy. I believe you can still contact them at: LDS Family History Centers can probably put you in contact with them also.
Rod Crist
Tuesday, 23 September 2008 18:31:51 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I am not finding your citation source sheet PDF. Can you send it to me?

Vicki Roberts
Tuesday, 23 September 2008 18:54:44 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Sorry, the link was broken due to items shifting to new locations on our new Web site. It should work now.
Comments are closed.