The Villages Genealogical Society
Facts, Tips & Tricks
Tips to help you discover and trace your genealogy.
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Remember to source (document) everything you find on your ancestors. Undocumented genealogy is mythology. Most genealogy software will get you through the basics. Elizabeth Shown Mills has authored several very good books on the subject.
A citation is a reference to a source of information.
If you don't provide the sources for your information, then that information is practically worthless to other researchers.
Source: Original – this source is in its first recorded form. (ie: the original marriage record license)
Source: Authored – an original work of an author based on their study and synthesizing of their findings.
Source: Derivative – materials that offer alternate versions of the original: this source is abstracted, compiled, formed into a database, transcribed, translated or otherwise derived from the original.
Evidence: Direct – information in this source seems to address the research question all by itself.evidence speaks to the point in question.
Evidence – Indirect: the information in this source does not directly answer the research question, but helps to answer the question when combined with information from other sources.
Evidence Negative: the lack of information in this source infers an answer to this question.
Evidence: – I don't know: information without a source is information that is not verified and should not be considered sound research or valid information.
Information Primary: the information in this source contains details provided by someone with firsthand knowledge of the person, event, or situation. (ie: A Birth Certificate)
Information Secondary: the information in this source contains details provided by someone with secondhand (or more distant) knowledge of the person, event, or situation (hearsay, tradition, local lore, a birth date of a death certificate etc.) A Death Certificate can contain both primary and secondary source information.
A Research Log is very important to have for the times when you share your data or decide to publish your work. You will need to know your sources for obtaining each piece of information. Be specific with your information quoting authors, titles, pages, publishers, etc.