• How to Cite Family Tree Information Sources

    As a family tree enthusiast, you are probably aware that your genealogical information comes from multiple places such as government agencies, Old Parish Records, monumental inscriptions, online genealogy sites, books and newspapers. No matter where you found the information about your ancestors it is simply good practice to cite your sources. The basics of citing a source are simple.



    Citing a Genealogy Source Consists of Naming:

    • Who created the source (publisher, historical society, government agency)
    • What the source was titled (John O’ Groat’s Journal)
    • When the information was created (copyright or year of publication)
    • Where the information was created (State, County, and/or name of publisher)
    • How you found it (name of repository or archive)
    • Why it is a good source (primary, secondary or tertiary source)

    Citing sources is particularly important if you plan to publish your family tree to the internet and it helps all of us involved in family tree research to sort out the reliable information from assumptions and guesswork.

    Citing Sources for the Genealogy Beginner Citing sources can also be time consuming and confusing if you are not familiar with how to cite properly a source of genealogical information. For starters, here are some general helps and guidelines to citing a source.

    Genealogy Citation Guidelines:

    • <angle brackets> are for internet addresses <http://www.genealogybeginner.com/>
    • [brackets] are for descriptive information
    • Information about publishers should be in
    • (parentheses)

    Always cite exactly what you have found along with where you found it If you have doubts either leave it out or note is as a supposition.

    For example in the case of a Monumental Inscription:

    PETER SINCLAIR, CATHERINE CALDER  Erected By Peter Sinclair In Memory Of His Wife Catherine Calder Who Died At Greentoft, 21st March 1905, Aged 72 Years. Also Peter Sinclair, Born At Cleat, Sanday, 12th June 1830, Died At Greentoft, Eday, 3rd January 1917


    Orkney Family History Society , Orkney Graveyard Search for: Sinclair in Eday & Pharay, Old Kirkyard, St Marys, Eday Orkney” (Orkney Family History Society ) [Ray Millar ] <http://www.orkneyfhs.co.uk/mis/minscriptions.php?opt=gyard&gref=151&surname=Sinclair> Report date: 04/03/12

    note: Eday, Orkney, Scotland:  Eday Old Kirkyard, Orkney, Scotland Plot: 329

    It also helps to become familiar with the abbreviations used in citing your family tree information sources along with the standard formats used. Standard

    Abbreviations for Genealogical Citations

    Standard Format for Online Genealogical Citations

    Citing your sources will give you the confidence to publish your family tree knowing that all of your hard work is beyond reproach. You can learn more about the importance of citing your family tree research and genealogy best practices in Genealogy Beginner’s Lesson 1: The Big Five Genealogy standards and guidelines: what you need to know first

    Image Credit: Ramona Hartley

    Share Your Thoughts...
    Tell us what you're thinking...
    and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar for free here!
    Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately...