08 April 2009

Record Keepers

Family historians and genealogists are the record keepers of our generation. It is our responsibility to gather, organize and accurately record our family history. What does this mean? It means that as we gather and record our family's history it is of prime importance to document our facts and conclusions. At the risk of repeating myself, I will say again that every fact on a family group record or every fact in our genealogical database must be attached to a complete source citation.

It is not enough to simply state that the information came from grandma. Every citation must be complete with meaningful details. A simple test of completeness is to ask yourself this question: "If I show someone this citation, will they be able to get back to the record or person from which the original information was recorded?".

Basic citations include a title, author, publisher and location, date of publication, page number. I would also suggest that you add where you examined the record, or the location of the repository (The repository is where the record resides).

What if your source is a person? How is that information recorded? Follow the same outline and make sure to include the title, which may be a phone interview. The person giving the information, full name. Include the date of the conversation. Contact information for the interviewee. You may also want to include your relationship and other pertinent information such as age or condition of the interviewee.

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