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Should “How I Found It” Be a Part of My Citation?

Citations are an integral part of genealogical research and I cite every document that’s discussed in Casefile Clues. Admittedly upon occasion there are statements about the individuals or families being researched that we do not cite. That’s usually to help us stay on our editorial schedule and to keep the last page or two of the newsletter from being overwhelmed by citations.

A recent post to my Rootdig blog mentioned including part of the “how I got it” as a part of my citation. I don’t think that generally speaking the “how I found it” needs to be included in a citation. For most materials the process by which it was obtained is fairly straightforward from the citation.  The item in the blog post could easily be found again by using the citation. That’s not the point.  The question is, “how would I find similar items in this publication?” short of doing a manual search.  What caused me to get there in the first place? Do I need to include a search process when a manual search was not the process?

I’m not exactly certain how to include it, but somewhere I think that needs to be noted.


Using my Camera and Word to Track my Citations


This was a really high-tech approach I took to note taking while I was at the Family History Library last May and June. I was working in some Boston, Mass., records and to keep myself from getting confused, I took pictures of the index entries for the estates I needed. Then those pictures were pasted into Word and I created a table alongside the image and added columns for:

  • FHL roll number
  • copied or not
  • notes

Not overly sophisticated, but it served my purpose and made creating citations easier later. I then took a picture of my notes to save as an image along with the actual images I made of records.

We’re hoping to include some issues of Casefile Clues using the records from Boston.