Monday, November 17, 2008

Genealogy Source Citation Templates

I decided over the weekend that I had better get going on adding or correcting the source citations that I have in my genealogy databases. The fact is that I have embedded source citations (in various forms) in two places:

1) Within a Place field in FamilyTreeMaker (e.g., Leominster, Worcester, MA (VR, 177) - which indicates the Vital Records book, page 177)

2) Within the Notes for a person (sometimes in shorthand, other times with a typical citation, but with inconsistent formats).

Neither of those two methods are recommended for any modern genealogy software program. Family Tree Maker 2009, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, The Master Genealogist, and other programs have specific source citation methods, and all use some sort of template. I haven't figured out yet if the source citation formats recommended in Mills' Evidence! Explained are included in any of the programs, but I know that the software companies are rushing to incorporate them. I think that most of them incorporate the citation formats recommended in Mills' book Evidence!

I found two interesting web sites for genealogy oriented source citation templates (I'm sure there are more, but these had the most useful templates):

1) TMG source Templates - Mills' Categories -- this site has source citation templates for many of the typical genealogy sources, and provides Full Footnote (FF), Short Footnote (SF) and Bibliography (B) formats, with an example for the Full Footnote. These were created from Mills' Evidence! book.

2) ProGenealogists Citation Guide -- this site has source citation templates for online sources (e.g., books, periodicals, databases, etc.) that can be copied into text. The text examples are here and here.

After I wrote all of this, I realized that these templates would not help me enter information into the Source citation features of any of my software. I really need to "copy-and-paste" or type the source information into the citation templates in the software.

However, this post is not for naught - surely someone will Google "genealogy source citation templates" at some point and will find this blog post!

I also realized that before I go ahead and spend a lot of time making the source citations "right" in my genealogy databases, I need to finally decide on a preferred software program. The ones I own are Legacy Family Tree 7 and Family Tree Maker 16/2008/2009. I have several "sticking points" for this selection, and Source citation is one of them.

I guess I need to do a bit more testing in the programs to determine how long they take to create source citations, and how they look in genealogy reports. I'm concerned that if I go ahead and make many source citations in, say, Family Tree Maker 2009, that they will not be usable without modification in Legacy if I eventually choose Legacy.

2 comments:

Rudolph J said...

You might want to download the demo version of Rootsmagic ver. 3 and take a look at the sourcing it does. There is a Source Wizard to guide you through the proper way to write your source. He bases his format on what Elizabeth Shown Mills uses.

Of course since you have your sourcing in notes you won't be able to just import them into a template.

Version 4 is due out before the end of the year and the author of Rootsmagic says he has greatly expanded the number of templates.

Geoff said...

Legacy Family Tree 7.0's SourceWriter is based on the models as outlined in Evidence Explained. Your FTM sources will import just fine into Legacy 7's standard source fields. They won't initially be formatted according to Evidence Explained's standards, but they can be converted.