Thursday, October 5, 2006

How to Make Source Citations Consistently

While browsing through my bloglist, I happened across a reference to the ProGenealogists web site page on Source Citations. You know, the reference you are supposed to make for every fact in your genealogy database or in your reports or manuscripts. The goal is for consistency and adherence to a standard.

You can click on The Citation Guide link and see "fill in the blank" standard citations for a number of typical Internet sources. For instance, for an online magazine or journal article:

Author, "article title," journal name in italics, journal volume, journal issue (journal publication date): publishing web site title, , web page access date.

There is also a Common Citations link that provides "fill in the blank" citations for online census records and databases. For example, for the 1880 to 1930 census records on, the citation would be:

[Year] U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), [City], [Twp.], [County], [State], ED xxx, Sheet xxx, Dwelling xxx, Family xxx, [Head] household, jpeg image, (Online:, Inc., 2006), subscription database, [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], , accessed [month year].

These standard citation forms can be very handy when writing genealogy reports, or putting notes in your genealogy database. You could copy the standard citations to a word processor document. If you have the citation document open while you are entering your genealogy data to your working document or database and you need a citation format, then pop over to the citation form document, copy the appropriate citation and paste it into your working document, and then fill in the blanks appropriately.

On the other hand, it may be easier to have Elizabeth Shown Mills' Quick Sheet handy, or her "Evidence" book. Your choice!

Hat tip to Katie at for her link to the ProGenealogists Citation Guide page.

1 comment:

Lee said...

I used to use the citation guide and templates often. Now, I have the basic templates memorized, and my own style guide for those "hard to fit in a template" sources I keep coming across. I sure do appreciate sites like this, Mills and Lackey too, because I would be lost in this stuff without their guidance.

~ Lee