Sourcing Your Stuff

How do you know that great aunt so-in-so really died on April 3 when you heard it was April 4? Where did your cousin find that awesome picture of your grandma?

What is a source?

Anything that tells you information. Report card, insurance policy, newspaper, journal, family conversation, art work, certificates, contracts.

Why do I need sources?

Not only does having sources help you and others find the information again but different sources have different levels of reliability. See the difference in the following example:

You find a name on a death certificate but you got a slightly different name from  your great, great grandmother. Both are valuable but which one is more correct?

The death certificate is probably more accurate as far as the official name of an individual. But great, great grandmother might have remembered the name as a nickname, which might have been used by other people and in other places.  So it’s still important to talk to her.

Where can sources be found?

Schools, government agencies, talking to a relative or friend, emails that you find on various media types like paper, microfilm, picture, video, website, audio tape

List of Sources and what type they are:

For what things should I write the source?

Everything. This will help you remember where you found something, plus make it possible for others to find the same thing.

What if I have more that one source for the same information?

Awesome!! Record that too. The more sources, the better chance the information is accurate.

Where do I write the sources?

  • Genealogy programs – you can attach sources and notes to individuals
  • Word documents – Name the item, where you are storing it (hard copy or digital) and then the source details.
  • Paper – Same info as if typing it in a word document
  • *** best place. It’s well organized and easy to input and can be seen by others without you having to send emails or make copies.

Remember, be specific. Write everything you can about the source as well as the actual information. You never know what will be helpful and when.
What helps you with sourcing your info?

Please share so everyone can enjoy!
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