What are sources and where do you find them?

+5 votes
WikiTree profile: Paul Juneau
in The Tree House by Grace Zachary G2G Crew (730 points)
recategorized by Keith Hathaway

A "source" is where you got the information.

For data you already have, the "source" is wherever you got it from.  

Answers below provide good direction... A lot of free information and documents (sources) can be found using FamilySearch.org  Many like tips found through FindaGrave.com  Using Google effectively can produce many gems such as obituaries, land records, historical accounts, etc...the trick is persistence mixed with creative searches.

Have a super day!

4 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
A source citation is an authoritative reference that shows where the information came from for a name, date, relationship, or story about a person.  The source citation should be complete and should allow another person to find the same information.  Authoritative source citations might include census records (federal or state), marriage bonds or licensus, death certificates, social security death listings, tombstones, wills, court records, phone directories, school yearbooks, personal stories documented by family members, military records and oensions, etc.  Rembert to cite where it was found and when it was found for information that might not always be available like Internet Web sites.  Also, include where the original is found if it is a copied record.
by G. Moore G2G6 Mach 3 (34.6k points)
selected by Robin Lee
+5 votes
Sources are documents, books, links, etc that you use to prove a certain item.  For instance, if you said Paul was baptised in 1788, a 'source' will prove that that happened (like a baptism register).
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
What if I don't know the source at time. Do I have to have all of this before I begin entering any individual?
It definitely helps - even if you only have one source per person!  WikiTree is a collaborative site where we all work together, and if you decide to stay and sign what we call the 'Honor Code', you will see that in it we say that we cite sources.  This is to make sure everything is accurate, and if anyone takes a look at the profiles you have written, they can be confident that it's all true.

I would suggest you explore familysearch.org.  It is free, and they write out sources for you, so all you have to do is copy-and-paste.

Hope you decide to join us.
Online searches for transcriptions of sources are relatively easy to find - depending on what county, state, province, district, region or country the person is in.

But the BEST sources to get are the birth, marriage and death certificates and you can usually purchase those from the registry office for your state, province or country.

Once you get your tree back before BMD registration began, (1837 at the very earliest)  then you have to depend on transcriptions of the OPRs - Original Parish Records - and they often only record the date of baptism (christening) and not the actual date of birth. But some parishes do record both date of birth and date of christening which is good!!!

Another good source is the census records for those places that have made them available online. UK, USA, Canada have the best census records so far.

It is better to have a source available first before you add any individual  to your tree - but that is more of a guide line rather than a rule set in stone.

I hope this has not been too confusing and answers some of your questions.

I should also add that SOME places online that do hold records, require you to pay to access those records - which I personally do NOT agree with. Such places include Ancestry, Find my Past, Scotlands people  and a number of other sites. These sites do NOT collaborate.

Family Search dot org is totally free and is run by the LDS - or the mormon church. Their records are good, but some records are now being hijacked, (census records for example) because Family Search now also have to pay to access records from the pay to subscribe sites.
+5 votes

Hi Grace,

Welcome to G2G forum.

The definition of "Source" on the help page is:

  • "A source is the identification of where you obtained information."

There are several examples of how sources can be added to profiles.

Best of luck.

by Rubén Hernández G2G6 Pilot (687k points)
+3 votes
Where to find sources ... well, the easiest thing (at least that's what I think!!) is to open a profile, put your cursor on the Wikitree-ID (up on the top right), a drop down menu comes up, move your cursor down to the ''Research' tab and click on that (I usually right click and choose 'Open in a New Window).  Quite often you'll have to login (Wikitree login and password).  There will be several links at the bottom: Ancestry, findmypast, Google, FamilySearch, Find A Grave, MyHeritage, etc.  I most always start with Family Search.  Source snippets will show up (if any exist) ... you can click on those to get more information (document copies sometimes, a source link, etc.  Note that not all of the listed 'sources' will belong to your person ... but they're usually in some type of order from best to worst.
by Bob Jewett G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)

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