How do I properly cite a secondary source on WikiTree?

+7 votes
147 views
For example.  I have a document produced by the Sheldon Family Association where they discuss and analyze the life of Issac Sheldon.  They cite primary sources which I do not have access to.

I want to update his profile and use inline citations for the statements of fact.  

Do I just cite the secondary source, the SFA publication and page number that the primary source is referenced?

Or do I cite the primary source, not having seen it, and reference it as found in the SFA publication?
WikiTree profile: Isaac Sheldon
in Policy and Style by Michael Stills G2G6 Pilot (396k points)

I wouldn't cite a primary source you haven't seen, even if it is from a reliable source.  Because every transcription is open to errors.

Do I just cite the secondary source, the SFA publication and page number that the primary source is referenced?

This is your better choice.  However, I sure would want to get my hands on those primary sources eventually :-)

Yeah! Most definitely!  It is partly why I moved to New England, better access to all my Colonial Ancestor's primary sources.  Now to find the time.
Is there ever enough time for it all?
Never, and I just discovered with all this bouncing around from tab to tab, I forgot to save about two hours of worth of work.  Fortunately is was mostly reading and scouring for appropriate statements but I lost about 5 good statements with citations.

Ugh!!

1 Answer

+9 votes

Your citation should be to the secondary source. But in your citation, identify the sources that your source cited. Example (semi-hypothetical, not including URLs, etc.):

  • Clarke, Robert Gordon. ''Early New Netherland Settlers'' website. Citing: ''Year Book of the Holland Society of New York'', 1904, page 200.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
I have just discovered that some of these notes are tertiary.  They cite the NEHGR, so now I need to dig that up.

Harder for me is to follow their analysis and then make a statement that can be cited.

So for example, they use one source to give a date when he was single (1652) and a child's birth year (1655 also estimated) to show when he was married by.  The conclusion is he was married 1653 or 1654.

So if I state he was married between 1653 or 1654. How should I cite that?  

Cite the secondary source where the analysis was done with the page numbers where the analysis was done.  But it was based on one primary source and once estimated date base on (I do not know yet) both of which which should be included somewhere?
As always, describe the facts you know. "He married some time after 15 June 1652, when his father's will identified him as unmarried, and before April 1655, when his first child was baptized."

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