Sourcing - citing styles

+2 votes

Can we discuss methods of citing please?  A cllaborator and I are working hard together to do this correctly.  He is very good a adding everything from a link.  I tend to add the <ref>described in my own words</ref> and next to it the  [[link]].  I don't copy the entire "citation" from the website . . 

A SHORT example - they are usually much longer

 "United States Census, 1790," database with images, FamilySearch ([[3]] : 14 May 2015 : accessed 22 Aug 2018), North Carolina > Mecklenburg > Not Stated > image 13 of 19; citing NARA microfilm publication M637, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

I did just read the reason for citing the "access date" and it does make sense. The goal, for me, is to reduce the "garbage" effect like gedcoms have. And all those census citings .  . . .

How can we reduce all the "garbage" (like gedcoms) that . . sorry, I see as garbage in a citing of paragraphs from the website.

 I want to do it correctly but the copying adds so much data it extends the profile unnecessarily?  I'll do what is required and correct . . but would like to make is easier to understand and visualize for the reader.

Many thanks!

asked in Policy and Style by Barbara Roesch G2G6 Mach 2 (29.4k points)
Can you provide a link to one of your profiles that you think feels "unnecessarily extended"?

2 Answers

+6 votes

The recommended citation style is that of Chicago Manual of Style as expressed for genealogy in Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Show Mills. That is the style preferred by the genealogy journal community. They allow anyone to find the source. Attempting to make very short citations would be a disservice to others. In case you haven't seen EE, it is about a 3 inch thick book with page after page of examples.

Where you can shorten things is in subsequent citations. That is, the first occurrence of a citation is the full citation but the ref tag has a name <ref name="citation 1">...text of citation...</ref> then the next time you use the same citation is just <ref name="citation 1" />. The Style Guide does go into this some.

answered by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (211k points)

Many thanks to you all, Chase, Katie and Doug! 

Chase: I will private email you, I don't want to offend my colleague, he seems to know what he's doing and we talk on the phone a lot but I just haven't "got it" yet.  Also, something else unrelated you may be interested in. :)

Katie:  Excellent explanations and suggestions, I will work on trying it this way and see what happens. Sounds like practicing what you suggest will make it a lot easier!

Doug:   This: <ref name="citation 1">...text of citation...</ref> then the next time you use the same citation is just <ref

When II see it in the edit part of the bio I just don't under stand it. But trying these suggestions I bet will not only improve the sourcing but make it much easier in the long run

AND you just made me check my little Evidence Explained book and it DOES HAVE the Encyclopedia style . . . looks like I should referenced it more often. 

Again many thanks to you all for your ideas!  Barb

It wouldn't offend me, Barb :-) Actually, I'm learning too, and am interested in opinions, and the community learns if we keep discussion within.

The profile mentioned is: Winchester-961
Hey terry, no problem, good answers.  Also, did you notice Ashley is an Ashley?  LOL!
Note that the <ref is continued on the next line:

      <ref name="citation 1" />

is the syntax for using the same citation every time after the first time. Much shorter to use.

The more you use inline, the easier it is. I tend to start a citation on a new line in order to make it stand out better.
Ashley is an Ashley (not sure I get that joke), except that there was also a "Matthews", both named Roseanne.  HEHE
I said it wrong, Not a joke, a coincidence, Chase Ashley answered my question first.  Small world, ??
Great Doug!  I thought it had to be ibid which isn't so easy.  Thanks again!
+6 votes

I don't think it extends the profile unnecessarily. A good citation enables you/a future researcher to go straight to the source. In my opinion, every bit of that paragraph is helpful.

"United States Census, 1790," Title, obviously

database with images,  as opposed to a database without images. I trust sources with images more, as I can see for myself that the transcription is correct.

FamilySearch ([[3]] : 14 May 2015 :  site it was found on, with a link to the image and presumably date it was added to the site

accessed 22 Aug 2018),   you already see the usefulness of this part

North Carolina > Mecklenburg > Not Stated > image 13 of 19;  points exactly to the part we're looking at. This is particularly important in non-indexed work, like old probate court records, etc. But it enables a researcher to find this record again if the index is lost or unavailable.

citing NARA microfilm publication M637, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).  This is where FamilySearch got the record from. In the (admittedly unlikely) chance FamilySearch ever disappears, a future researcher will know this is a U.S. record and where to look next.

If a profile has a lot of citations, it can be difficult to edit around all the inline <ref>s. I tend to paste them under the Sources heading, and when I'm done with the bio, add the <ref>s in. 

Sources are at the very end of the profile so I don't find it impedes bio reading. Just like a bibliography is at the end of a book or paper.

I do not like Ancestry's citations, especially from GEDCOMs. Those are a mess!

answered by Katie Goodwin G2G6 (7.2k points)

Good explanation of why each part is needed. I agree about Ancestry citations. They provide most  of the info needed to make one but it is a lot of work. What comes in from GEDCOM is usually difficult to sort out. Any good citation lets someone else find it, even if the URL gets broken.

I also do citations as you do them. Initially a list at the end and then convert to ref format and insert.

What I find impedes reading is when the sources are described in detail in the Bio and the bio becomes about the sources and not about the person.

Yes, I just realized that is part of the problem.  :)

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