Sponsored By GenealogyBank

08 October 2012

Context Is Everything

If you make a copy from a published history or any reference, do you also copy enough of the material so that the item is in context?

A relative copied one page from a county history that is  only a list of names. No idea why the list was created, what year it was created, or any other detail as to how the people's names got on the list. Without any idea at all, the list is merely a list of names. They could have been gathered arbitrarily for all I know.

Always include a complete citation and enough information from the original so that you know what you really copied.

A name by any other name is just a name.


  1. My mom was handed down a book of newspaper clippings from her aunt. Unfortunately many of the clippings don't have the name or date of the newspaper. I'm unable to find some of the original articles.

    If there's a vital record stated such as the death of an infant, this may be the only reference you might find for that event. Enough data about the record should be given so that a future researcher can re-find the record.

    Regards, Jim
    Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

  2. I always copy the title page and verso if it's a published book. It's easier than writing it all down, and you know you'll have what you need to cite for find the book again if needed.