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05 December 2012

The Importance of Where

Citations are not stressed in genealogy because some retired English teacher needed something to do. There's a reason. Not all versions of a record are created equally and knowing the site you used to find something, even a digital image, can help you (or someone else) analyze it later. One website may have only posted selected images (as HeritageQuest Online did for Revolutionary War pensions) or accidentally "cut off" parts of images that were posted.

Some books of extracts and abstracts may have only included "selected documents."

Clearly indicating from where something was obtained lets you (or someone else) know the version that was used. Then later it's easier to decide if more work needs to be done.

And it is ok if your citation does not fit the "form" perfectly, just have all the key ingredients. There's always time to put the citation in proper form later, but you can't do that if you don't track where things come from.

1 comment:

  1. Very well said and very true. In just the last two years I have embraced a need to research and immediately publish (usually online) exactly what I looked at (whether online or offline/classic material)and my reasons for drawing the conclusions I did from that material in relationship to other "finds." As younger generations do so they won't be ask likely to leave behind boxes and boxes of disorganized papers for their descendants to throw out.