After finishing The Basics (which I wrote about in my post "American Genealogical Studies: The Basics") I signed up for the next course in the National Genealogical Society's Home Study, Guide to Documentation and Source Citation.
I love the way the course explains the basic citation principles in a simple outline form:
Using this basic set up you can cite any source. They go on to explain the difference between footnotes (which most genealogists use) and bibliographies. From what I could gather you just leave out the internal locators when listing the citation in a bibliography.
Using Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Mills the course goes on to explain how to cite published books, periodicals, e-books, webpages, blogs, online databases, federal government records, such as census records, military records and immigration records, also local and state government records such as vital records, court files, court registers and then also privately created records such as church records and manuscript collections like letters and diaries.
It seems like a lot but using the basic outline it all made very good sense. The challenge came with the quiz. They would give you a scenario of a source that was found and then gave you four choices for the citation. Each choice only had a few things different. It took me two tries to pass but I did it!
I think one reason a lot of people do not cite their sources on public trees is because they think it is too hard and takes too much time. But if the genealogy community could convince everyone how important it is and how simple it can be there would be a lot less frustration when there is a fact but no one knows where it came from.
I am one more step closer to my goal of becoming a certified genealogist.
Until next time, happy hunting!
quote picture from startupzap.com