Do It Right – Record The Sources of Your Information

Always record the complete sources of your information.

In other words, jot down the details someone would need to go back and find the exact record you found.

The information you find on your ancestors should be backed up by a source. Otherwise, those that follow you have no way of knowing that your work is not a work of fiction. Every good researcher knows to leave a trail that others (such as your grandchildren or great-grandchildren) can follow to verify the research. Even your hunches and conflicts are based on information from some source.  Make sure you record it.

So, list your sources completely and accurately for the benefit of future generations.

If you’re using a software program, such as Personal Ancestral File, it has a documentation feature — and several shortcuts — that make it incredibly easy to document your records. With the click of a button you can quickly document each event you list for your ancestors.

Here are a few helpful tips…

  • Document as you go — write down the source of your documents as you gather them.
  • Enter sources and notes in a consistent manner.
  • Try to obtain primary sources for each event.
  • Cite the source you actually use.
  • Identify and document conflicting or missing information.
  • Avoid using obscure abbreviations — or at least leave a “key” to your abbreviations.

By leaving a documentation trail that is easy for others to follow, you’ll be much appreciated by the generations of your family who come after you.

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Next Step 5.  Take Your Names To The Temple