Source & Citations  

Posted by Abba-Dad in , , ,

I am quickly understanding that proper source citations are extremely important. Not only to allow you to backtrack and find the source of the information you are using, but also to allow fellow researchers to connect the dots when they run into something you claim is true.

When I started out building our family tree, I mostly used oral interviews and some research that my mother-in-law did for my wife a few years ago. But then I started adding information from other sources, especially online. Pretty quickly I was making a big mess of it. I needed a better system.

One of the things I noticed on Ancestry.com is that it allows you to attach a record to your online tree. What that does is put all the proper sources and citations with that record and makes it very easy to tag a whole family. For example, if you have one family member that you find in the census you can add that record to this person as well as to his entire family (depending on the census year, some older census records will only attach to a single person).

But I don't use my online tree as my primary database. It just doesn't have the breadth of features I get with RootsMagic. And worse of all, I can't just merge new information from one to the other easily. So I decided to just use the online tree for source gathering. Here's the process:

1) I create a new tree on Ancestry.com named after the home person.
2) I start researching online and adding sources and citations.
3) I expand the tree and use the 'hints' that the site uses to try to link to other records.
4) I add whole families, making sure to keep adding all sources.
5) Once I reach a point where I feel I have enough to transfer offline I export a GEDCOM from the online tree.
6) I load this GEDCOM into a new database in RootsMagic.
7) I arrange this new database, getting rid of all the duplicates.
8) I merge this database into my master file.
9) I make sure all the sources and citations are in the right places.
10) I delete the old online tree and upload the new organized one back in it's place.

Seems like a lot of work, but using this method I added over 200 people to the Brannon side of the family in my main tree, all with the proper sources and citations.

Does this make sense to anyone else? Are there easier methods to add so much source information?

7/29/08 - Current family members: 1118 in 330 families.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 7, 2008 at 8:47 AM and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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