Sources & Citations Series – Approaches to Writing Sources

Sources & Citations SeriesContinuing with the Sources and Citations Series. Whilst we all hope that we will record absolutely perfect citations we have to accept that there will be days when we do not.

These will occur because there are a million things whizzing around your head, children demanding attention, spouses reminding you they exist and a whole host of other things.

My recommendation is that as you enter research into your database you do the full process, starting at the beginning and entering all the details about individual X and provide all the citations relevant to X. It maybe that you make a decision to record Census material as brief for example England & Wales 1881 Census or you might decide you want to include the correct reference number allocated by The National Archives at Kew.

You might decide you want to reference which provider you accessed the census material (Ancestry, Find My Past). Be mindful that whilst a service provider might have the rights to that document now, they might not in the future. If you stop having a subscription to that provider, you will also loose access to that material should you want to access it again and the same applies to genealogical trees with documents attached. 

The purpose of a citation is so that you and others can follow the trail, essentially the evidence is supporting the research.

Find a way of writing a citation. Either undertake it in an academic format, as described in Evidence Explained or Citations and Sources, which we looked at earlier in this series; or one that is simple and has “no fuss”, but has limited, but useful and essential information. You might just write against a burial records, Parish Record for X parish and leave it at that, and that works, as long as the place is specific. for example – You might have a burial for Richard Budd in 1831 in Puttenham and simply write the citation as Puttenham. You would need to specify the Country, in this case England. However, we still have a problem, there are two Puttenham’s in England.

Therefore, if you are going the simple and essential approach, it would be Parish Record, Puttenham, Surrey, England. The originals of this particular book has been deposited at the Surrey History Centre, with the books filmed. The films have been uploaded to Ancestry and I have seen Richard Budd’s burial several times. The first time it was the actual book that I had in my hands and I turned the pages, truly that was a magical feeling. The second time via the microfilm at the archive and several times since via Ancestry.

Richard Budd - Baptism 1742

And here is the actual image of my several times Great Grandfather who was buried in Puttenham, Surrey in 1831. He was born in the village in 1742, and the son of Henry & Martha Budd (nee Otway).

Whatever you decide to do, make sure that your citation enables you and others to access the data in the future should you need to.

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
This entry was posted in Budd, Genealogy, Introduction to One-Name Studies (Pharos course 901), One-Name Studies, One-Place Studies, Puttenham & Wanborough, Sources & Citations Series. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Sources & Citations Series – Approaches to Writing Sources

  1. fhtess65 says:

    I also recommend Referencing for genealogists by Ian Macdonald – his method is very much tailored for UK sources and includes many different examples. I use it in combination with EE to created my own hybrid citations that work well for me. While I include links to the database images, I also download them to my hard drive AND include info in my citation about not only the online location of the source, but also the original collection. That way if the database loses its license, those who follow will know where the original is located.

    I’ve really enjoyed your series – thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. BookerTalk says:

    I try to standardise where possible to make it easier to remember.


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