Source Citations for Genealogists

Many family historians started by helping a child or grandchild with a required School genealogy project and found themselves wanting to know more. Keeping accurate records is important, will save you time, and will help you properly credit the information that you use.

A Source Citation is documented verification for every piece of information specified in your family history.

I include my source citations in my Family Tree software. When writing on photos or documents make sure you are using an achieve quality pen/pencil.

Every document, heirloom, photo, and story should include five things;

      1. Author – The person that created the document, transcribed the document, made the heirloom, took the photo or told the story.
      2. Title – of the book, newspaper, document, deeds, the place the photo was taken and the names of the people in the photo.
      3. Repository- the publisher, address, location of an heirloom.
      4. Page – the page within the book, volume or newspaper the information resided on.
      5. Date
        • The date the book, newspaper or document was published.
        • The time period the story was set in.
        • The date you acquired the information.

Example of the Source Citation for a headstone photo:

Name: Abigail Mullen Sullivan
Cemetery: Old Cathedral Cemetery
Address: 1032 N. 48th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19131
Phone: (215) 477-8918
Burial: 04 July 1878
Location: Section: K Range: 1 Lot: 49|
Author: Dana Valley
Date: September 10, 2014

Note: I like to include the day she was born, died, spouse name, and parents names.

The cemetery usually has two or three dates;

      1. Date the person died
      2. Date of Depositing in the Receiving Vault -The ground was often frozen so the deceased couldn’t be buried until spring.
      3. Date of Interment – The actual date the deceased was buried

For more information: Board for Certification of Genealogists