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Genealogy Resources

Methodology

See also: Publishing, Transcriptions & Abstracts

Source Citations

Always record your sources on your family group sheets and on photocopies, abstracts, and transcriptions of original records or published sources. A source citation serves two purposes. It reminds you where you obtained the information, and it allows you to evaluate that information and decide whether it is reliable or whether you should seek information from additional sources.

The Genealogy Proof Standard

Proof is a fundamental concept in genealogy. In order to merit confidence, each conclusion about an ancestor must have sufficient credibility to be accepted as "proved." Acceptable conclusions, therefore, meet the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). The GPS consists of five elements:

  • a reasonably exhaustive search;
  • complete and accurate source citations;
  • analysis and correlation of the collected information;
  • resolution of any conflicting evidence; and
  • a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.

See The Genealogical Proof Standard. Board for the Certification of Genealogists.


  • The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, [periodically updated]
     
  • Citing Records in the National Archives of the United States. General Information Leaflet no. 17. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977; full text available online at <http://www.archives.gov/publications/general-info-leaflets/17.html>
     
  • Curran, Joan Ferris, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray; Elizabeth Shown Mills, editor. Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin. Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2008. This book is divided into three chapters: "Basic Systems," written by Curran; "Complex Families," by Crane; and "International Kin" by Wray.

  • Dougall, Brenda. About Genealogical Standards of Evidence. 2nd edition. Ontario Genealogical Society, 2005.

  • EasyBib. Is an online option that creates a citation from information you enter. EasyBib prepares citations for 58 different types of sources. Citations can be created using MLA, APA or Chicago/Turabian styles. This is a great service to use to create your citations as you work.
     
  • Genealogy Research Map. By Mark Tucker. The Genealogy Research Map combines the concepts found in The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and the many works of Elizabeth Shown Mills into a single visualization.  It is my hope that others will find this map useful as a learning tool or reference.
     
  • Harland, Derek. Genealogical Research Standards. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1963.
     
  • Jones, Thomas W. What is the Standard of Proof in Genalogy?" NGS NewMagine. 33, 2 (April/May/June 2007): 22-26.
     
  • Lackey, Richard Stephen. Cite Your Sources. New Orleans: Polyanthos, 1980. Reprint, Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1990. Was the standard for a generation of genealogists.
     
  • Leclerc, Michael J. and Henry B. Hoff, editors. Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century: A Guide to Register Style and More. 2nd edition. NEHGS, 2006. Does not teach you how to write, but guides you through the process of writing compiled genealogies using the Register style and includes tips on submitting articles to genealogical journals, magazines, and websites.
     
  • Little, Barbara Vines. "Documentation--A Formula for Every Day." NGS NewsMagazine. 32,3 (July/August/September 2006): 18-22.
     
  • Merriman, Brenda Dougall. About Genealogical Standards of Evidence: A Guide for Genealogists.  Second edition. Toronto, Ontario: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2004.

  • Merriman, Brenda Dougall. Genealogical Standards of Evidence: A Guide for Genealogists. Toronto, Ont: Natural Heritage, 2010.

  • Merriman, Brenda Dougall, and Brenda Dougall Merriman. Genealogical Standards of Evidence: A Guide for Family Historians. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2010.  She explains and illustrates proof theory and standards in just four chapters.
     
  • Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997. Discussion of the fundamentals of citation with numerous citation formats. Is the new standard for many genealogists. Part 2 provides over 300 models for citing standard and electronic sources in bibliographies and footnotes/endnotes.
     
  • Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Analysis: A Research Process Map. Washington, D.C., Board for Certification of Genealogists, 2006. This handy laminated card summarizes what are probably the most important terms and most essential concepts in the genealogical field today.
     
  • Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 2007. Will help you cite correctly the sources used in writing a family history.
     
  • Mills, Elizabeth Shown. QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Sources. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2005. 8.5"x 11", 4pp. A template for citing historical sources on the Internet. Contains a series of sample citations showing the correct way to identify online sources such as databases, census images, and digital books and articles.
     
  • The Missouri State Archives website has a  section on citing records at the Missouri State Archives.
     
  • National Archives and Records Administration. General Information Leaflet #17 "Citing Records in the National Archives"
     
  • Rose, Christine. Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case. 2nd edition rev. San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2005.
     
  • Ross-Larson, Bruce. Edit Yourself: A Manual for Everyone Who Works with Words. Rev. edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996.

  • Think Genealogy. Is the creation of genealogist Mark Tucker. This tool will help you focus your research and learn how to go through the steps necessary to take your family history research from start to finish. The Research Process Map is a visual diagram of concepts taught by Elizabeth Shown Mills and the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You can download and print the map from the PDF on the above link. This is a tool that needs to have a permanent place in your research binder.