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Archive for January, 2013

Citing Your Sources

I often preach to my genealogy group the importance of citing your sources. It would be nice if I practiced that as well! So I created a new database and started with myself and the children, and began my “completely cited” genealogy datbase. The software I use is RootsMagic, and one of it’s great features is, in a few quick steps, it writes your sources for you. I know that with Family Tree Maker you can go online and it will pop the source in for you, but it shows the ancestry.com link, not where you would find the original document if you were so inclined to do so. So which is the “right” way? I would rather see where the document is actually housed in my opinion. I believe that genealogical standards now allow for sources from the Internet, which is wonderful when you have great sites such as FindAGrave.com, but I think for the main documents, I’ll stick with writing my sources as where they are literally housed. Just another way that I am stuck in another century!

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Not long ago, I was working on a genealogy for a client. I came across a refernce to a book that his ancestor had written. For the fun of it, I “googled” the book and found it was available on Amazon.com for $10. So, as a little surprise with his genealogy package, I included the copy of the book.

It was actually quite interesting, it was a history of the town his ancestor was living in. It was written 100 years ago. That alone I thought made it a gem, a little something extra. It gave a glimpse into this man’s life that otherwise we wouldn’t have had, and made him come alive.

I love finding those types of items that can make people more “real” to us than just names and dates.

Two of the names I am always actively researching, Alligood and Shinn, have genealgies published about them.

The Children of Thomas Alligood by Bardon F. Alligood traces the entire family back to one Elias La Garde, b. 1586 in France. The author includes alternate spellings of the Alligood name and does an excellent job of tracing thier lineage He is a very credible source and I find that my own research aligns with his.

The History of the Shinn Family by Josiah H. Shinn I have found to be less credible. I often have to remind myself that the book was published in 1903. He traces the family back to one Francis Sheene, b. 1525 in England. My understanding is that the book is being re-published. I tried to research part of the Shinn family and found Mr. Shinn’s conclusions on some of the ladies who married into the family simply wrong.

The bottom line is, a published genealogy is someone else’s research — it should be used as a reference point, not taken as fact.  I have been able to find published genealogies through the Family History Libraries and through publishers such as De Wolfe & Wood. Other colleagues have found genealogies on ebay. It’s always fun to find a name you recognize in print, and it may just give you a little insight into your ancestor.

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