Saturday, February 2, 2013

Extreme Makeover-Source Citation Edition

One of my goals this year is to complete the NGS Home Study Class. The first assignment- send in a sourced Family Group Sheet. “No prob!” was my first reaction. After all I have been filling these out for years and I thought all I had to do was pick a family and hit print. Boy was I wrong!!
 For this assignment I decided to choose the William A. McManus family of Sumter, SC since I had recently been working on this line. I figured I could complete the homework for the class and research my family at the same time.
 When I printed out the Family Group sheet I noticed that my sources, especially those that I had added as long as 15 years ago, were not very good. They were put into my data base long before I understood the importance of documentation and before the source templates were added to my genealogy program. It’s not that they weren't sourced, it s just that several were not complete. I needed an “Extreme Source Citation Makeover”  -does Ty do genealogy?!?

Ty Pennington- Picture Courtesy Wikipedia

   I pulled out my handy copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills and went to work. I checked each piece of information for all of William McManus’ family members. From Census Records, Directories, Cemeteries and Family Bibles I double checked and made sure each was cited in a way that would help anyone, including me, find the record again if needed.   
 Now, a week later I feel that I have a well sourced Family Group Sheet. My first assignment is ready to turn in! 
Did I learn anything from this experience?  A lot! Not only did I get a crash course in citing sources, but I saw how far I have come from those early days of just adding to my data base whatever I found on my ancestors. Today I try to analyze each piece of information and cite sources as correctly as I can.  With the help of technology it is now so much easier to do.
 I am sure there are still sources recorded in my data base that need an “Extreme Makeover”.I will work on them one family at a time.
 As for my William McManus family, there's one more thing to say - “Welcome Home Source Citations, Welcome Home!”


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Sally! I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my post.

  2. It is truly wonderful that you are doing this NGS home study class. I wish I could. There is so much to learn, and it must be satisfying to learn it in an orderly way, supervised by expert advice! If you are checking out your evidence according to Elizabeth Shown Mills, you must be producing Gold-Plated citations, exactly right! Probably also online searches have really improved in the last 15 years, at least enough so that it is easier to check sources. I've been newly facing Source Citation form in learning the Evidentia program. It's not so easy. Good for you, Cheri! Onward and upward!

    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement! I just got Evidentia and am looking forward to learning how to use it. Thank goodness for Webinars and Google Hangouts!

  3. I remember those days when citing sources wasn't "important". Like you I've updated many of my families over time, with several still to do!
    Good Luck Cheri on your classes. I think I'm going to learn a lot just "looking over your shoulder"! Thanks for this post!

    1. Thanks for your comment Cindy! It really was a lot of work to get that family group sheet where I wanted it to be! I wish I had only known then!