You want your genealogy research to be accurate. You also want other researchers who may use it, particularly those in future generations, to know it is accurate, so they will feel good about putting your research to use in their own family trees. You have probably come across research that you were not sure was correct. This is probably because the information seemed suspicious, and/or no source for the information was cited.
If you have not been citing your sources in your genealogy, you should be. Here are the top five reasons why you should always cite your genealogical sources.
1. Citing Sources Helps Keep You on Track with Your Research
If you have done some research and put it away for a while, citing sources is immensely helpful if you come back to it later. It lets you know the information is accurate and reminds you of the place you found that information. It also lets you know that you need not re-research this family line, because it has all been done, and the results are good and trustworthy. If you ever want to look at the original source again, having it cited makes doing so easy.
2. Citing Sources Allows Your Work to be Professionally Published
If you ever want to submit your genealogical work to a professional genealogical publication, then you must cite your sources. There is not any professional genealogical publication that will accept articles of genealogical research without the sources being cited. A good way to make sure your work is acceptable to professional genealogical publications is to purchase a book on the genealogical proof standard, which is the method by which most genealogy publications cite their sources. They will want you to use this method, too.
3. Citing Sources Makes it Easier to Join a Lineage Society
You will have to prove the connections between every generation between you and your lineage society‘s ancestors. While submitting the correct type of records will usually be enough to get you into a lineage society, citing your sources can cinch your admission for you if there is any question about the validity of a certain generational connection. The people in charge of approving application papers at the lineage society can use your cited sources to look up the original records, and easily approve you.
4. Citing Sources Gives You Credibility if You Publish a Genealogy Book
While you will have to cite sources to publish a genealogy book with a traditional publisher, you can publish one on your own with no sources. However, your book will be taken much more seriously by readers if you have cited your sources. A well-cited book can even garner the attention of professional genealogical publications.
5. Citing Sources Allows Other Generations to Easily Use Your Work
The future generations who may want to use your genealogy research in their own projects will be able to do so much more easily if you cite your sources. You are leaving breadcrumbs for them to follow by citing your sources and allowing them the opportunity to make their own work accurate. Are you citing your sources in your genealogy research? If you are not, you should be. Citing sources may seem like a chore, but there are some very important reasons to make sure you always do it. Here are the five top reasons why you should cite your sources in your genealogy work.