Sources Are…

Generally speaking, genealogists who write and lecture extensively about genealogy research and methodology, put sources in one of three categories: Original-the first time the document was recorded. Derivative-when the document was reproduced, whether by hand or some sort of “image reproduction” Authored Narrative-usually a written compilation of original and derivative records along with analysis, interpretation…

via Sources Are… — Genealogy Tip of the Day with Michael John Neill

GeneaPress: WikiTree Announces Source-a-Thon

WikiTree will be kicking off Family History Month with a three-day sourcing marathon, October 1-3, 2016. Individuals and organizations from around the genealogy community are coming together to support this event by donating door prizes for participants. Over $3,000 in genealogy prizes have already been pledged.

Citing sources is required on WikiTree’s collaborative, free family tree, but inexperienced genealogists don’t always record them. As Mags Gaulden, a WikiTree leader, states, “In a perfect world all genealogies would be well-sourced, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. We have all run across online genealogies that are just repeats, copy-and-pastes, of what someone else had thrown up based on what aunt Mabel told them back in the 70s.”

Second-hand family information deserves to be preserved and shared, but it needs to be verified. Generous genealogists in the WikiTree community help each other every day by confirming the information in unsourced profiles and adding citations. 200,000 profiles on WikiTree’s 12-million person tree are currently identified as needing independent verification. The Source-a-Thon is a major community event to slash that number, draw attention to the importance of sources, and to have fun doing it.

Live chats will be hosted every few hours during the three-day event for participants to cheer each other on. During the chats, random winners will be drawn for valuable prizes including full memberships at MyHeritage, FindMyPast, Ancestry, Fold3, Newspapers.com, and GenealogyBank, DNA tests from Family Tree DNA, conference passes for RootsTech, software, books, gift certificates, t-shirts, research assistance, and much more.

To be eligible for door prizes, participants must register in advance and get a “race number.”

See http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Source-a-Thon for details and to register.

Why Citing Sources Is Important

Diana Elder has a great story that also demonstrates the importance of citing your sources . . .

Have you ever read a family history with an interesting fact, like “Great Grandma was a full blooded Cherokee”? You’re excited to read more and see some proof, but there is nothing: no source citations or documentation of any kind. You’re left in the dark, wondering how much to believe in that history.

Get the rest of this story at Family Locket.

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How I learned what to do with undocumented family trees

They got nowhere; my daughter and I got nowhere too – until she came across a family tree on Rootsweb’s WorldConnect pages, a more static predecessor of today’s Ancestry trees. The tree contained names and dates – no sources. But it approached Jennie from the “other side,” that is, her birth family.

Did we sneer at this tree – unsourced as it was, and connected to an address whose owner never responded to our inquiries? We did not.

Read the rest at Midwestern Microhistory. Have you had a similar experience? What did you do?

How I learned what to do with undocumented family trees

Free Webinar on Primary Sources

Primary sources are the best means of capturing the words, the thoughts and the intentions of the past. Primary sources help you to interpret what happened and why it happened.

To learn more about how primary sources can be successfully utilized, join NHD, the National Archives, and the White House Historical Association for a free webinar on October 7, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. ET.

More details and registration link at The National Archives blog.

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Chances are the information in great-great-grandpa’s death certificate and obituary were provided by the same person. This means that the fact they agree with other does not make them any more “right.” Getting records where there were probably different informants as to the same details increases the chance you get the “right” answer.

And sometimes no one knew the right answer. But relying on one source or several sources made at the same time from information probably provided by the same person may send your searches astray.