User:Quolla6/Titles and Sources

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This discussion is intended as a "scratch article" to be incorporated into the discussion of sources on the Source Committee Page.

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Dallan has identified a number of specific sources that are routinely used by genealogists on this site. I've adapted his table by adding specific examples in the format he suggested, as well as at least one alternative format that might be used.


Source Type Format for Source Article Title Example Alternative
Book First author (surname, given names). Book title (no subtitle) Source:Scudder, Moses L. Records of the First Church in Huntington, Long Island, 1723-1779 Source:Scudder, 1899
Article First author (surname, given names). Book title (no subtitle) Source:Edwards, Lois. Starting Points for Germanic Genealogy Source:Edwards, 2003


Letter/Journal Author (surname, given names). Title (e.g., "Letter to John Smith" or "Journal 1814-1824") Source:Smith, Daniel. Letter to William Preston Source:Smith, 1774 or MySource:Smith to Preston, March 22, 1774


Government or Church records Locality covered (in reverse order; e.g., United States, South Carolina). Title of record set Source:United States, New York, Queens. Records of the First church in Huntington, Long Island, 1723-1779 Source:Scudder, 1899
Newspaper Place published (in reverse order). Name of newspaper United States, North Carolina, Burlington. Burlington Times News Hutchenson, Clara Sentell. Obituary, Burlington Times News, 7 November 2007
Message Boards, Website Homepage URL (e.g., boards.ancestry.com/surnames.smith) [1] Scudder Family GenForum:Will of Thomas Scudder died Salem Mass 1657, Scudder Family GenForum Message 1186, March 18, 2008 at 13:53:04
Family Tree (presumably online) Author (surname, given names). Title of the tree Beran, Evelyn. Sanford-Shulsen Family Beran, Evelyn. Sanford-Shulsen Family as of 2008-01-24 22:01:35




Most of these are commonly cited in genealogy on the web, but two would not meet the criteria I personally believe must be met for a source to be useful. That is, they are not sources that you can guarantee others can come back to at a later date and see the same thing as I saw. For example one can not guarantee that someone's personal website will remain on-line well into the future. It might contain very good information, but if it is not available long-term (many decades to centuries) for viewing by others, its not a useful source. Likewise, certain commercial website may remain on-line more or less indefinitely, but even hear there's no long-term guarantee that they will be available in the future. As an example, there's a continuing discussion that goes on concerning the likely-hood that "Rootsweb" sites will remain available as a free source. Possibly more importantly, materials on most of these sites, both personal and commercial, change on a daily basis. Because of the electronic nature of these sites, and especially sites where the authors can make changes on a daily basis in the material displayed, there's no guarantee that what was found on a site one day, will be the same, similar to, totally different, or gone altogether at some date in the future. Thus, siting such a source does not meet the criteria that the source can be revisited by others for an indefinite time in the future. Thus, while some may find it necessary/desirable/convenient to site "Message Boards/WebSites/Family Trees", and the like these can not be viewed as reliable sources.

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