I have written and talked many times both in this Blog and certainly in the classes which I teach on genealogy concerning the documentation of one’s Sources. I admit to having within my database many items with no Source. They generally have come from fellow researchers who also had no Source for the data, or from the Internet in the same condition. I do not consider someone’s name or an Internet address a valid Source.
The truth is, genealogy data which is missing a Source is of no value beyond the barest hint of what, where and how to look to prove that data. I always warn individuals to whom I send data that if I have no Source, beware!
Creating the citation for a Source is important. The maven for such citations is Elizabeth Shown Mills. Her book Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian, now in its 16th printing, 124 pp. is a classic.
Ms. Mills has just opened a new web site at www.historicpathways.com. She says the following there by way of introduction:
Elizabeth Shown Mills is an historical writer who has spent her life studying Southern culture and the relationships between people—emotional as well as genetic. Published widely by academic and popular presses, she edited a national-level scholarly journal for sixteen years, taught for thirteen years at a National Archives-based institute on archival records and, for twenty-five years, has headed a university-based program in advanced research methodology.
A popular lecturer and past president of both the American Society of Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists, Elizabeth is the author, editor, and translator of 13 books and over 500 articles in the fields of genealogy, history, literature, and sociology. She has delivered over 1,000 lectures internationally, has appeared on radio and TV talk shows on three continents, and was featured on BBC’s 20th and 30th anniversary specials on the novel Roots.
The web site lists many of her writings and contains numerous articles of use to the budding as well as the experienced genealogist. In addition there are links to many useful sites.
I would urge the reader to visit the site and take to heart her recommendations on citing your Sources in a meaningful fashion for data you locate. Remember, accuracy in genealogical data is more important than data used in a legal courtroom.