Ruth's Genealogy

“I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” -Abraham Lincoln

Keep CalmFor the past several days, I have been reviewing/reworking my source list for my RootsMagic database.


When I moved my genealogy database from Family Tree Maker to RootsMagic almost 5 years ago, most of the sources and citations came through… sort of… kinda like when your house comes through a tornado…

When I originally created those sources and citations for FTM, I didn’t do them correctly (not a clue!).

A couple of years ago, I started a project to go back through my RootsMagic database, examine each person’s information and create new/correct old sources and citations, since I still hadn’t done many of them correctly (still clueless…).

But a lot of the sources and citations are still not quite right (pardon my OCD).

Ok, but what is the correct way to cite a genealogical source?

After a couple of long days of online research, I discovered that there is no one correct way!  Many different citation styles…

Well, that certainly cleared things up!

My solution is an Alphabet Soup of sorts. These are what I am using to learn to “correctly” cite my sources:

I had purchased both the Citing QuickSheet and Evidence some years ago and have never really used them, so I haven’t spent any new money on this project. I eventually want to get Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, but at $59.95, it’s a bit out of my budget right now.

I thought about changing all of my citations to a free-form format, but with 189 pages of sources… not gonna happen. So I’ll use RootsMagic’s Source Templates, except for census entries and a couple of other much-used sources, such as’s various Texas Death databases. These master sources have been used hundreds of times, so I’m not too keen on rewriting each and every citation. Enter Randy’s post above.

Yesterday I reworked several citations in my Mom’s file. A lot of work, but I think I’m beginning to get the hang of it. Remember:

“Genealogy without proof is Mythology”



2 thoughts on “A source is a source is a source…. NOT!!!

  1. Hi Jim, thanks for stopping by!
    I’ve been looking for used copies of Evidence Explained on eBay and Amazon, but the used ones are more expensive than the new book for Goodness! Very popular resource, I guess. But I’ll get one soon, I hope. After the holidays, if I have any money left over… 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Ruth Stephens


  2. Jim Sanders says:

    Evidence Explained is a great resource. Lucky for me I won this book and a couple more at a genealogical conference I went to. Normally you can find used copies of books on line for a lot less. Unfortunately this book is not one of those. Looks like whoever buys it loves the book and just keeps it, otherwise there would be used copies of the book available on line at some discount.

    Regards, Jim
    Hidden Genealogy Nuggets


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