Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The importance of sourcing

The most important lesson to learn in genealogy is that you need to source everything. I can't stress emphatically enough that every piece of information that you find and every word, date or quote needs to be sourced. The more detailed your sourcing is, the more valuable it will be to you in the future. 

Don't make the mistake of thinking you will remember where you heard something or found something. You may today but in 5 years, chances are you will still be working on your genealogy and you won't have a clue where you found that piece of information unless you write it down. 

Write down the page, the book, the location of the book or the website exactly. If you hear family stories, write down who told them to you or who they are quoting. These stories are important but trying to identify them later when the source may no longer be with us can be frustrating.

You will want to try to find primary sources as often as possible. In my next post, I will define what a primary source is and the importance of finding and verifying all sources. 

I know you are probably ready to get started but a few minutes spent preparing and learning about how to make sure what you find is valid will save you hours of frustration later on. Just bear with me for now, it will be worth the effort.

Sourcing is the single most important step in your genealogy, don't take any shortcuts, if you do, you will regret it. 

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