When I first started out in my research, I was naive and uninformed about the data I was collecting. As I grew further into this endeavor I kept reading and hearing about source citation. What is that? Why are the experts emphasizing this every chance they got? I had to find out more about this.
What I understood was that each date, story, name gathering, and the photocopies that were adding up in my files was totally useless! How can it mean anything to anyone? There was no integrity to my research and I had to address it immediately if I was going to continue with my quest and do it right. The best book at the time available was "Cite Your Sources" by Lackey which was added to my library.
I learned that there are varying degrees to sources; Primary sources are records that were created at the time of an event. Secondary sources are records that were created a significant amount of time after an event occurred. Circumstantial is probable evidence based on a collection of facts that, when considered together, can be used to infer a conclusion about something unknown. Each one of these items should be carefully considered when noting each document.
I have become more diligent to record where I got my information, who it was produced by and when. It will help you in the long run when you need to revisit that item again.
Since then, a book was published by Elizabeth Shown Mills called, "Evidence!" which has been now considered the methodology all genealogists prefer to use since it breaks it down further. The book is artfully written and explains how to cite each individual document you have gathered. It should be on the top of your list of books that you acquire.
The purpose in this post is not to be nagging, but to prevent redoing your hard work and to make your information valuable evidence. Name gathering is only that, and all it produces in the end is perpetuating inaccurate information that will be copied over and over.....
I am a Pacific Northwest born and raised intermediate genealogist. Genealogy has been in my blood since about 1980 and have been fortunate enough to have a Mom who was a family interviewer, picture collector and was my genealogy partner until ill health forced her to put it aside.
I have a husband who has been a great support to my hobby and also a good partner. Our only child, Andrea was married this summer to a person we adore, William Kyle Johnson. We are so looking forward to future grandchildren and making more family history.