One of my goals this year is to complete the NGS Home Study Class. The first assignment- send in a sourced Family Group Sheet. “No prob!” was my first reaction. After all I have been filling these out for years and I thought all I had to do was pick a family and hit print. Boy was I wrong!!
For this assignment I decided to choose the William A. McManus family of Sumter, SC since I had recently been working on this line. I figured I could complete the homework for the class and research my family at the same time.
When I printed out the Family Group sheet I noticed that my sources, especially those that I had added as long as 15 years ago, were not very good. They were put into my data base long before I understood the importance of documentation and before the source templates were added to my genealogy program. It’s not that they weren't sourced, it s just that several were not complete. I needed an “Extreme Source Citation Makeover” -does Ty do genealogy?!?
|Ty Pennington- Picture Courtesy Wikipedia|
I pulled out my handy copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills and went to work. I checked each piece of information for all of William McManus’ family members. From Census Records, Directories, Cemeteries and Family Bibles I double checked and made sure each was cited in a way that would help anyone, including me, find the record again if needed.
Now, a week later I feel that I have a well sourced Family Group Sheet. My first assignment is ready to turn in!
Did I learn anything from this experience? A lot! Not only did I get a crash course in citing sources, but I saw how far I have come from those early days of just adding to my data base whatever I found on my ancestors. Today I try to analyze each piece of information and cite sources as correctly as I can. With the help of technology it is now so much easier to do.
I am sure there are still sources recorded in my data base that need an “Extreme Makeover”.I will work on them one family at a time.
As for my William McManus family, there's one more thing to say - “Welcome Home Source Citations, Welcome Home!”