Sourcing Is An Art: Using Location For Organization

We all know that sourcing is an art, not a science, right?  And there is no one way to write a source. Lots of wrong ways, but also correct variations that allow you to find your source and the information it contains again. Also you allow others to assess where the evidence came from and how credible it might be.  Or might not be.

But I also use my sources as an organizational tool.  I’ll bet that you use Find A Grave in your normal genealogy routine.  When I write my sources, I start with the name of the cemetery:

Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Rockbridge, Virginia,  James C Donald (1836 – 1899), Find A Grave (http://findagrave.com : accessed 16 Mar 2015), Find A Grave Memorial no. 34,346,979. Memorial by Thomas Daniels, photo by anne mitchell; photo and maker legible.

Now when I look at a listing of all of my Find A Grave entries, I can easily scan the list and see everyone in my tree who is buried in the same cemetery:

find-a-grave-sources

I also do the same thing for census records. It allows me to look within a county and district and see more or less who seemed to live near each other.  If I were going to publish a census citation, I would make it follow the Evidence Explained format, but for examining data to show people in relation to each other, this suits my needs.  And I can find what I need to write the full citation as needed, when needed.

census-sources

Usually you find people living near each other as expected, but sometimes you find people who surprise you.

Ready Cash and William Wallace appear on separate, consecutive pages in the 1840 census, but in a source listing, the “nearness” pops right out.  Charlton Wallace was very likely living in the household of William.  Martha Jane Cash was very likely living with her father Ready.  In 1842, Charlton married Martha Jane.  Wonder how they might have met!? 🙂

1840-source

Finding new ways to organize your data and use what you have, usually brings new insights.  And this one, is pretty easy to implement.

Comments

2 comments on “Sourcing Is An Art: Using Location For Organization”
  1. Clever way to look at information differently. Thanks for sharing.

  2. publicpen says:

    Very helpful! I’m in the process of filling in and improving all my source citations. This seems like such a helpful tip, to allow the sources to reveal information that might otherwise be lost. Thank you.

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