I didn’t get drawn into genealogy because I love to write a citation. Before I started genealogy, I hadn’t used a citation in probably 30 years. Seriously. It was not part of my daily diet. It still is the least exciting part about genealogy ranking right up there with the tedious task of scanning. But...like you I made my share of mistakes and I have been fixing those mistakes.
We all were pulled into the excitement of the research, the thrill of the hunt and discovery of our family history. Eventually we all come to realize the importance of knowing where our information came from, and what sources we have to support our history as fact. However, more often then you realize, this knowledge arrives after we've been researching for some time.
Now what do we do?
Seasoned professionals love to beat this stick. I like to think it's not because there exists some rigid rules meant to frighten and intimidate you from this very passionate hobby. I think it’s because many of them made these very mistakes. They understand the work involved in going back through your research and making sure you have proper sources for all your information. They want to help you from repeating history. They are trying to save you time and grief later. But they also understand completely if you too got caught up in the excitement of the hunt and paid little attention to those boring citations. We're not passing judgement, many of us, whether we care to admit it or not have walked in those shoes.
So I’m not going to beat that stick as well. I ‘m going to assume you followed human nature and did like the rest of us, got caught up in the excitement and left the citations at the curb. But of course, now your ready to clean up your research and address those sources and citations.
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Here's a 10 step plan to help you do just that! It's meant too be easy, uncomplicated and do-able in manageable chunks. Once you create your system and put your plan in place your citations will slowly get under control. You'll expand your knowledge of sources and citations and you just might tear down a brick wall by looking at your research with fresh eyes.
There is no miracle to taming those out of control sources and citations, only a slow and steady pace. Check out the mind map below that lays out this 10 step plan.
If you would like a larger view of this mind map click here, you can download a PDF of this tool to help you clean up your sources and citations.