Citing Sources: Remember Your Cousin in Santa Fe

Thank you for the reminder about citing sources!  Sharing this for all to remember proper format isn’t what’s important – make it easier for others to find it.

Taken from: Genealogy Tip of the Day by Michael John Neill

Remember Your Cousin in Santa Fe

Citing sources frustrates some researchers. They worry about format, style, and the appropriate placement of punctuation.


Don’t fret over such things. As we will see your concern should be over your cousin in Santa Fe.

If you put a date of an event in your genealogical database, include the reason. It could be

  • death certificate for John Q. Rampley in the Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, courthouse
  • birth certificate for Susanna Rucker in the Orange County, Virginia, courthouse
  • family bible in possession of my aunt, Mrs. Donna Askme Questions
  • personal memory–he died after I graduated high school
  • personal memory–they married before we moved to Idaho

Purists will frown at these citations. Let the the frown lines be their own reward. Are there a few minor details missing? Yes. Is it better than no citation at all? Yes. Those who quibble over the precise comma placement will roll their eyes. Let them roll their eyes til their sockets wear out.

Your cousin from Santa Fe who encounters your file will be glad you went to the trouble.

Worry about your cousin in Santa Fe. The purists and the quibblers will always be with us and are difficult to please. Leave them to their frowning and eye rolling. Your cousin in Santa Fe will find your citations a cool breeze refreshing their research frustration.

Remember your cousin in Santa Fe.


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