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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree August 2018 > Books

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REFERENCING FOR GENEALOGISTS: SOURCES & CITATION by Ian G MacDonald

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Quality is infinitely preferable to quantity in most aspects of our lives, and this adage is especially true when it comes to our family history research. Without sources and citations, how can we – and any other interested parties – be sure we are following the right family tree? If you want to have credible research to communicate your findings to others for years to come, referencing sources is key. Essentially, genealogists need to be able to clearly show what material has been used and where it was found. However, not every researcher is sure how best to do this, nor indeed is clear on what constitutes primary and secondary sources, and standards of acceptability. And with the digital revolution in full flow, how do we reliably cite our sources gained online?

Help is at hand with this new reference book – the first of its kind – by Ian MacDonald, a lecturer in genealogical studies at the University of Strathclyde. Building on methods taught to students at Strathclyde, he gives a wealth of practical advice about how to provide clear identification of all sources used in genealogical research, from census and service records to letters and personal property. Learn how best to characterise records and specify locations, read up on the ‘Harvard’ style of referencing, how to include footnotes and endnotes in our own writings, using referencing software, the cloud, and much more. With a final flourish on how to provide citations in the future, including from social media and DNA analyses, this is a thought-provoking and valuable guide for researchers as well as being an appeal for raising standards in ‘a world awash with poor genealogy’.

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What did your ancestors do for a job? Were they an apprentice? Did they take the King’s Shilling? Or work down the mine? What were the opportunities available to them, and what were the very real hazards of the work they did all day? This issue we’re exploring those employment records that can help you find out more about your ancestors’ work in times gone by. Discovering the history of your ancestors’ employment will give you invaluable insights into the lives they led. What they earned, and how they earned it, will shed light on their income and lifestyle, the communities they lived in, and the roof over their heads. Investigate their work; understand their lives… We have all the info you need to help you do this.