Source of the Source

Dear Editor,

If I do not use the term "Source Citation" as being one thing, but a Source and Citation, two parts of a Full Reference Note, Would the Source of the Source be part of the Source?

For Example: QuickSheet, Citing Ancestry Databases & Images, Basic Format: Databases Created by Ancestry, the "citing" part of Full Reference Note, for me, helps define the Source and it's is included in the Full Reference Note at the end. 

Another way of saying this, from the example above, it is the Credit Line which is referring to the Source, as defined in the first column. It's an Ancestry Record, but that got that information from the "citing" record group, from the State Archives.

Thank you,


Submitted byEEon Fri, 07/03/2020 - 16:23

Russ, I think you are referring to the definitions assigned by some software to the longstanding concepts, "source" and "citation." If so (as we discussed some years ago), their definitions contradict the longstanding definitions of these two terms and, thereby, create confusion EE follows the classic, logical definitions: 

  • A source is the entity that gives us the information.
  • A citation is the sentence in which we identify that source and the information we take from it.

The example you refer to, from QuickSheet: Citing Ancesetry Databases & Images ("Basic Format: Databases Created by Ancestry"), has two layers that follow this pattern:

  • Layer 1: "Name of Database in Quotation Marks," descriptor, Website Title in Italics (URL : date), specific entry;
  • Layer 2: Whatever source information Ancestry supplies (i.e., the source of our source), in quotation marks if we copy the exact words. This layer might also be called the "credit line"--i.e., the line where we report whatever credit Ancestry gives to its own source.

Both layers constitute a citation of our source.

Submitted byrowrthingtonon Fri, 07/03/2020 - 19:20

Dear Editor,

That loud noise you may have just heard, was my brain exploding. No wonder I can't take the elements of information that we might be given from any genealogy website, and put it into my genealogy software program. 

I went further this time, but trying to do the same thing in a spreadsheet.

But that also gets back to a Citation being a craft, not a science. If it were a science, I could fill in the blanks in the spreadsheet or fill in fields presented in the program I use.

Thank you,