Monday, September 25, 2017

GenDoc Study Group: Chapter 3

Mastering Genealogical Documentation Study Group
Chapter Three – Citation Settings, Forms, and Shortcuts
Marceline Beem

Jones, Thomas W. "Citation Settings, Forms, and Shortcuts." In Mastering Genealogical Documentation, 25-36. Arlington, VA: National Genealogical Society, 2017.

This week’s focus is on the three types of citations and when to use them:  full citations, shortened citations, and reference notes.  As discussed last week, genealogists use footnotes or endnotes to provide citations.  Since footnotes are the most preferred layout, I’ll use that term in the following discussion, but the same principals apply to endnotes as well.

The first time a source is used, the footnote would use a full citation. This citation answers the following questions:

Who said it?
In what (source) did they say it?
When did they say it?
Where is that source located?

After the first citation of a specific source, following references to it may use a shortened version to preserve space.  The abbreviated source should contain enough information to remind the reader of what source is being referenced.  To that end, the shortened citation may answer only the first two questions.

Full reference notes are rarely used in proof statements, proof arguments, or other family narratives, but they would be used in bibliographies or other “works cited” formats (i.e., in a syllabus for a webinar or workshop).

This week I am writing a family sketch about my great-grandmother, Frances Horton Wallace Beem (1879-1846).  I will share one fact and the sources I am using, and show how I constructed each of the three citation types for these sources.


Frances and her first husband, Charles Wallace, had a daughter named Edith, who was born in 1899 and died in 1902.  I first learned of Edith from my great-aunt, Nella Beem Critchett, who I interviewed by phone when I first started researching in the late 1990’s.  Unfortunately, I no longer have those notes, and do not have the date I interviewed her (I lost the notes in one of several moves, and this was not yet sourced in my database files when I lost the notes). The citation for this interview follows, and is based on Evidence Explained (first edition):

Reference Note

Critchett, Nella (Beem).  Bend, Deschutes, Oregon.  Interview by Marceline Beem, n.d.  Handwritten notes.  Privately held by interviewer, but notes were lost in 2001.

Full Citation

Nella (Beem) Critchett, daughter of Frances Horton Wallace Beem, (Bend, Deschutes, Oregon), phone interview by Marceline Beem, n.d.; interview notes privately held by interviewer until they were lost in 2001.

Short Citation

Nella (Beem) Critchett, phone interview, n.d.

My aunt was the youngest of Frances’ children, born in 1916, so she never knew her older half-sister.  To meet GPS standards, I should have other evidence to support Aunt Nell’s statements.   Tennessee did not record birth or death certificates during Edith’s short life, but fortunately, there are two other sources which support my great-grandmother’s memories of her young daughter, which she passed on to my aunt: the 1900 census and Edith’s tombstone.

1900 Census

Figure 1. 1900 Census Listing for the Charles Wallace Family


Wallace, Charles, head, b. June 1875, age 25, married two years
Frances, wife, b. Jan 1879, married two years, age 21, mother of one child (one living)
Edith, daughter, b. 1899 (month faded), age 10 months

Reference Note

Tennessee.  Anderson County.  1900 U.S. census, population schedule.  NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1557. Washington, D.C.: Natonal Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Full Citation

1900 U.S census, Anderson County, Tennessee, population schedule, 5th Civil District, Enumeration District [ED] 5, p. 7B (penned), dwelling 138, family 140, Charles Wallace; digital images, ( : accessed 24 September 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 1557.

Short Citation

1900 U.S census, Anderson Co., Tenn., pop. sch., ED 5, p. 7B, Charles Wallace.


Edith was buried in Leach Cemetery.  A picture of the tombstone is on Find A Grave.


Edith Wallace
July 30, 1899
June 15, 1902

Reference Note

Find A Grave.  Leach Cemetery (Anderson County, Tennessee).  Database and digital images.  ( : 2017).

Full Citation

Find a Grave, Leach Cemetery (Anderson County, Tennessee), database and digital images ( : accessed 23 Sep 2017), gravestone for Edith Wallace (1899-1902), memorial #12453839, created by Pat Lacy, November 22, 2005.

Short Citation

Find a Grave, Leach Cemetery (Anderson Co., Tenn.), database and digital images, gravestone for Edith Wallace (1899-1902).

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