top of page

References for Genealogy Research

When you hire a professional genealogist to write a report for you, one thing which surprises many clients is that it comes with references, either as footnotes on the botton of each page, or as a long list of endnotes. If you've not been asked to reference anything since you left school or university, then you might wonder why we bother. It would certainly be quicker and easier not to. There are however a couple of very good reasons why we go through the process of noting down a reference for every fact we put in a report.

Genealogy Research is not a One-Off

Anyone who has ever dipped a toe into the world of family history research knows it's not something which is ever completed. New records are being digitised all the time. or you might come across something in the local archives which suddenly opens up a whole new line of research. Often, this means going back to revisit previous research. If you haven't noted where you found an ancestor's birth, or military record, then you can waste hours trying to refind a piece of information which wasn't easy to uncover in the first place. If you have referenced the original piece of information, then you should be able to go right back to it, whether online or in a book.

Most professionals will reference in a consistent style but if you are just referencing your own work, then feel free to develop your own referencing style. The main things you should include are the type of record, the date on which the record was created, the location of the record, and where to find the person you were looking for within that record such as a schedule number, birth reference number, or page number in a book.

Another Genealogy Researcher Can Pick It Up

One of the nicest things about doing family history is that you never know when in the future someone else will be interested in picking up where you left off, or following another branch on your tree. If you've noted down where you have found all of your information, this can make life a lot easier for them.

Publishing Your Research

Not everyone wants to turn their research into a book or academic paper. It's easier than ever to self-publish on platforms like Amazon and put your famly history, local history or house history out there for the world to read. It's really important that anything you put in print is properly researched, and putting references in lets your readers show you have done that.

30 views0 comments


bottom of page