Thursday, February 17, 2011

Citation debate? Are you serious?

I am clearly not one of the cool kids. I had no idea that citations and their format was such a hot button. I am fairly new to genealogy blogging, but not to genealogy research or research in general. So imagine my surprise when I came across the post Source Cititations in Genealogy: Church or Cult by Kerry at I really enjoy Kerry's blog and I found this particular post fascinating. In the post Kerry discusses the lash back from a previous post on her blog regarding source citations. It seems that some people really get upset about the particular format of a source citation. I have read several blog posts in the same vein over the past week.

I completely concur that providing sources for your research is of paramount importance. It is just common sense to provide information for the location of each item, not only for other researchers, but for yourself. But why is there a debate over format? Seriously, who cares? I promise you that there are bigger issues in the world. It seems that if you have the meat, such as book title and author, page number and repository, that you have covered the bases. If I can find the source from the information you provide than you have succeeded. It truly doesn't matter how the citation looks as long as it is functional.

I suppose what really surprises me is that there are individuals that get so frustrated over the format of a citation that they would get upset with other genealogists for it. I can't get over the silliness of that. Genealogy is a hobby. And even though there are professionals in the field, it is still a hobby. Our research will not change the world. The point is to enjoy the process and learn something about yourself and your family as you do it.

And for those that get anal about format, here is something to really burn your shorts. I would estimate that out of the 100 or so people I have contacted regarding family history information in the past couple of years, 80% of them could not tell me where they got their information. There is a bigger picture here. So I say, let's just all take a deep breath. Let others cite as they see fit. Isn't it most important that they do it all?

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