Citing sources in family research #general


Ellen
 

What is the proper way to cite sources used in family research, when the sources are databases and spreadsheets containing transcribed and/or translated records?  For example:

  • Extracts of Latvian vital records of Lithuanian Jews, available to LitvakSIG contributors in Excel files 
  • Extracts from the 1897 All-Russian Census in Dvinsk, also in Excel, although the original records were digitized by the Latvian State Historical Archives and translated by the late Christine Usdin  
  • Records indexed in a JewishGen database - the originals are held by specific archives or listed as "not microfilmed"

Citing U.S. sources, like Census records and birth certificates, is relatively easy.  But when I'm not actually working from an original record, I'm not sure how to cite the source. 

Thanks.

Ellen Morosoff Pemrick 
Saratoga County, NY

Researching WEISSMAN/VAYSMAN (Ostropol, Ukraine); MOROZ and ESTRIN/ESTERKIN (Shklov & Bykhov, Belarus); LESSER/LESZEROVITZ, MAIMAN, and BARNETT/BEINHART/BERNHART (Lithuania/Latvia); and ROSENSWEIG/ROSENZWEIG, KIRSCHEN, and SCHWARTZ (Botosani, Romania)


MARLISE GROSS
 

For what you are describing, you would use a layered citation, which is basically 2 citations stacked together.  First you do the citation to the database that you actually used.  Then you use a semicolon to bridge your citation to the next citation where you have the location of the original information in the archive, or where ever.  Here is a link to look at https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-19-layered-citations-work-layered-clothing. And you can use regular words to describe some of the nuances of the record availability.

I hope that helps.

Marlise Gross
Cherry Hill, New Jersey


Marion Werle
 

Marlise is absolutely correct, but I would also add that genealogical best practices say to obtain (and have translated, if necessary) a copy of the underlying record for the database or spreadsheet entry,. Database records are derivative records (derived from an underlying original source) and are subject to errors. Many/most of the Lithianian metrical records ((vital records) are available on FamilySearch and the Dvinsk crensus records from the Latvian Archives are digitized on either the Latvian Archives ' Raduraksti website or on FamilySearch. See  https://latvia.jewishgen.org/research/archival-resources, the sections on Raduraksti  and FamilySearch, on how to find original copies of Latvian census records. For the Lithuanian  records see the LivakSIG website https://www.litvaksig.org/all-lithuania-database/fhl-film-navigation.

In general, just because the database states "not microfilmed" doesn't necessarily mean there isn't a digital copy, so double check (for LivakSIG only the State Hidtorical Archives in Vilnius - LVIA -  has records that have been filmed). You can also contact the various archives directly for original copies.

The citations would then follow the Evidence Explained (book version) guidelines for citing archival documents. The Evidence Explained website cited by Marlise also has examples for citing FamilySearch unindexed records. 

Hope that helps.

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Marion Werle
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