Easy Ways to Create Citations

During the Genea-Blogger games, one of the categories involved learning how to properly format and use citations.  Though I cite correctly in my professional life, when it comes to genealogy, I’d been very laid back, so this gave me an opportunity to start to clean up my citations in my trees.

While doing this, I used two tools to help make the formatting part easy – Worldcat & EasyBib.

WorldCat – is an online database of what libraries all over the world have in their collections. Therefore, if there is a book you are trying to track down, this is one of the best sources to consult.  Previously, I’ve blogged about the Lists feature, which I find very helpful.  But the citation feature was particularly helpful for this category of the games.  When you do a search in Worldcat and retrieve a record, there is a link that you can use to get the citation of that book (or item) formatted for you in multiple ways.

When you select “Cite this Item,” you then get a pop-up screen that lists the citation for you in MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard & Turabian styles. All you then have to do is copy and paste.  It’s great!

The other site I used was particularly usefulfor non-book formats. Need to cite a website? Newspaper article? Some other format? EasyBib comes to the rescue.

EasyBib – uses a fill-in-forms to create your citation.  It is free if you want MLA style, but costs 7.99/year for the MyBibPro if you want APA style.  Not a bad price, but for my genealogical needs, not worth it. I’m okay with MLA.  :-)

The first step with EasyBib is select what type of format you have -they offer over 50 to choose from, including podcasts, blogs, letters, comics, and more.

Once you select a format, you are given fields to fill-in and you only have to fill-in what you know. So, no worries if there is a part of the citation for which you don’t know.  Then, there is also a section you can click on to expand the form if you retreived to document the method in which you found it – online?  an abstracts journal? Just select your source

There are also several other tools and features on the EasyBib site.  If you register you can share your lists, and use some of the other features.  They even offer a widget you can put on your website to create your citations without even having to go to the EasyBib website. That’s coolness!

Google Books Index

In case you haven’t happened across this yet, Jennifer at Rainy Day Research has a great resource that she is building – a Google Books Index.

Jennifer creates a list of those books in Google Books that are public domain and focused on genealogical/historical information.  As I come across books that I think would be good additions, I just send them to her, but then I also thought I should write a blog post about it as I find it quite helpful.

Show & Tell

The call for submissions to the 55th Carnival of Genealogy has been announced and the topic is Show & Tell! Participants are charged with sharing an “…heirloom, a special photo, a valuable document, or a significant person that is a very special part of your family history.”

To this end, I’d like to share this picture of my grandmother, Alice Elizabeth McNair as part of her high school graduating class.  To accompany the picture, I also have her original commencement program as well! These two are part of my treasures because of the fact that I have a photo and the program.

My grandmother is pictured 2nd from the left in the front row of girls; as the picture shows, there were 13 graduating members.  Last year, I made contact with a distant cousin of my grandmother’s who is also related to one of the other girls graduating that year.  I’m not sure which one she is, but the cousin informed me that the girl had passed only a few months prior to us talking. I was able to send her copies of this photo and the commencement program for her to share with my grandmother’s deceased classmate’s children.

The high school my grandmother graduated from was Plymouth Colored High School in Plymouth, Washington County, North Carolina.  I am pretty sure that somewhere, I have her diploma as well (or, my mother has it).

The Final Post

My final post for the GeneaBlogger Games. What a joy it has been! I’ve already posted what I’ve done, but let me do my final medal counts for the categories I was going to compete in.

  • Category 1: I did my 50 citations, so I earned a PLATINUM Medal for this one.
  • Category 3: a big fat 0! I knew this was the one least likely to get done because a) I’m fairly well organized anyway and b) it takes me a LONG time to do my organization. I cannot just file. I have to file, check records, review records, seek new info to fill in gaps, etc.  So, while I got a start and did a few of my loose files, I did not focus on this category.
  • Category 4: I did four of the five tasks, thus earning a DIAMOND medal. I enjoyed this category tremendously and it was the most important for me; particularly the pre-publish. I am beginning another Master’s program in September with a very heavy course load and will not be doing much genealogy.  With so many blogs, I took this on to create posts to last through the month. I only did enough posts for two of my blogs, but the remainder of the week, I will focus on getting the others. V
  • Category 5: DIAMOND medal here as well.  I just decided not to bother asking anyone to join Facebook. There are many great people signing up already!

I made a page to track my overall tasks that is here. Overall, I’m quite happy with this experience. I have learned a lot and gotten to read a lot of great blog posts from others about the process.  What an amazing network of genealogists there is online!

The End is Upon Us

So, today is the last day of the GeneaBlogger Games, I have to say this has been an excellent activity to participate in! I haven’t done as much as I’d liked, but I’ve had fun doing what I have done.

I’ve been very busy this past week with work and home life so haven’t done all that much, nor really felt like doing much genealogy actually. But, over this past week, I have completed the following tasks for the games.

  • Category 4: Write a brief biographical sketch of one of your ancestors — There is a new Heritage Series book being published for Edgecombe County. Since my ancestry goes back before 1855, I can submit up to 1,000 words. I have chosen to break this up into two 500 word entries – one for my ancestors Rufus & Mariah (Wimberly) McNair, and one for Mariah’s parents – Allen & Della (Battle) Wimberly.  Prior to the games I wrote my entry for Rufus & Mariah, but this morning I wrote my entry for Allen & Della.
  • Category 5: Participate in an indexing project – I currently am the county coordinator for Blount County, Tennesse’s UsGenweb page.  I recently compiled a bunch of obituary and funeral home records into a database for central searching.  A few weeks ago, a volunteer submitted some cemetery transcriptions, some of which I entered into the database.  I wrote a blog post about her submission and I’ve entered 72 of the 750 names she submitted into the Death Records Database. I do not plan to add any more for she has done the fabulous work of entering them all into FindAGrave.
  • Category 5: Assist another researcher with a research request or lookup – I’mnot exactly sure if this counts, but a few weeks ago, I was contacted by a distant relative of someone I’ve been researching – James Carrol Napier.  I happened to mention to him that I had a copy of the manumission papers for James Napier and his father, William Carroll Napier and he expressed interest. So, I scanned them and will send them to him today.   Hey – it was a request right? :-)
  • Category 5: Join a genealogical society - for awhile now, I’ve been wanting to join the Middle Tennessee Genealogy Society, so I finally did my application and put it in the mailbox today. Yeah!

Day 8 – GeneaBlogger Games

I am having so much fun with these games! So far today I have not made any progress, but yesterday I moved forward with another task in Category 4: Write! Write! Write!

Using the pre-publish feature in WordPress, I wrote six posts that will be published later this month, and in September.  Five are for my Black Nashville History & Genealogy blog, and one is for my Blount County, Tennessee USGenWeb blog.

In September, my coursework will keep me ultra busy, so I doubt I will have any time at all. I am trying to get myself ahead by preparing post for all my other blogs outside of this one, so that I do not have to worry about them during the month of September.  I am very excited about it, so will continue to push on as the month winds down.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get to the organize category….

Day 6 – Genea-Blogger Games

Over the past several days, I have been focusing on working the Cite Your Sources category.  I usually have not had issues creating a citation for a source, but, I have had issues in doing them in any kind of standard format.

Towards this task, I have redone or created the following sources

  • 52 citations for people in the 1870 census. You can see my list here. Over the past couple of years, I have been very inconsistent in whether or not I document someone as sourced in a census, even though I do consistently attach the census image to them along with details. The benefit of having it as a source however, is that when I export to Gedcom and do my narrative report in RootsMagic, the sources come out and it is clear that I have located that person in a census record. I have a LOT of future work to do to be more consistent with sourcing this.
  • 9 citations for death certificates – again, I have more than this in my database, but done correctly (see the individuals I have done this for, here), I learned how to do citations for hard copies, and I kind of made up how to do a citation for ones I get from Ancestry databases.  The cool thing about Ancestry is that they provide you information in the right format, so after putting the citation together according to the Cite Your Sources guide, I then appended the database source information from Ancestry. Here is an example of a citation for a death certificate that I’ve gotten from Ancestry — should I be doing something differently?
    • Death Certificate for Georgeanna McNair, 3 May 1934, Certificate #8, Washington County, North Carolina. County Register of Deeds, Plymouth, Washington County, North Carolina. North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data: North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. North Carolina Death Certificates. Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

This makes my total count to date of 61, and thus, I have earned my platinum medal!  Whoohoo!

I know this is just a small drop in the bucket, but I am actually very glad to be doing this. Even if I don’t get them all ever done right, from this point forward I can be more consistent, and as I have time, I’ll go back and update others.

Over the next few days I’ll be turning my attention to Category 3: Organize Your Research.

Day 2 – Genea-Blogger Games

At the close of Day 2, I’ve marked off two additional tasks in my list of goals.

Category 4: Write, Write, Write
Task: Participate in a genealogy or family history related blog carnival.
Accomplishment: I contributed a post for the 4th edition of Smile for the Camera.  When I saw that one of the options was to do a scrapbook page, I knew that would be how I would share my favorite photo of myself.  I enjoy digi-scrapping, though I don’t do much of it.

Category 5 : Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness
Task: Join another genea-blogger’s blog network on Facebook Blog Networks
Accomplishment: I joined more than one, I joined 8 of them (Megan Roots World, Genealogy Reviews Online, Eastman’s, Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, Ancestories, Facebook Bootcamp for Genea-Bloggers, Forensic Genealogy Blog, & Kinnexions) and then started my own! I’ve not really used the Blog Networks application in Facebook, and after this experience, I think I can say that I’m not likely to use it much more. I guess I just don’t find the utility in it beyond just sharing blogs that you read with others on Facebook. I find it rather ineffective for even coming close to being a sufficient feed reader, Google Reader and BlogLines work much better for that. And, I keep track of too many blogs to even try to do a thorough list of favorites in a location outside of my feed reader. But, you don’t know these things unless you experiment right?

Here is the screenshot of my Facebook activity this evening:

Tomorrow, I think I will start looking at the Cite Your Sources category and buckle down and figure out the proper format I should be using.

My Favorite Photograph

The 4th Edition of Smile for the Camera calls for participants to reflect on their favorite photograph.  There are so many pictures in my collection, it’s so hard, but, I can say that this is my favorite picture of me.

I chose to put the picture in a digital scrapbook layout called “Spring Tulips” by Jennie Papai.  My mother took me to take this picture when I was about 9 months old and we were living in New York.  My favorite aspect about the picture is that I am holding my name in block letters.  This may sound vain, but I’ve always had a “thing” about seeing my name in print, about hearing my name being called. I truly love my name, it is unique and I am glad that my mother chose it for me.  Yeah, I had a big head, but I still love me :-)

This is my first time participating in the Smile for the Camera carnival, and only my second time participating in a carnival at all.  Perhaps after these GeneaBlogger Games, I’ll be more likely to participate! It is interesting to read what everyone contributes.