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Tuesday's Tip - Source Citations

  TT - Source Citations

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Source Citations

Some people get overwhelmed and stressed out when it comes to citing their sources. If you know WHY you are citing a source it will make more sense to you. There are two reasons why you cite your sources.

1) You should craft your citation so that anyone coming behind you has the information they need to be able to find the source for themselves.

2) Your citation needs to contain the information other researchers needs to have to be able to weigh the evidence. It will also help YOU weigh your evidence.

The second one actually hangs more people up. For example, I need to know if you looked at the original document in a courthouse or if you looked at the document on microfilm, or if you read a transcription of the document online or if you read an abstract of the document in a book, etc. Knowing exactly what you used as a source gives me the information I need so that I can weigh your evidence.

The first two chapters in Elizabeth Shown Mills' book Evidence Explained will help you understand both concepts ("Fundamentals of Evidence Analysis" and "Fundamentals of Citation"). The book goes on to give countless examples of all of the different types of sources you will encounter making it very easy to figure out what you need to record in your citation but it is still very important to understand the rationale behind it (those first two chapters). Legacy's SourceWriter templates are based on the examples in Ms. Mills' book. It is a shortcut to getting consistent citations that contain the needed information.

The biggest challenge is figuring out which template to use. If you are looking at an online index of births you would not choose the birth certificates template because you are not looking at birth certificates. We get a lot of questions from people who are at a loss on how to fill out the fields because they don't have the information that goes in those fields. It is because they are using the wrong template for that source.

Having said that, you might have a choice between two templates based on where you want the emphasis (which piece of information comes first in the citation) and you might want to fill out the fields in a certain way to get the citation to read out the way you want. Understanding the hows and whys of putting together the citation will help you make those decisions. Crafting a good citation is an art.

I highly recommend Ms. Mills' book. It is an investment in your education. Please don't make the mistake of skipping those first two chapters. There is also an Evidence Explained website and an active forum where you can ask citation specific questions. There are a lot of very helpful articles on the webpage you can read with real life examples.

Geoff did an excellent webinar on Legacy's SourceWriter templates that will answer your questions specific to how the SourceWriter templates work. Sources and Citations Made Simple, Standard and Powerful. You don't want to miss this one and it is FREE.
Citing your sources should not be stressful.
  Source Citations

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips checkout the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.

Get the Most from - free webinar by NEHGS' Clair Vail now online


The recording of today's webinar, "Get the Most from" by NEHGS's Clair Vail is now available to view for free at 

Webinar Description is the most-used genealogical society website in the world. It provides family historians access to more than 400 million records spanning the U.S. and beyond, including one of the most extensive online collections of early American records, and the largest searchable collection of published genealogical research journals and magazines. Learn what online resources exist, how to navigate the website, perform effective database searches, browse our collections online, and more.

View the Recording at

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 48 minute recording of "Get the Most from" PLUS the after-webinar party is now available to view in our webinar library for free. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership.

Coupon code

Use webinar coupon code - nehgs2 - for 10% off anything at or, valid through Monday, June 6, 2016

MassLegacy QuickGuides for New England - 2.95 each

Legacy QuickGuides contain four pages of valuable information covering a variety of genealogy research topics. Legacy QuickGuides are written by genealogists and family historians who are experts in subject areas. Also available for your Kindle or Kindle app at Amazon.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 356 classes, 511 hours of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 1,529 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year
  • Monthly membership: $9.95/month

Click here to subscribe.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • Researching Your Washington State Ancestors by Mary Roddy. June 8.
  • Introduction to the Freedmen's Bureau by Angela Walton-Raji. June 10.
  • Ticked Off! Those Pesky Pre-1850 Census Tic Marks by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen. June 15.
  • Digging Deeper in German Parish Records by Gail Blankenau. June 22.
  • Circles or Triangles? What Shape is Your DNA? by Diahan Southard. June 29.
  • Navigating Naturalization Records by Lisa Alzo. July 6.
  • A Genealogist's Guide to Heraldry by Shannon Combs-Bennett. July 13.
  • Finding French Ancestors by Luana Darby. July 15.
  • Organize Your Online Life by Lisa Louise Cooke. July 20.
  • Researching Women - Community Cookbooks and What They Tell Us About Our Ancestors by Gena Philibert-Ortega. July 27.
  • The Germanic French - Researching Alsatian and Lorrainian Families by John Philip Colletta. July 30.
  • Solutions for Missing and Scarce Records by Tom Jones. July 30.
  • Getting Started with Microsoft PowerPoint by Thomas MacEntee. August 3.
  • The Battle for Bounty Land - War of 1812 and Mexican-American Wars by Beth Foulk. August 10.
  • Homestead Act of 1862 - Following the Witnesses by Bernice Bennett. August 12.
  • Successfully Applying to a Lineage Society by Amy Johnson Crow. August 17.
  • Using Findmypast to Unlock Your Irish Ancestry by Brian Donovan. August 24.
  • The Treasure Trove in Legislative Petitions by Judy Russell. September 14.
  • Clooz - A Document-Based Software Companion by Richard Thomas. September 16.
  • How to Use for Beginners by Devin Ashby. September 21.
  • Beginning Polish Genealogy by Lisa Alzo and Jonathan Shea. September 28.
  • AHA! Analysis of Handwriting for Genealogical Research by Ron Arons. October 5.
  • Time and Place - Using Genealogy's Cross-Hairs by Jim Beidler. October 12.
  • Finding Your Ancestors' German Hometown by Ursula Krause. October 14.
  • Social History Websites That Bring Your Ancestor's Story to Life by Gena Philibert-Ortega. October 19.
  • Flip for Flickr - Share, Store and Save Your Family Photos by Maureen Taylor. October 26.
  • Analysis and Correlation - Two Keys to Sound Conclusions by Chris Staats. November 2.
  • Publishing a Genealogy E-Book by Thomas MacEntee. November 9.
  • Dating Family Photographs by Jane Neff Rollins. November 16.
  • Nature & Nurture - Family History for Adoptees by Janet Hovorka and Amy Slade. November 18.
  • Multi-Media Story Telling by Devin Ashby. November 30.
  • Becoming a Genealogy Detective by Sharon Atkins. December 7.
  • From the Heartland - Utilizing Online Resources in Midwest Research by Luana Darby. December 14.
  • Tracing Your European Ancestors by Julie Goucher. December 16.
  • An Introduction to BillionGraves by Garth Fitzner. December 21.

Click here to register.

Print the 2016 webinar brochure here.

See you online!

Looking After the Poor: Finding Your Ancestors in New England Poverty Records - new BONUS webinar by Marian Pierre-Louis now available


Discover how your not-so-wealthy New England ancestors may have left behind a wealth of information found in town poverty records. Come find out about “strangers taken in” records, “warning out” records and settlement law. Discover who cared for the town poor before state or national welfare benefits. You will be surprised at the level of detail you can find about your ancestors. Marian Pierre-Louis will take you into the depths of New England town records to reveal the hard to find information about your elusive ancestors.

We're working hard to give our webinar subscribers the educational classes they need to maximize their genealogical research! This new class is a bonus webinar in the webinar library. The webinar previews are always free. 



Not a member yet?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Megan Smolenyak, Tom Jones, and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:

  • All 355 classes in the library (510 hours of quality genealogy education)
  • 1,525 pages of instructors' handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars

It's just $49.95/year or $9.95/month.


Look at our lineup of speakers for 2016! All live webinars are free to watch.


Print the 2016 webinar brochure here.

The Top 10 Genealogy Classes of May 2016

We've tallied the numbers and made a list of the Top 10 classes for May 2016! Are your favorite topics or instructors among the list? Need something new to learn? Use the list to get inspired!


Each month thousands of Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers head for the library to learn new skills and techniques to help improve their genealogy research. Among the now-354 genealogy classes in the members-only library, these were the most frequently played during the month of May 2016.  They aren't necessarily the newest classes but rather the topics that were sought out by our members.

Have you seen any of these classes? Are these among your favorites too? Some of these classes (and topics) might be new to you! Get inspired to learn more and make your genealogy journey more fun!

The Top 10 for May 2016

1. Google Drive for Genealogists by Thomas MacEntee

2. Mining the Über-sites for German Ancestors by James M. Beidler

3. Dirty Pictures: Save Your Family Photos from Ruin by Denise May Levenick

4. Messages from the Grave: Listening to Your Ancestor's Tombstone by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

5. Brand New Book Matching Technology at MyHeritage by Mike Mansfield

6. England and Wales: Rummaging in the Parish Chests by Kirsty Gray

7. Watch Geoff Live: DNA by Geoff Rasmussen and Diahan Southard

8. The Genetic Ancestry of Native Americans by Ugo Perego

9. NEHGS: Who We Are, What We Do, and How We Can Help by Lindsay Fulton

10. FamilySearch Pilot Tool by Panel

The Runner-Ups

11. Ephemera: Genealogy Gold by Sharon S. Atkins

12. History Lives at JSTOR by Sarah Kim

13. Citizen Archivist Opportunities at the National Archives by Dina Herbert

14. Squatters, Pre-emptioners and Thieves: Early Land Records by Ruby Coleman

15. Improving Your Use of New FamilySearch: Data Cleanup Strategies by Geoff Rasmussen

16. Getting to Know Findmypast: Your Source for British and Irish Genealogy by Jen Baldwin

17. Sources and Citations Made Simple, Standard, and Powerful by Geoff Rasmussen

18. Researching in California: Libraries, Archives and Online by Gena Philibert-Ortega

19. To Live and Die in California: Researching Vital Records by Gena Philibert-Ortega

20. Legacy Family Tree and FamilySearch Family Tree by Geoff Rasmussen

Access to classes in the Legacy Family Tree Webinar library are available with an annual or monthly membership. Not a member? Become one! Or watch one of our free classes here.