Creating Consistent Citations Can Be Painful and Why Are They So Important!

Citations provide verification of facts about the person(s) you are researching. A properly documented citation should provide enough information for another researcher to easily find the document. In addition, they provide a starting point for further research – why start from scratch if research has already been performed (remember to always give the previous researcher credit for the work he/she completed).

Writing citations can be frustrating and even painful at first, but once you learn how to cite sources, it will become easier. Your go-to source for citations is Elizabeth Shown Mill’s Evidence Explained.

Here are some tips to make your research reports easier:

  • Cite as you go along (it may feel like it slows you down, but it is much better than waiting until the end and having to locate those citations again)
  • Have a document ready with sample citations to keep your formatting consistent
    • Here are a few sample citations to help you get started

Online Database

Find A Grave, Find A Grave, database with images ( : accessed 8 February 2017), memorial #141793231, William Davenport (1796-1877), New Hope United Methodist Church Cemetery, Palmetto, Fulton County, Georgia.

Census Report (note: the format of census reports will vary by date – refer to Evidence Explained)

1860 U.S. census, Coryell County, Texas, population schedule, Station Creek Beat, p. 29 (penned), dwelling 208, family 208, Overton F. Davenport; NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 1292.

Death Certificate

Commonwealth of Virginia, certificate of death, no. 81-001780, Henry Grady Davenport (1981); Falls Church, Virginia.

Marriage License

Eastland County, Texas, Marriage License, No. 6375, H.G. Davenport and Jennie Hortense Ross, 1929, recorded license, Eastland Clerk County Court, book 13, page 167.


Albert, Henry E. Log Cabin Heritage: a Historical And Genealogical Insight Into the Middle

New River Settlement Period. Dayton, Ohio: Albert, 1976; FHL microfilm 1036374, item 5.


Edwin G. Sayers. The Erdle Story 1870-1995. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 95-83456, 1995.

Newspaper Article

“Plains Resident Taken By Death,” Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, the Evening News (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania), 8 May 1940, page 29, column 4.


Connie Lichtenheld, Prairie du Sac [(e-address for private use),] to Johanna Lichtenheld, e-mail, 7 Feb 2017 “genealogy,” Pross Lichtenheld Research File, privately held by Terry Kelly, [(e-address) and street address for private use,] Bowie, Maryland.


It will get easier as you do more and more citations. And, it feels great when you have completed your report and your citations are done at the same time!!