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Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian [Hardcover]

Elizabeth S. Mills
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good start but falls short on examples April 16 2001
While this work addresses many facets of citing, the examples for actual citations fell quite short of the mark in my opinion. If your research includes extensive sources from the Family History Library, you may be dissapointed. While in theory the book addresses how to create a citation for a source in almost any circumstance, the practicality of constructing that source on your own requires prior knowledge of source styling. This work is wonderful if your sources are all American based, but I found it lacking where I needed it most, citing sources from other countries, especially when citing from filmed records.
It is a very good starting point, and will answer many questions for most researchers, but it will NOT solve all your citing problems, and if your research includes many foreign sources you may find yourself still in the dark.
I would like to see a revised edition, with many more examples and more attention paid to FHL sources, which are vast and varied.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must have Dec 26 2003
By A Customer
If you're a family historian/genealogist, this is a MUST HAVE book. As all serious genealogist know, citing your sources is one the most important aspects of giving your research the validity it deserves! This book makes it easy by giving clear and precise examples of citing sources from books, other family histories, information found on CD's, birth/death/marriage and other court records as well as citing internet sources.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely essential for any genealogist July 22 2002
Every serious family researcher should be not only aware of, but thoroughly familiar with, the late Richard Lackey's _Cite Your Sources,_ which, on its publication in 1981, quickly became the Bible of genealogical source citation. Many, however, are not aware that Lackey was inspired by an article published more than two decades ago by Elizabeth Mills -- another name that all genealogists should be familiar with. Ms. Mills, one of our field's most popular and influential conference speakers, and for the past fourteen years the very capable editor of the _National Genealogical Society Quarterly,_ has steadily promoted the cause not only of improved genealogical writing but of the rigorous and systematic analysis of material that must precede good writing. This relatively brief and very accessible volume distills and codifies her advice in three main areas: the principles behind source citation, the formats in which citation should be cast, and the fundamentals of evidentiary analysis itself. "Effective citation is an art," she says, but it's an art that anyone may learn who makes the effort to understand the motivation for careful citation and the factors underlying the carefully thought-out formats she recommends. And whatever the source of information -- courthouse land records, family Bibles, cemetery markers, microfilmed census registers, unpublished manuscripts, electronic e-mail, or a videotaped family reunion -- you will find multiple examples of each in this book. Even more important, to my mind, are her thirteen concisely explained points of genealogical analysis, from the distinction between direct and indirect evidence and between quality and quantity, to the importance of custodial history and her reminder that "the case is never closed on a genealogical conclusion." For all these reasons, this book is a must-have for every genealogist (and historian, librarian, and archivist).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Proof! We need Proof! May 21 2002
With the Internet, it seems so easy to just get on the Web, push a few buttons, and presto you have a fantastic genealogy linked to every famous person in the world. People! This is not so! Just because it is on a genealogy site on the internet does not prove it certain that you are related to that particular person. Proof! You need proof, the more the better. Primary evidence is much more important than your secondary evidence.
This book is an excellent source and guidebook to help you do just that.
You should and must document your sources in your family tree. Too many people are just uploading their family tree willy nilly to net and everybody just takes it for granted that it is correct. A good genealogist will at all times documents her or her sources for every (and I say every) bit information that is included in the family tree.
Primary evidence is the best source: birth certificates, social security forms, etc. Secondary evidence is good if it is backed up with other forms of proof.
This book will help you find the best source and test that source against the information that you have. Then it will show you how to include that information style in your family tree.
Please cite your sources in your genealogy and family trees! For the present and the future!
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By A Customer
In this book, one of America's foremost genealogical scholars has taken on a Herculean task and accomplished it superbly. Every scholarly discipline has its own basic standards for the nitty-gritty of citational form--the sort of thing that we all hoped we had escaped after our term-paper days were over. In 1980, before genealogy was faced with the computer revolution, the late Richard S. Lackey, FASG, published Cite Your Sources, the first comprehensive guide to "Documenting Family Histories and Genealogical Records." Since Lackey's untimely death in 1983, the few attempts to update his recommendations have been Quixotic and (fortunately) unsuccessful, until the current work by Elizabeth Shown Mills, the editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Elizabeth Mills takes on more than citations. She recognizes that citations and critical analysis are closely related. We have all seen genealogies that are promoted as thoroughly documented, but when we investigate the sources cited, we find that the author was unable to evaluate them or to draw sound conclusions from them. Citations by themselves do not guarantee the quality of a published work, but they are essential so that the evidence can be judged and, if necessary, the research can be repeated. The discussion of genealogical analysis in this work is among the finest we have seen; studying it carefully will not only reward genealogists but also scholars in related fields. Evidence! provides careful and copious examples of each type of citation that the careful genealogist is likely to encounter, with charts indicating the first citation to the work, document (etc.), subsequent citations to it, and its entry in a separate bibliography. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Falls short of expectations
This book is one of the better genealogy citation books on the market. I bought the book merely for examples, especially for help with new databases online. The examples that Ms. Read more
Published on April 17 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource
I have carried this book with me everywhere I've gone to do genealogical research. Taking the time to properly cite my sources as I gather them has saved me tons of time when... Read more
Published on March 16 2003 by Allison Tanaka
5.0 out of 5 stars Specifically written for family history researchers
Evidence! Citation & Analysis For The Family Historian by experienced genealogist Elizabeth Shown Mills is a very useful and "user friendly" guide specifically... Read more
Published on Aug. 10 2002 by Midwest Book Review
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy reference for proper citations
This is the premier book for easily finding the proper format for citing source documents. This is THE book to show you how to write your references for microfilm, online web... Read more
Published on July 16 2002 by Fred
5.0 out of 5 stars Every family historian should own this one!
Elizabeth Mills's Evidence! is the best single source for genealogical documentation. Every genealogist should be required to own it. Read more
Published on May 25 2001 by Lotus Cirilo
4.0 out of 5 stars Comment on Evidence! by Elizabeth Shown Mills
I keep Ms. Mills's book next to me when documenting family history. As a person who has not done formal research, I did find some of the examples confusing, although there was a... Read more
Published on July 15 2000 by "wordsmith@grrtech.com"
4.0 out of 5 stars Great examples for common citations
This book gave me the help I needed by showing me how to cite my source
Published on Sept. 17 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars Good advice on documentation methodology; lacking in egs.
Mills deserves the admiration and respect she has earned from her years of dedication to the field of genealogy. Her contributions are invaluable. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 1999
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