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Someone asked me, what is considered to be crediting a source on the internet such as in forums, message boards, groups, facebook, twitter, etc.

I’m likely -almost certainly- guilty of not properly citing sources when I first began certain aspects of research, such as using ancestry .com for example. I’ve learned better. I still make mistakes.  There are many instances I could not possibly cover. There are other excellent articles and blogs that can give far more detailed information regarding thorough examples of properly quoting sources.
I’m going to answer that question with my idea of what is NOT citing a source.

Example: posting  a photo with “source, ancestry”
More accurate: photo used with/by permission of John Q Public, as found/shared/seen on ancestry. com. Shown in photo , Jane Doe, John Doe, little girl Doe and baby doe.
Same goes for articles, documents etc.

Ancestry. com is not a source. It is a repository for sources such as the 1820 Federal Census of Jefferson County GA.

Example: J.D. Smith was the father of D.J. Smith, who was born in 1830. He married Jane Jones in 1854 they had 10 children, etc etc etc. source: rootsweb.

Rootsweb is an internet message board,  the source is the person who posted that information there.

Example: (fill in the blanks with some quote about somebody that did something in 1829) source: google.
The publication that google shared with the public, is the source. Not google.

Speaking of google, just because something shows up in google images doesn’t necessarily mean the owner of the item/photo knows it’s there or wants it there,  or has given permission for it to be used. Google has bots that scour and scrub the internet for ‘hidden’ sources. Coming across something on the internet does not equal it being public domain for everyone’s use.

Family search.org lists a citation you may use at the bottom of the document or info that you are reviewing. Repositories such as state archives, national archives and the library of congress  also list citations at the bottom of the document-or somewhere on the page easily noticed. (There will also be notice on the page if you cannot use an item without permission).

If  a person is computer and internet savvy enough to download a document or photo and then upload it to another website, then one is certainly computer and internet savvy enough to copy and paste a citation.

In the case of a citation not being available , then try posting a link to the item/page. Facebook as well as other websites, will automatically post a preview of the page you are linking to for the convenience of others.

It’s always best to cite your source, use a citation pre-written for your convenience or post a link to the source instead of adding some slapdash vague mention of  where you came across the item you’ve chosen to share.

Remember that someone who so willingly shares information has likely spent  countless hours working to find it. Treat them kindly, gently and with the same respect as if you were the person behind that source. Because one day, it might just BE you.

Quote unquote

 

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Aside

Tessie Lee Whitehead Stroud
May 17 1902– April 2 2002

Grandmas Guitar

My grandma Stroud loved music, guitar music especially. She could pick out some tunes and even taught me some chords and Wildwood Flower. Once during a visit, I laughed at someone on TV boisterously tapping their foot-or rather, their entire leg- in time to music. No outright mockery was intended on my part in my amusement, but it must not have seemed so to her. She gently reproached me by stating that ‘some people have music in them and they just can’t help moving’.

Some of her favorite artists were Merle Travis, Doc Watson, Chet Atkins and one she mentioned often- Elizabeth Cotten.  They were all talented musicians. Ms. Cotten’s  ability to play acoustic guitar left handed and upside down was a remarkable talent to add to her songwriting skills. It would be reasonably easy to figure out additional reasons why Ms. Cotten struck a chord (sorry, I had to) with Grandma and some of those would likely be right, or in the least, quite close to the mark. Grandma loved Ms. Cotten’s song Freight Train.
Read more about Elizabeth Cotten here:

Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten, Smithsonian Folkways 

Time goes on. Girl grew into teen and things caused less time to be spent at Grandma’s hearing her stories of ‘old times’ and music. Failed attempts to learn Freight Train and Wildwood Flower on the guitar became embarrassing, regardless of how good the teacher was.

The love of good acoustic music with good harmonies never faded.

The need came for Grandma to live in a nursing facility. She held up pretty good and needless to say enjoyed visits. She always seemed to have a joke or a good tease handy. Then time caught up with her and the body began to fail. Comments from her might be in the present or of something only she understood, from past days. Visits would end with her asking my Pa to play the train song. His piano repertoire didn’t include the train song.

Then, her medical condition worsened. Visits were more seldom than they should have been, and difficult not only for the visitor, but for her. She would look into her visitors face, who could see frustration and confusion in her eyes. It seemed as if she both recognized that she knew the familiarity of you, but didn’t know your name or exactly who you were. Her eyes would wander, or close in sleep, her mind wandering through the years of memories, or perhaps not wandering at all.

Coping with infirmities that come with the body’s aging, or sudden catastrophic illnesses are difficult for the person immediately affected and for those close to them. Who knows how the mind and senses work. How can we know for certain of what the ill and infirm are aware of, when others in the room think they are asleep or unaware of their surroundings?  Somewhere deep inside themselves, do they feel that their mind is perfectly fine and hampered by a failing? Do they truly understand us, or do we appear and sound distant and unfamiliar?  Do they dream of times that were good? We can only hope they do dream of pleasant things.

The last few times I saw Grandma, there were no gentle teases or jokes. She didn’t ask for the train song. I’m sorry she didn’t get to hear it one last time.

For those who suffer dementia, alzheimers, for the ill, for the infirm and for their caretakers, I dedicate this song. It’s not about illness, but some of the words can be viewed as  eerily metaphoric for those whose minds visit other things and other times.

For my Grandma, Tessie Lee Whitehead Stroud

The train song

 

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