04 May 2013

Citing the Stone or the Site

I get a lot of use out of FindaGrave. But one needs to be careful how one cites information obtained from this source.

Do you clearly make a distinction of what was on the stone (your transcription) versus other biographical information provided on the site?

If you view the stone's picture on FindaGrave and transcribe that, then your citation should indicate that you saw the picture of the stone on FindaGrave. If you use additional information from the webpage--information that is not on the stone--then your should simply cite the site and not the stone. You do not want to indicate the stone provides information that it does not.

The FindaGrave page for one female ancestor lists her with her maiden name and her married name in the page title. The maiden name is not on her stone, which only contains her married name at death and her age. My transcription of the stone should indicate that I saw a photograph of her gravestone on FindaGrave, along with the name of the cemetery and the date. My transcription should use the name given for her on her stone, not the page title which includes the maiden name. This is because the maiden name is not on the stone.

If I want to use the FindaGrave page as a "source" for her maiden name (which I personally would not do), then I should cite the page at FindaGrave as that is where that information is located, not the stone.

And if you use the FindaGrave transcription instead of your own, you should cite the FindaGrave transcription, making it clear you did not read the stone yourself.

We will look at creating a set of example citations and posting them in a future blog post.

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