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There are many different ways to present your record of reference, or citation material within your work. Footnotes are just one example.

Some general ways to include this information:

  • In-text citation

  • In-text explanation - narrative

  • End notes (by section or full title)

  • Bibliography

  • Record of Reference

  • Sources Section

  • References Section

  • Acknowledgement Section

  • Statement(s) of Ownership

  • Cross-referenced with alternate edition or media

To footnote, (use a direct quotation, exact copy, summarize in your own words, etc.) the writer must place a number either in parenthesis or slightly raised (superscript) from the line of type following the reference. The same number will appear at the bottom of that specific page and be followed by the reference or source. Such as:

Henry was born September 22, 1795 and in 1818 married Mary Highland (who was born in 1804) in Pickaway County, Ohio.

1. The Downings of Europe and America, 1273-1973, Gregath, pp. 33.

Wish to use something like footnotes, but don’t like the “look” of the traditional format? An option would be to place citations in a different way on the page – modifying the bottom of the page format. Suggestions include an inside or outside “column” on all pages that can include citation (and other) information or box (set apart) citation information and place it anywhere on the page. Be careful if modifying accepted structures. When an author establishes a new standard, they must take great care to clearly define and mark that structure for the reader and stick stringently to it.

Computer programs may have a footnoting option, with features and requirements that vary greatly. If not using footnoting features, use or modify the instructions that follow.

Type the main text of a page, allowing enough blank space at the bottom to fit the citation information in. A line is then drawn or typed across the page, type in the footnote information.

If the manuscript is prepared page by page, and not as a single “document”, it is easier for the writer to list the references he will be using before he begins a specific section of the manuscript. In other words, he studies his research data for a section and prepares the references he will be using, in advance. By this method, he will know exactly how many lines to leave at the bottom of each page to accommodate recording the references for that particular page. This method will cut down on line space changing (“widows and orphans”, etc.) as you proceed from rough draft to final manuscript and ease in manual adjustment of the data/footnote ratio per page.

For instance, you are preparing to write a history of a particular family and you are using a Family Record Sheet on which recorded references are: Family Bible, 1790 Pennsylvania Census, Bounty Land Warrant, and NSDAR Application for Membership the page’s footnote may look something like this:

1. Family Bible in the possession of Ann Gregath, Cullman, Alabama, 1978.
2. Heads of Families, First Census of the United States Taken in 1790, Pennsylvania, pp. 73.
3. National Archives, Washington, D. C., Bounty Land Warrant S7346.
4. National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Application for Membership of Anna May Cochrane Gregath. (could include date of application and/or national number)

If chapters or specific sections are to be used, number the footnotes in continuing sequence through the chapter or section and start with figure one (again) for the next chapter or section. A line should be drawn or typed across the page to separate the footnotes from the written words.

The correct use(s) of footnotes is highly technical. If footnotes are to be used, consult one of several manuals which give explicit rules. One of the more comprehensive books that are focused on this type of footnotes are:

Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, Elizabeth Shown Mills, 2007, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland.

Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian, 1997, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland.

For more suggestions on this subject and more, order our book:
wholesale price eligible G550-$20.00 WRITING Family History Or Genealogy For Pleasure and Profit Complete Edition, by Gregath Company, Inc., *updated* 2015. ISBN: 978-0-944619-00-1, 8½x11", softbound book, 132 pages, suggestions & examples of all facets of your project for the typist and/or computer user. Note: All G prefix books 100 pages or more, this one included, that are SB can be special ordered in hard cover edition - contact for details. Also available on disk. | Click here for more information.

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