One of the most exciting things I experienced when I first started digging around in my family history was the day I was searching in the Ellis Island Website for information on my German grandparents. I knew they had come to America after their marriage in 1923 and I wanted to see if I could find a record of their arrival. I was excited to find my grandfather's name in my very first search, and when I clicked on the "see passenger manifest image" I got to see the actual entry of his arrival. Another click and I got an image of the ship he arrived on. It was exhilarating! It was the moment I got hooked.
Any of us who have mined various databases for these records have experienced that thrill. I made screenshots of the manifest and ship images and filed them somewhere on my computer hard-drive. Of course, I made no citation, because back then, I was too inexperienced to know that I had to. And I had no real organizational system for keeping track of stuff back then either. Not good genealogical practices. But I digress.
I had to eventually go back and research the information again so that I could cite it all properly. I used Ancestry.com and was able to reconstruct all but one of the records through their database.
Passenger List - Data Base Entry
Since you have all already gotten to know my maternal grandparents on past Citation Saturdays, I will use my Opa's arrival information for our examples. When I went back to Ancestry.com to reconstruct my search, this is the record I got:
Notice that this is not an image of the actual manifest, but a summary of that information that Ancestry.com compiles.
Again, using Thomas MacEntee's format (which I will use for all the citations mentioned in this blogpost), the citation would look like this:
"Passenger Record," database Ancestry.com New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957 (http://www.ancestry.com); accessed 27 March 2015, entry for Johannes Voigt, age 30, arrived 9 Dec 1923 on the Derfflinger.
The citation gives you everything you need to know to go back to Ancestry.com and find this again.
Although it is too small to read, this is the image from my Opa's arrival on Ellis Island on 9 December 1923. I found this on Ancestry.com and the citation for this image is:
Manifest, Derfflinger, 9 December 1923, List No 2, Page 46, Line No. 2, for Johannes Voigt, age 30, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com): accessed 27 March 2015. [Roll: T1715, 1897-1957, 3001-4000, Roll 3426]
You would have to blow up the image in order to read the list, page and line numbers, but they are there. The bracketed [ ] information I added at the end is not really necessary, but since Ancestry.com gave me that information when I brought up the image, I decided to add it because I wanted to.
This is a photo of the Derfflinger which I got from the Ellis Island website. Here is the citation for the image:
Photo of Derfflinger, (Built by Schichau Shipyard, Danzig, Germany, 1907), EllisIsland.org, (www.libertyellisisland.org): accessed 27 March 2015, retrievable by choosing "Ship" link attached to the "Passenger Record" database search results for Johannes Voigt, age 30, arrived 9 December 1923.
Not all that difficult. Remember, the citation has to give you everything you need to know to go back and find the resource again. It doesn't have to include any more than that - but if you want to add something that you feel might be useful (like the instruction above for retrieving the record) there are no "citation police" that are going to write you a citation (couldn't resist that ,,,, sorry) for getting creative.
I hope you are finding that this is not as difficult as you thought it was going to be! Citing your sources is a great habit, and one I hope you will acquire moving forward.
Enjoy the weekend!
-- submitted by Denise Doyon