Saturday, May 16, 2015

Citation Saturday - Baby Mohamed

The blog ran an interesting piece last month about some bad indexing.  So, what, you ask, does that have to do with citations?  Because when we come across what appears to be some questionable information, the only way to double-check it is to go back to the original source.  By now you have probably figured out that this is a LOT easier if you have a citation.  So, here is the story about Baby Mohamed as told by's blogger and paraphrased by me.

A researcher was trying to find some information in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census for Thomas Clendennen.  The following turned up in the list of search results:

Wow!  Could the Clendennens really be that very rare, Muslim family that settled in the Bible Belt region of Texas in the early 1900s.  Hmmmm.   Doesn't sound right. The best way to check this search result is to go back to the original 1910 U.S. Federal Census and see what it says. Of course, you could wander around trying to find this exact Clendennen in the 1910 census, but if you had the actual cite, perhaps including the page of the census, how much easier could that be?  So you find the source.  What do you think it says?

Yep.  You're right.  It says "Baby not named".  One can see how someone might make the mistake. So, once again, I urge you to NEVER take what you see at face value.  Check the source!  Having accurate citations - your own or those supplied by other researchers - make it easier for you to double-check a source and make sure you are including the correct information in your own family tree.

-- Submitted by Denise Doyon

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