When is a source a real source or just a possible source? - its just too saucy!
So go back to October the 5th's blog - and just have a quick read again about primary and secondary sources.
Now, just because something is a secondary source, does not mean you discard the information. You just record it differently.
I use the legacy program to do my research, and it makes it really easy to site sources. When you are adding ANY information, you just click on the small icon that looks like a book - this is for adding sources or editing source citations. Once you have put a source into the master list, you can easily just site it again. with a click of the mouse. This is very handy, as an entry in a census record could cover several people, and you don't want to have to re input the same information each time.
When you click on this icon you can site a source you have already recorded, or click on 'new source'. Then there is a step by step series of fields with help, that walk you through recording the source. Easy As. Just be careful when you are choosing the first 'type' of source. Look through the list if what you start typing does not come up, as it may be there, just worded differently. For instance, you might put in 'family member', but that does not come up, what is listed though is 'personal information'. But once you have that right its a cinch.
The feature I really like, is at the end of the citation, and every time you use it, there is an option to mark the surety level of the citation. This ranges from 'convincing evidence' to 'have not decided yet' If you choose a level that means you are convinced of the evidence then the colour of that piece of information turns red on the screen. This makes it easy to determine what you know, and what you think is correct!
If you are sharing information with others you find online, it also makes it easier for them to determine if your information is correct. I'll explain, I found a 2nd cousin in America (very exciting for me) and her research has no citations, that means I treat it with some scepticism. Just as well, as it turned out she had two people of the same name mixed up, and he had not married 3 times! So being able to know what information meets the genealogical standards and what does not is very helpful.
If you would like to read up an easy to understand guide, just go to rootsweb guides. The guides here are easy, fun and interesting, as well as packed with information. Its a good beginners place to start. The full list of Standards is on the N.G.S site, and worth going through when you have a bit of time.
I know citing sources is time consuming, and in a way the least fun in family research, But take my word for it, when you have a conflicting information, or just forget who told you something, it will be gold!
So, for EVERY piece of information, site a SOURCE.