I’d like to introduce…

Edward George "Ted" Turner

Edward George Turner, known affectionately to his family and friends as Ted, was a kind hearted, gregarious, right jolly English gent, loved by all who knew him. He was born on the 27th of June 1911 at Blake Cottage, Horn Street in Winslow, Buckinghamshire, where his father was employed as head groom to Mr Gosling of Blake House.

And His Lovely Wife…


Miss Phyllis Mary Collins, daughter of William Collins, publican of the George Inn in Winslow, which is where Ted met her one fateful day in the 1930s

Evidence Explained

Back in the beginning of my journey into the past, practically before the earth’s crust had cooled, I did what I think a lot of newbie genealogists are guilty of: I didn’t keep track of my sources. My first pedigree chart, drawn so carefully with pencil and ruler, was based on facts gleaned from conversations with my grandparents and family remembrance.

To my credit, on family trips to England during my teen years, when I was able to coerce my grandfather to take me to the local records repository, or to traipse through an ancient cemetery in search of headstones, I did take notes, recording the place we’d visited and what discoveries I’d made there. But the idea of a bibliography was alien to me. Because I love old letters and aging paper, I did at least save the replies from vicars and distant family, sent in answer to my queries for information.

When the Internet exploded with online records and searchable databases, so did my family tree. I subscribed to Ancestry.com and for a while I was like a kid in a candy store, grabbing facts as fast as I could. When the amount of data got overwhelming, I transitioned my tree to Rootsmagic and began entering sources, but it was almost impossible to retrace my steps and find every source I’d used. The Rootsmagic source templates seemed complicated and confusing, so I used the free form option and recorded what I thought was important, although none of it adhered to accepted standards.

As I started studying more experienced genealogists’ online genealogies, I realized the importance of good citation, and muddled my way through the Rootsmagic templates and began transitioning my free formed entries to the software’s suggested formats. It wasn’t until I joined the National Genealogical Society and embarked on their home study course that I felt pressured to perfect my citations and discovered Elizabeth Shown Mills and the wonderful Evidence Explained. Mills has an example of virtually every form of source available to the modern, Internet savvy researcher, and provides sound reasoning for and examples of each form’s use.

Uploading my family tree to this blog, exposing it to the scrutiny of the World Wide Web, has forced me to begin the long, slow process of converting all of my citations to Mills’ standard of excellence. It’s going to take a while, but it is necessary and worth the time and effort.

In the meantime, I was thrilled to learn that Evidence Explained is one of the texts used in the Boston University program, so instead of just using it as a reference, I’m now reading it, chapter by chapter. Evidence Explained is going to increase the quality of my work ten-fold, and I think it should be on every genealogist’s bookshelf.

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3 comments to Evidence Explained

  • Hi Claire! Things in common just keep surfacing… I read your “Evidence Explained” last night, a book that I had asked for and received for my birthday a couple of weeks ago and very necessary to me for the exact same reasons that you’ve outlined in your blog.

    Just now I read your tweet about digi scrapbooking; I had the very same idea a few weeks ago and have been saving templates and making some of my own since. It’s just so funny and such a coincidence!

    Wishing you the very best of luck with your BU course!

  • Claire

    Thanks Mardi,

    I think Evidence Explained is wonderful, but now I feel the need to rewrite all my old citations to meet Mills’ standard. Yikes!!! Going to take a while, but I think it adds an element of respectability to one’s research when it’s cited correctly.

    I’ll look forward to seeing some of your scrapbooking :-)

  • It will definitely take quite a while for me too, months at the least. But as long as it doesn’t take as long to rewrite citations as it did to gather all of the information in the first place, I’ll be content. Months rather than decades is a good thing! :D

    Good luck to you with your citation revamp!

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