The 3rd edition of Evidence Explained has made it to my desk. At 892 pages, it is quite a tome and may appear to include a sample citation for every possible source under the genealogical sun. It doesn’t–but there are certainly enough examples for the user to find something close enough from which a citation can be structured.
Evidence Explained doesn’t even claim to include citations for everything. And that’s not even the point.
Mills begins her chapter on the “Fundamentals of Citation” by making the following statement on page 41:
“Citation is an art, not a science.”
And it most certainly is. Like most arts, one learns the general rules and the general structure and then one uses that knowledge of the structure to craft citations when there is no specific rule for the specific item in question. Evidence Explained is liberally filled with examples of citations from a variety of original records (and family ephemera) in a variety of formats (original, microfilm, digital, personal research photocopies, etc.). But still there are times when one encounters items for which there is no exact guide in Evidence Explained to follow.
Such is the case with the tag Riley is wearing in the picture. Some may laugh at creating a citation for a dog tag, but such an item may easily be the only source for a residence or an address. And it’s very possible that a researcher may encounter other such items in their research. And….just thinking about how to create such a citation can get one to thinking about citations in general which is never a bad thing.
Riley wasn’t much help in creating the citation for his dog tag, but here’s my first go at it:
Riley dog tag, currently worn by Neill family dog Riley; privately held by Michael Neill, [address for private use], Rio, Illinois, 2015. Engraved with the name “Riley” and phone number [private use only], the green tag is roughly shaped like a dog bone.
and is currently worn by the Neill family pet Riley.
We don’t have a canine family tree for Riley. He was adopted from the animal shelter <grin>.
Note: After contemplation–and comments by a reader–we’ve decided to strike the second reference to the fact that the tag is still worn by the dog.