Simple Citations for Genealogical Sources by Jeffry P. La Marca, Ph.D.: Book Review

Every so often, I come across a new-to-me book with a focus on crating genealogical source citations. Although this author and book is new to me, he’s also new to everyone else as this book was published on 1 January 2024.

Jeffry La Marca, the author, notes that this book is based on the citation model he first published on the website SimpleCitations twelve years ago in 2012.

There is an extensive Table of Contents:

This is a very detailed Table of Contents, which I decided to include in its entirety because it’s needed to provide an appropriate overview of all the topics and examples in this book.

I have to admit I was feeling somewhat “on the fence” about how to review this book.

Dr. La Marca mentions in Chapter 3 that others have developed genealogically based source citation systems and, of course, mentions Elizabeth Shown Mills, stating that Evidence Explained is complex and might well be difficult for some researchers to follow and implement.

I think that statement is what is guiding my review today.

I recently finished teaching a 4-class session for beginning genealogists plus I am leading a new genealogy SIG (Special Interest Group) in my local genealogy society. Both groups have a significant number of participants who don’t cite their sources in any way shape or form.

That is an issue which I’ve been addressing and is perhaps the lead-in to my positive recommendation of this book and the Simple Citations system.

Evidence Explained is the gold standard and the standard to which everyone should aspire. On the other hand, Dr. La Marca makes the same point that I’ve made with beginners – if EE is too overwhelming, just think back to those high school and college bibliographies that were required at the end of every research paper we turned in.

The point of providing citations is so the original person OR anybody else is able to locate the same source of information to determine its applicability to one’s own research.

While Evidence Explained is the gold standard, not every details in every citation is necessary to find the same source if and when needed.

Another point that isn’t evident from the title is that Dr. La Marca’s citation templates ARE ALREADY embedded in Roots Magic 9 and Family Historian 7.

Plus, the templates can be tweaked to bring them to Evidence Explained standards or be used to create perfectly adequate citations that meet the standard of providing enough detail so that anyone can find the same source if necessary.

I have to recommend this book for two reasons. First, it gives the “okay” for less experienced researchers to cite their sources, either manually following the steps on paper or with simple templates. both methods work.

Second, because the templates are already part of two well known genealogy software programs, they can be slightly modified to meet EE standards.

I also like that this book offers a short users’ guide to work with these templates because I personally get very frustrated with the template directions in the software manuals.

Simple Citations for Genealogical Sources by Jeffry P. La Marca, Ph.D. and published on 1 January 2024 can be purchased online for $32.95 plus shipping. No Kindle version is available at this time.

5 thoughts on “Simple Citations for Genealogical Sources by Jeffry P. La Marca, Ph.D.: Book Review”

  1. Sounds like a practical and valuable book for any family historian! TY for the detailed review.

  2. Interesting that the author thinks the US Canada border is impenetrable. No sales in Canada.

    Why the heck not?

  3. Hi LInda, I was directed to this post through Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings blog. Could you expand on your statement “Dr. La Marca’s citation templates ARE ALREADY embedded in Roots Magic 9”? Nearly everything I see in RM9 is based on Mills’ Evidence Explained. I am always fiddling and tweaking with source templates and am interested in others’ approaches such as described in this book.

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