View Full Version : Citing personal knowledge

27 February 2007, 11:10 AM
In all the source/citation discussions in the forum, I wasn't able to find anything addressing how to cite personal knowledge or experience.

For example, a relative just passed and I went to the funeral. I put the information in Reunion but I don't know how to cite it. I just know the information because I was there.

Similarly, I know things like the languages my grandmother speaks from personal experience.

More confusing is knowledge I've heard over and over from many sources. Eg. Your aunt lived in Colorado for a few years when you were a kid.

I know I could go chase down some form of formal documentation for some of these things, but I don't feel that is necessary. I'd just like to cite them as something I experienced or know.

I'm just curious how others cite these things.


27 February 2007, 11:56 AM
Interviews are a legitimate source, and if I use personal knowledge and don't have another source, I tag it as an interview with Tim Lundin. In the citation I can also include what I think the reliability of the information is. Keep in mind that if you know something because of what someone else told you, that other person is really the source.

David Moody
27 February 2007, 09:11 PM
This is what I do, and I must say it is not original thinking on my part but a suggestion of another Reunion user on this forum.

Source 334. Direct Information - data supplied by me
Source 335. Derived information - data extrapolated from other sources
Source 336. Suspect information - This information comes from questionable sources and should be treated as possibly erroneous.

Then on the Edit Person page, after you add the Source Citation, you can enter information specific to that citation under Details.

28 March 2007, 12:22 AM
I use a free-form source that reads: "42. Steven Byars. Personal knowledge."

I use this for things that I have experienced, seen, heard, tasted, felt or smelt myself. Also included are things I know (my brothers names, my uncles attitude) just because I know them and have no specific source in mind.

I like David's idea of specific sources for esoteric data. I handle that differently right now, but may well adopt David's method---though his source 224 will likely remain my source 42.

One thing missing from Reunion that I hear other programs have is "figures of merit". Each datum can have a source attached as well as a figure of merit. A scheme I have come up with would be:

28 March 2007, 12:40 AM
The GEDCOM Spec covers this within the Source specifications, albeit with significantly less graduations...

[ 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 ]
The QUAY tag's value conveys the submitter's quantitative evaluation of the credibility of a piece of
information, based upon its supporting evidence. Some systems use this feature to rank multiple
conflicting opinions for display of most likely information first. It is not intended to eliminate the
receiver's need to evaluate the evidence for themselves.
0 = Unreliable evidence or estimated data
1 = Questionable reliability of evidence (interviews, census, oral genealogies, or potential for bias
for example, an autobiography)
2 = Secondary evidence, data officially recorded sometime after event
3 = Direct and primary evidence used, or by dominance of the evidence