Genealogy purists say that family history without documentation is fairy tale. I don’t subscribe to that attitude, but I do put great stock in making source notations when entering data. You just won’t have documentation for everything, but it’s great to be able to give an answer when someone says, “where did you get that information?”
The paid Legacy software program includes a wonderful feature called Source Writer that helps you write proper source notes for any bit of information you add to the database. The free version of Legacy has a rudimentary means of recording sources, which may be satisfactory for many. However, the Source Writer makes it so easy to generate excellent source notations, so I’d definitely cough up the cash for the paid version of Legacy. It’s a one-time purchase price, not a subscription fee.
There are all types of sources. Letters, books, newspapers, land records, wills, photographs, ship manifests, and so on. The list is long. The deluxe Legacy program with Source Writer even helps you document a source as “Personal Knowledge of John Doe,” where you insert your name or that of your verbal source. It asks questions and offers fields into which you input data. Like magic, you end up with a properly written source notation. Easy as pie.
And it’s so very important! Without it, when someone asks where you found the info, all you can say is “I saw it somewhere…” And believe me. They WILL ask!
There are two things I wish I knew when I first started family history research: Make source notations, and always enter women’s last names with their name at birth, not their married name.