If I could have only one book on my genealogy shelf, it would be Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. You can tell by the picture attached to this post that I use it frequently and that all my favourite sections are marked with sticky notes. And I’m not alone. Since the first edition was published in 2007, Evidence Explained has become the essential reference book for genealogists and family historians alike.
A key resource guide for scholars and serious researchers who must rely upon and understand historical evidence. Highly recommended. —Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
Historians will welcome the publication of this detailed guide to citations. Even avid users of the Chicago Manual of Style regularly encounter sources for which that handbook gives no guidance. Now we can turn to Elizabeth Shown Mills’s comprehensive work. —Journal of Southern History
An essential reference work, highly recommended.
The first two chapters of Evidence Explained are “Fundamentals of Evidence Analysis” and “Fundamentals of Citation”. I re-read these chapters often because there is so much good information in them. The rest of the book covers the appropriate format for every type of source citation that you could imagine from Archives & Artifacts to Publications, Periodicals, Broadcasts & Web Miscellanea. Further details can be found on EvidenceExplained.com along with some very helpful QuickLessons.
Besides the obvious use as an excellent source citation reference, I’ve also used Evidence Explained to help me break through brick walls. When I’m sure that I’ve look everywhere there is to look for my ancestor, and just can’t think of any stone left un-turned, I often start at the beginning of the index of Evidence Explained and begin reading through all the entries. And more than once, I’ve been inspired by an index listing of one more record that I could look for that I hadn’t thought of.
Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Revised edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009.