This appendix to the History Department's guide to Chicago
Manual Footnotes provides further examples for citing sources
For more on what footnotes are and how they work, see below.
1. 1880 United States Census, Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana, digital image s.v. "Callie J. Harrison," Ancestry.com.
Note that this model assumes that you found the census page through a commercial site like Ancestry.com. The citation begins with the census year and provides the geographic location where the person was counted (the town or township, the county, and the state). Be sure to note if a digital image is provided. (Otherwise, your readers will assume that the site provides only transcriptions, without reproducing the enumerator's notebook.) Provide the person's name as the commercial site indexed it. (The "s.v." stands for the Latin sub verbo, or "under the word." Even if the enumerator or the commercial site had the person's name wrong, your readers will need to search for the name as the commercial site has it.) Finally, provide the name of the commercial site you used.
Indexes and databases within a commercial site
2. "Social Security Death Index," s.v. "Richard W. Nixon" (1920-1991), Ancestry.com.
3. "Wisconsin, Birth Index, 1820-1907," s.v. "David Roth" (born 25 Oct. 1873), Ancestry.com.
4. "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925," digital image s.v. "David Roth" (born 25 Oct. 1873), Ancestry.com.
5. "U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital image s.v. "Samuel Beverly McNair," Ancestry.com.
Commercial sites like Ancestry.com may contain within them separate indexes or databases. Cite information from them by providing the title of the index/database, as given by the commercial site. Be sure to note if a digital image is provided. (Otherwise, your readers will assume that the index or database provides only transcriptions, without reproducing the original source.) Provide the person's name as the commercial site indexed it. (The "s.v." stands for the Latin sub verbo, or "under the word." Even if the commercial site has the person's name wrong, your readers need to search for the name as the commercial site has it.) You may also need to supply birth and/or death dates to distinguish among people with the same name. Finally, provide the name of the commercial site you used.
6. Abby Labille, "News from Home," email to author, 24 Oct. 2007.
7. Thomas Anderson, conversation with author, 24 Oct. 2007.
Use these models for information people have communicated to you directly, but supply your whole name where it says "author" above. The "Thomas Anderson" model is appropriate for informal oral history interviews.
8. Author, personal knowledge.
Use this model for information that you know from first-hand experience, like your mother's birthday. Supply your whole name where it says "author" above.
9. James Thomas Harrison, grave marker, Fairmount Cemetery, Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana, digital image s.v. "James Thomas Harrison," FindaGrave.com.
Begin the citation with the name as it appears on the grave marker; also give the name and location of the cemetery. If you found the grave marker through a commercial site, provide the person's name as the commercial site indexed it. (The "s.v." stands for the Latin sub verbo, or "under the word." Even if the commercial site has the person's name wrong, your readers need to search for the name as the commercial site has it.).
10. Eliza Calhun, death certificate, 4 Aug. 1930, file no. 40076, Texas State Department of Health, copy in possession of author.
11. "Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982," digital image s.v. "Gertrude Butler" (1900-1937), Ancestry.com.
12. Gertrude Butler, death certificate, 11 Oct. 1937, file no. 50740, available in "Texas Death Certificates," s.v. "Gertrude Butler" (1900-1937), Vitals.com.
Vital records are government records of life events (such as birth and death certificates). Use the "Eliza Calhun" model if you (or someone else) has a print copy of a government-issued vital record. Include as much information as a reader would need to request a print copy for him/herself (the date of the event being recorded, the file number, and the name of the agency issuing the document, etc.); replace "author" with the name of the person who has the document.
Use the "Gertrude Butler" models if you are
citing vital records found within a commercial site. The first is
sufficient, but providing the additional information a reader would need
to request the document from the issuing agency (as in the second example)
is helpful; readers will be especially grateful if the commercial site is
one they may not have access to or if it does not provide digital images.
More on what footnotes are and how they work.
Footnotes are a conventional way to tell your readers where you got the information and quotes that appear in your paper. Your goal is to make it easy for your readers to see what sources you used -- and easy to find any that they might want to study further. To do that, you need to provide complete citations in a consistent citation style. Leading publishers of historical scholarship (such as the American Historical Review and the Journal of American History) require Chicago Manual style footnotes. Below you will find model footnotes that cite various types of sources. (Using the search function of your browser is an easy way to find the type of source you need.) The models illustrate the format for the first reference to a particular item. A second reference to the same item can be shortened -- as in model footnote 2 below.If you are reading this page from the Hanover College campus, you can click here to see an example of a published article using Chicago Manual style footnotes. (If this link does not work for you, contact your library to see if your institution provides access to scholarly journals through some other means.)
Suppose the second paragraph of your paper mentions Horatio Nelson Taft visiting the White House, and suppose one of your readers is curious about where she could read more about Taft. She will look for the next superscript number after your mention of Taft. (For most papers, there is a footnote at the end of each paragraph of text in the body of the paper, so she'll look first at the end of the paragraph.) The superscript number she finds in the text directs her to the appropriate spot on the numbered list that runs along the bottom of all your pages. There, your citation tells her that you learned about Taft's visit by reading his diary, and you give her all the information she needs to find a copy of the diary to read herself. (Standard citation styles give her enough information to find it online or to order it through interlibrary loan, for instance). If you quote Taft again later in your paper, she'll want to know more about that information too, and so she'll again look to the end of the paragraph for the superscript number that will direct her to the bottom of your page. There she'll find your shortened reference to the Taft diary, with the page where she can read the quote in context. If she has forgotten the diary's publication details, she can look back to your first footnote for all the specifics. If you follow a consistent citation style, she'll be able to find the first full cite easily by scanning up through your earlier footnotes.
Notice that footnotes are numbered consecutively over the course of the whole paper. (That is, the paragraph that mentions Taft the second time gets its own footnote; don't re-use the number found in the earlier paragraph.)
If you are confused about how to punctuate sentences with quotations and footnotes, remember that "the end punctuation goes first, followed by quotation marks as appropriate, and then the superscript number."1
If you are confused about how to find the details you need for a complete cite, you will find helpful visuals by following the "citation at a glance" links in Chicago Documentation Style at hackerhandbooks.com.Be careful to avoid accidental plagiarism. If you do not provide a footnote for information that you have learned from someone else, you are implying that you know that information from your own experience. You are thus stealing the credit for someone else's hard work, and academics take theft of intellectual property seriously.
Hanover College History Department
Last updated: Nov. 28, 2011