I suppose a good way to judge how serious someone is at genealogy is to see how s/he handles citing references. By that criteria, I’m still somewhat of a novice. There are lots of “official” rules on how you should handle citations, but I still just want to put in a decent way for someone else to be able to find out where you got a particular piece of information. Since censuses are still the major references in my databases, I’ve taken to using a pretty simple rule when citing them. I put in the date (e.g. 1900 followed by the location of the census. I put this in the head of family’s record under Residence and also add the head’s occupation, if one is given, as an occupation datum, without bothering to add the location since it is assumed to be the same as the corresponding residence. I also add occupations for other members of the family, but add the location to indicate they’re not a head of household. I admit I’m not real consistent about adding occupations for children, etc., but I’m trying to do better.
For other citations, I generally use the title of the database as an actual citation. I sometimes will add other information, but generally assume people will try checking the reference I cite before making it part of their own database. If I have other sources which vary, I’ll put the variant in the citation for the one I don’t use in the person’s record. This isn’t an ideal way of doing things, but it saves time. Now many times I just add data from online trees so that I have something to work on, but I don’t reference where I found it. There are so many trees available online that it’s impossible to figure out who got what where, and so writing down just what tree you took a piece of information from won’t be of much help, and might make someone think you’ve somehow verified the person’s data, when you haven’t. I’m always happy to help someone figure out where data I provide came from, but sometimes I just have to say, “I don’t know.” I have a couple of important pieces of data in my trees which I don’t know if are correct or not, but I keep them there to remind me I need to research them further.
If anyone has the time, I’d be interested in hearing how you do your citations and how much you do to verify the information you add to your Family Trees.