Categories: WikiTree Help

A source is where you obtained the information you've provided on a profile. Sources are critically important for genealogy. Some even say that genealogy without sources is mythology. Even if you're just a casual family historian recording modern family history, you will be helping future genealogists by listing where the information you've added came from.

This page describes different kinds of sources. For information for how to include sources in a profile, see Source Style Guide. For help with numbered references, see Footnotes.

Source citations don't have to be perfect. Anything is better than nothing.


Book or Printed Publication

Book citations should ideally include the Author, Title, Edition, Publisher, and Publication Date. For newspaper and magazine articles be sure to include the title of the article as well as the title of the publication. Page numbers are a nice addition. And if it's a rare book you might also include where it can be found, such as in the collection of a certain person or library.

For example:

* Joe Schmoe, "Citing Sources", Citations Magazine, A-1 Publishers, April 2011, page 15. This issue is rare but [[Whitten-1|Chris Whitten]] has a copy of it and will scan the page on request.

Website or Online Source

For online sources the most important piece of information is the URL, i.e. the unique web address.

You can usually find the URL in the address bar at the very top of your web browser. For example, the address for this page is

When citing a web page you can create a link by using brackets "[ ]" around the URL.

For example, this:

* Dora's [ birth certificate application] is on

Creates this link:

There must be no space after the opening "[", but there is an important space between the end of the URL and the "anchor text" you want to display as the link. In the example above, "birth certificate application" is the linked anchor text.

Family Bible or Old Clipping

If the source is a unique family heirloom or clipping, consider uploading a photo of it or create a free-space profile (more info).

For example, this:

* The birth and death dates are written in the [[Space:Whitten_Family_Bible|Whitten Family Bible]], apparently in the hand of [[Lorman-1|Mary Olive (Lorman) Whitten]].

Creates this link:

Cemetery or Headstone

Include the location of the cemetery, who visited it, and when. If you have a photo of a headstone upload it to the individual's profile page.

Second-Hand Information

Often genealogical information is related from other family members.

It's a good idea to include who said certain information, and if you remember, when they said it. You may also want to include a link to the person's WikiTree profile page.

For example, this:

* [[Whitten-20|Edward Whitten]] related the story about his childhood to [[Whitten-1|Chris Whitten]] on Christmas Day 1979.

Creates this link:

You can also add numbered footnotes inside the text of a biography.

This page was last modified 21:01, 18 June 2015. This page has been accessed 71,507 times.