Citing resources

+25 votes

As an informational specialist, I realise how important it is to cite resources correctly. I would like to make two suggestions:

1) Form a group who has the expertise to assist with creating citations for documents who would be willing to help other fellow genealogists, such as information professionals, librarians etc.)

2) Have an option to create an index per user profile of resources which will be cited often. This will allow for the entry of a code to draw the full citation from the list as well as ensure consistency in the citation format.

Not sure how others feel about this level of collaboration?


in WikiTree Tech by Wynand Van Der Walt G2G2 (2.3k points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway

Wynand, I believe that Lianne is working on something kinda like this-- the use of templates for regularly cited sources. I don't know what the status of it is. What this means is that for example, I could enter:

{{gmb}} and the system would replace that with:

<ref>Robert Charles Anderson, Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III, Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society (1995)</ref>

At least I think that's how it's supposed to work.

What I'd really like to see is some way for Wikitree to collaborate with WeRelate which has the most amazing library of Sources in their own name space. It's really quite amazing and makes ABSOLUTELY no sense for wikitree to recreate that wheel.

Dear Jillaine,

Thank you for your feedback! Will look into it.


The intended use of the source citation templates is actually more general than that. Eg. I've created Template:Reference book, which you use by putting something like the following on a profile:

<ref>{{Reference book
| author = Robert Charles Anderson
| title = Great Migration Begins
| pub-place = Boston, MA
| publisher = NEHGS
| pub-year = 1995
| page = 842-850
| quote = "This is a quote from this source."

It takes that info and displays the following formatted citation:

Robert Charles Anderson, Great Migration Begins (Boston, MA: NEHGS, 1995), 842-850.

"This is a quote from this source."

The idea is that the user doesn't need to know how to format a source citation. They can just fill in the blanks. This is how source citations are done on Wikipedia.

Ah, okay, not quite what I thought. Wishful thinking on my part. So, to get closer to what Wynand is requesting is some sort of library with a bunch of these-- those most frequently used-- already filled out except for the page and quote. 

Lianne, you've got a bunch of these already, right? Reference book is just one type, yeah?

mmm... i have a related question... can you have a template that pulls up another template? surprise

Let's say I create a template {{gmb}} and that pulls up an already filled in 

<ref>{{Reference book 
| author = Robert Charles Anderson 
| title = Great Migration Begins 
| pub-place = Boston, MA 
| publisher = NEHGS 
| pub-year = 1995 
| page = 842-850 
| quote = "This is a quote from this source." 

But without the page number and quote.

Could we do THAT?


So far reference book is the only one I've made. I don't own a copy of Evidence Explained, and there's always a long wait list for it at the library. I've tried to get other people involved on this to speed it up, but there's not a lot of crossover between people who understand source citations and people who understand templates, it seems (mostly since only a few of us really understand templates so far).

But yes, you can call another template within a template! So you can make a template for a specific source, that calls reference book and fills in the info. If you wanted to do the one you specified, and still allow someone to enter the page number and quote, you would put the following on Template:GMB:

{{Reference book 
| author = Robert Charles Anderson 
| title = Great Migration Begins 
| pub-place = Boston, MA 
| publisher = NEHGS 
| pub-year = 1995 
| page = {{{page}}}
| quote = {{{quote}}}

As an additional comment, what would be great is to have citations linked to specific fields, e.g. I might get the date of birth in the birth registers, and the baptismal informaiton in the church register. Somehow we need to be able to link the specific source to a specific field (e.g. Next to date of birth [1] pointing to source cited number 1.
Normally we do that in the biography. So, after a sentence stating the date of birth, you'd have a footnote with your source citation.
i concur that specific fields should be citable. Werelate implements such an approach beautifully. I don't like the practice of repeating the vitals in the narrative just so we can source them.
I would like a template which reads {{wra|whatever}} where whatever is whatever I type in (eg table_03_2c.htm)
William, I don't understand what you mean. What do you want the template to do?
replied direct. permission to cioy here.
Any progress on this request of William's?

Lianne, did you ever get a copy of EE?

I've seen this topic come up in a few places and am wondering if there is a group actively working on this?

Wandering around the site I’m finding serveral folks that are using Free Space profiles as source templates like Rob Ton has done with Space:The_Burritt_Family_in_America   

(Discussion here:

This technique seems incredibly useful.

A few source templates are in Category:Source_Templates, and some of the Category:Source pages have also been formatted to be usable as source templates as well.

Here we go - someone else wrote up instructions Space:Sources%2C_Managing_on_WikiTree  (see: using the free space profile as a template).

I have seen the discussion about how these sources duplicate the work on werelate, but in my mind the point is moot.  Yes, it would be great if we could utilize what has already been done - but we are where we are and if we don't create them here we can't use them here ... and they are very useful :)

Anyway .... I'm looking at starting pages for some of my sources because then we can do neat things like see which profiles refer to that particular source.  Just wondering if there is coordinated work in this area before I wander down that garden path.

1 Answer

+15 votes
Best answer

I am less concerned with correct blue book citations than I am about creating active links to books, documents and records on line so that I can read the information for myself. I have created Kitty's Library as a click-it-&-read-it list of internet links.  Please feel free to use or add to my Library any internet links you wish to include.  If you wish to be on the Trusted List so that Kitty's Library shows on your Free-space Watchlist, just let me know.  (You can view your Free-Space watchlist by clicking on your Watchlist, and then click the link at the top of your watchlist.) 

by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (542k points)
selected by Keith Baker
Dear Kitty,

Thank you for the feedback. Will look into it.


Kitty, your list is brilliant!


Thanks for the idea. I've started Jillaine Sources with a bit different twist as I need something more ready to plug into citation format.

-- Jillaine

nice, Jillaine.  I think yours is more like what Wynand was looking for.
Using code  is a great idea. All someone has to do is copy it. Suggestion - also how the "finished" product.
Kitty, I like your list and find it very helpful.  Do you think we could add, (only for the books listed in the "On-line family history books" section), the citation format for that particular book?  Then we could not only get the link to the book but could also swipe the citation and just add the details.

I will help, but I need help with some of the formatting.
WOW OMG....hope you don't mind I placed the link to Kitty's Library on my profile...if anything so not to lose it....Thanks for all that work.

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