how to cite local file references

+8 votes
How to cite local file references:

1. How to tell a PM that local file refs are almost useless to researchers?

2. How to deal with Local File Refs?

3. Is this something a Bot could clear?
asked in WikiTree Help by Loretta Corbin G2G6 Mach 4 (48.7k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

7 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer
As I was checking the references, they are almost all results of GEDCOM import. No-one does or should put full local path to location of the file on local hard drive. Average lifetime of local disk and computer is cca 5-10 years. After that you get a new one and those local paths usually change.

I don't think copyright is the reason files were not uploaded. It is just that GEDCOM doesn't copy files.

So if profile manager is inactive, you can only delete them.

If profile manager is active, he might choose to upload those files, but I think that is not the case in most cases.
answered by Aleš Trtnik G2G6 Pilot (356k points)
selected by Jan Terink
+6 votes

May be a bot could generate a status report

  1. Edits done last week
  2. Thanks received last week
  3. Points in competions
  4. Summary of suggestions and guidelines how to progress
In the summary of suggestions local files could be mentioned and Rolf please try to locate those files and upload them...
Another problem with files is if they contain copyrighted sources then they better stay on the local PC ;-)
answered by C S G2G6 Pilot (268k points)
+9 votes
Working to replace them with publicly available information makes sense, but I do not agree that they should be removed by a bot. At least the local file reference gives us some indication that the profile manager might have more useful information if contacted. In some cases they may be unable to publish the information for copyright or personal reasons. This does not mean it has no value.
answered by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (619k points)
+8 votes
Probably the main user of most profiles will be the creator.  It's possible to worry too much about imaginary readers.

Ideally you'd keep all your stuff in one (reliable) place.  If you have to keep your main tree somewhere else, sooner or later you won't bother repeating your work on WikiTree, it'll seem like more trouble than it's worth.
answered by RJ Horace G2G6 Pilot (431k points)
Given the type of questions that get asked on G2G I would think that the percentage of Wikitree users who consider this to be the repository for their main tree is probably fairly low at present. If the main user of a profile is the creator then what is the point of putting it on here in the first place?
I don't know.  But I don't think it should be assumed that everybody has the same reasons.

I think it would be a good "Question of the Week" - Do you use WikiTree as your main tree?

Still, we would only hear from those who regularly use G2G, probably a fairly low percentage and probably mostly new members and those of us who are regulars!

+8 votes
Local file references already appear on the suggestions report, so they're already (slowly) being dealt with.
answered by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (154k points)
Yes, but HOW are they being dealt with? Data-doctoring, I came across a profile with local files and tip-toed away.
I hide them in a <!-- Comment -->. They aren't pertinent to the information in the biography anyway, and if someone who manages the profile needs the information, it is still available.
Oh! YES, that seems perfect! Thanks!
I like this idea too.  And it doesn't fall into the error, er, suggestions report?
Cindy, good question. I'm going to find out by hiding something on my own profile's bio to see if it'll show up on my "Suggestions List."
+5 votes

I think a local file reference should contain some information as to what is contained in the file..  I have some but I don't do them as a local reference.


  • Chronicle of Georges dit Chambre Walter (primary source of information about his family and other glass makers in his towns) French acts of birth, marriage, and death. Family documents. GenVerre publications and database. Maitre Verrier (master glass maker) internationally known in his time through modern day. Chronicle he wrote in 1700s has been published in English, French, and German that I know of. He is used as a source in many scholarly works including the Krakow Library of Steuben Glass.   
I have the data in several languages.  French and German have been published on the web, English at this point has not.  I intend to create a free space page and put it up there.  But at this point it is still in my computer as I have some work to do to clean it up before putting it on a free space page  
An example might be a diary a relative kept  Those have great daily points of interest to many local historians and researchers.  So list it as Diary of Joe Smith written during the years 1750 to 1800 in the town of XYZ.  PM has copy in his (or her) possession.
To me that explains the source of the information as primary source material from a specific person, at a specific time, in a specific location.   
I think we need to just do some decisions and them publish to everyone how to create these kind of sources.  
Others can be info from copyrighted books in libraries. might be good for this.  You could at least link to the name of the book and it would then list all the places it is located in libraries around the world.  I would find that very valuable.  
Just my thinking as I have a good number of sources from books that are under copyright like Montbronn by Joseph Conrad.  
answered by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (467k points)
+4 votes
I copy the local files into my word processor, save the resulting files as a .pdf, upload the .pdf into the person's bio, delete the local file names and in its place say what I've done & provide a link to the .pdf (in bold). That way you still have the list but you have corrected the error.

For an example, see


answered by Patricia Hickin G2G6 Mach 6 (68.3k points)
Not to be mean, and I'm sure that probably works, but in the profile you sent, there was so much stuff to wade through, e.g. multiple references to Ancestry Trees and 19 citations which prove her name is Margaret Hammond that I gave up trying to find them.  I'd take a scalpel to the profile and try to make it cleaner, clearer, and less repetitive.
Well, I agree, but it's not my profile. I was just explaining what I do in relation to "local files."
Well, that's encouraging. : )  Sorry to jump to the wrong conclusion.

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