Footnote help

+6 votes
So I'm making my freespace on the the Scottish Settlement in Winnebago, Illinois and I got a lot of notes.  The example for referring to the same resource in the same profile is for a birth certificate and says to just say birth certificate.  But I have links.  How does that work?  Other than just repeating the same link?

I'm putting the link to it here but please bear in mind it's still a work in progress.
asked Apr 30 in Policy and Style by Joelle Colville-Hanson G2G5 (5,990 points)
retagged 4 days ago by Ellen Smith
You might want to try using the new Category:Migration structure for profiles instead of Scottish Immigrants.  It takes a while to figure out but is easy once you get the hang of it.  There are guidelines on
Ugh.  I have way too many Scottish immigrants to redo all the categories.

3 Answers

+6 votes


If you have any questions, please contact me by the private messaging on my profile Niskakoski-1

answered Apr 30 by Juha Soini G2G6 Mach 2 (29,670 points)
+6 votes

It looks like you have a good start already!

There are two ways to refer to a source multiple times.  It doesn't matter if it is a link or not.  First the link will be enclosed by brackets [ and ].  You'll put the url (http://www...) in and then skip a space and add how you want it to appear.

[ WikiTree]

will show a link that looks like this:


You can use <ref></ref> tags to repeat the same source.

<ref name='wikitree'>[ WikiTree]</ref>

This will put the little [1] in the text and list the WikiTree link below the Sources heading.  Subsequent references to the same source are easy because all you need to type is <ref name=wikitree />

Personally, I use the <span></span> tags more.  For that you will place the source link under the Sources heading and refer to it in the text.

== Sources ==

<references />

* <span id='wikitree'></span>[ WikiTree]

Then in your text where you want to reference the source link, you'll type, <ref>[[#wikitree|WikiTree]]</ref>  that will give you the [1].

For this style [[#type whatever you named the span tag]]  Use the "|" pipe to tell it what you want to display.  You could have also done

<ref>[[#wikitree|WikiTree, Where Genealogists Collaborate]]</ref> will look like this:

1. WikiTree, Where Genealogists Collaborate

and link to your source link.

This is really easier than it seems.  You just need a little practice.

answered May 1 by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz G2G6 Pilot (159,890 points)

What Lucy said. WikiTree does caution about using HTML markup in biographies, and I can tell you, being pretty good with HTML and CSS, that I've tried some combinations that, less than desirable results. So I now limit HTML use to an absolute minimum like special characters, line breaks, and sometimes the <span> or <div> elements. If I'm breaking any laws by using even  these, we'll hear about it here.  :-)

An aside is that I've seen some recent questions/comments about not liking WikiTree's use of multiple numberings in the source footnote area for the same citation--e.g., you enter a named <ref> tag that becomes footnote number 2, and you repeat it for a few different facts in the biography; in the == Sources == footnote area that then becomes a consecutive list like "2.1 2.2 2.3," etc. The Wiki standard by default wants each citation link in the body text (biography) to have a unique matching link in the footnotes, and vice versa. So, for example, clicking on the use of the second inline citation will take you to "2.2," and clicking on "2.2" will take you right back to the original point in the body text...keeps you from losing your place if you want to take a quick look at a source citation, and then go back to reading. WikiPedia does exactly the same thing...only slightly differently by using "a" and "b" instead of "2.1" and 2.2."

I personally like and appreciate the distinct footnote links. If I'm reading a detailed biography that interests me, I'll hop back and forth from fact in the body text to citation footnotes a number of times. Handy. But if you hate the separate footnote links, Lucy's <span> technique is one way to get around them...with a caution to be careful about using quotation marks to enclose reference names that include special characters like spaces or apostrophes, and that if you use a word processor like MS Word to compose biographies offline, you have to be extra careful that quotation marks and apostrophes are plain text, not special characters or Word's "smart" quotation marks.

Speaking of WikiPedia, while I'm getting myself in trouble anyway, here are a couple of links for those who may want to dive a little deeper into WikiText formatting ("Text," not "Tree"; these refer to the general WikiText mark-up language, and you need to be aware that--as with HTML coding--there are some things that WikiTree does not accept and should be avoided):

Thanks.  This is helpful.
While we're on the topic, one of the problems I have with the multiple, identical references is that it seems to excuse people from citing the actual page numbers of a book - and I can't figure out how to add page numbers to the individual citations using that system.  Can you add page numbers?  Can you combine systems, so that multiple citations to a single-page source (such as a birth certificate) are interspersed with single references to specific pages of books or to individual links to specific pages in a probate file?
I'm sure there is a better answer, but what I usually do is make an additional citation with the specifics. For instance when citing Hebert's Southwest Louisiana Records, which is an index of mostly church records now on CD, I cite the CD, then add a citation which explains the source Hebert cites. In this case the second citation is a footnote. You can put anything relevant in a footnote. I don't separate my footnotes from my citations under the Sources /references header.
+1 vote

Hi Joelle,

Please read the WikiTree official reference on advanced sourcing Please do not use single quotations for the <ref name="myname"> It is probably only working through pure luck for other users and might stop working anyday.

Please use only the approved tags for nothing else will be guaranteed to work in future.

answered 5 days ago by Louis Heyman G2G6 Mach 3 (33,640 points)
Okaaay... I wasn’t asking about tags. Don’t even know what you are talking about so pretty sure I won’t be using those tags.
No problem, though when adding footnotes and sources, just have a look. Some people gave wrong outdated info about references. Just keep it in mind.

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