Is there a reason for putting citations in the biography rather than in sources?

+4 votes
I am the profile manager of one of my ancestors. Someone, evidently well-meaning, removed the <ref> tags in my ancestor's biography so that the source citations now appear in his biography rather than under 'sources.' Since I am only an amateur genealogist, I would like some advice before returning the profile to its former state.
WikiTree profile: Matthew Bracken
in Policy and Style by John Bales G2G2 (2.5k points)

2 Answers

+8 votes
I have read through what you had there before, and I would say that the <ref> tags needed to stay, so go ahead and put them back so that there are narrative sentences with little [1] footnotes after each one.

The one thing I would say is that we never put 'Loc.cit' or 'ibid'.  Just imagine if you found another source or two that would go in immediately after the first citation - you wouldn't know which document 'Loc cit.' referred to!
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
There was a Suggestion on this profile for the 'Loc.cit' reference, but they changed others that could have been left alone.
Thanks, Linda, for the prompt response and for the advice about 'ibid' and 'loc. cit.'

+12 votes

John, I agree that there was no reason for those changes to have been made.  You are correct about wanting source citations to be displayed under the Sources heading.  It's also commendable that you are using the <ref> … </ref> tags to cause them to be footnoted at the statements in the biography that they support.

Looking at the content of the Biography, though, I can see where the person who made those changes thought they were doing a good thing.  The statements to which you appended the <ref> … </ref> citations aren't actually statements - they're just the names of the sources.  

I would remove the list of source names from the Biography section and (because there are no statements in the Biography to which footnotes could be appended) place the citations under the <references /> tag below the Sources section, using asterisks to make them a bulleted list.

If you can make an actual statement in the Biography section of a fact that the source supports, then the <ref> …</ref> tags would appropriately follow such statements, for example:

Matthew owned 130 acres of land in West Virginia.<ref>10 Apr 1769 Greenbrier, (W)VA 130 acres. Abstract of Land Grant Surveys 1761-1791 Peter Cline Kaylor, Rockingham Historical Society (1938)</ref>

by Gaile Connolly G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
Wouldn't writing it up as "West Virginia" be incorrect for the timeframe, though?
It sure would … I didn't look at the content at all, though - who knows - maybe Matthew isn't the one who owned it?  I just wanted to put a quick example here - my bad - sorry!

Just didn't want someone copying and pasting!  cheeky

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