Re: Sources and linking media

Paul Sillitoe

As a newcomer to FH  but not to referencing primary sources, I'm not able to see how the distinction is being drawn between sources and citations in FH.

To my mind, the source is the evidential record upon which interpretations are made. References to such records need to be as granular and unambiguous as is necessary for readers to be able to find the same source.

In the context of family history sources such as are being discussed here, it would seem that the reference to source level needs to go down to at least the page, or individual item record if possible. That is the source. Hopefully, it is a physical record or a digital image. If it is a transcription or other non-original abstract or copy, that needs to be clearly stated.

The citation, then, is the form of words in which the reference to the source is written, using a standard syntax or style. Published papers will normally specify such a style APA, Chicago, etc. Perhaps such a standard specified in FH, but this thread seems to indicate either that it is not specified, or is not widely known. 

Best to all

Paul Sillitoe

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone but not so smart as to usefully auto-correct the typos from my large fingers 🙂

-------- Original message --------
From: Geoff Johnson <geoff@...>
Date: 27/02/2021 12:20 (GMT+00:00)
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Sources and linking media

I've got a T shirt for this one too!
Personal factors come in here.  Some users seem to not worry about sources at all or, if they do, their system is often inconsistent.  That’s the way I started.

I define it this way.  Sources are meant to be where the information came from, whereas Citations should define how and in what way the source is relevant to the topic in question.

Commonly a source might be Find My Past Census records.  The Citation might be HO 107 Piece 7 Bk1 Fol 3 p2

But that’s hard work!  And the most important thing is that neither identify who it’s about!

You know what you’ve found is available in one of several sources of census data.  But the key thing is who it is you’re interested in.  In this case my combined Citation AND Source example is `Joseph Peacock b1742 1841 Bolnhurst HO 107 Piece 7 Bk1 Fol 3 p2


So, to that end, I prefer to keep both Citation and Source stuff, both information and images, the same.  Occasionally a less frequent type of source may be a bit unusual.  Typically:

·         a gravestone or graveyard book entry, a letter dd/mm/yy from `Aunty Florence’, TNA WW2 Officers record etc.


Obviously, such Sources may need to be more specific.  However, I don’t believe in `sourcing’ what is just bog-standard data from Parish records or Censuses.  I just `cite’ what I have found, and keep that the same for the source.

As I’ve said, since I started my research a couple of decades ago my source referencing had been totally inconsistent!    So, a couple of years ago I changed my ways.  Now, pinned to the wall in front of my desk, I have, a standard aide-memoir notice that reads (see also attached Jpeg):

File Entry Format - for Family History Sources
Name > Birth Year > Type > Location > Event Date

Folder Types:  •  Baptism  ‬• Marriage • Death •  Burial • Other Docs


I’ve been following that practice as religiously as possible; continually making amendments to the `old stuff’.  The benefits are slowly becoming apparent, and life is getting more consistent.  The practice definitely helps.


I also keep the citation text the same as the file name for the image.

For example: suppose I obtain a baptism image.  I give it a filename as per format on my notice.  I select and copy that same filename to clipboard.  Move to the right place in FH and create the `fact’ entry as a baptism entry.  Then create the source by pasting the same filename.  I can then `Add media for the Citation’ by the following process.
Adding Images

In Family Historian, if you add an image in the Fact/Citation area it doesn’t appear in the Source Pane area.  I advise that you always add images to the `lower’ Source box first: they then automatically appear as a Citation.
There are complications in V7 that upset my method.  For me it's necessary to always opt to `Add New Generic Source'.  I haven't got my head around Source Templates yet and feel I'm unlikely to change now!
Geoff Johnson

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