Re: How do I see the full citation

Jan Murphy

I struggled with the "lumper vs. splitter" idea for ages, then one day, the light bulb went on.  

Some programs like Family Tree Maker have a different way for handling sources where you can load all the 'top-level' information about a source so you don't have to repeat yourself over and over again, and a section where you put the information for the individual citation (the one certificate you may be looking at).  When I was just starting out in genealogy, this baffled me, but after reading the lumper/splitter debates on the FHUG forum, I finally started to get it. 

The program Clooz allows the user a lot of flexibility about how you enter the information.  Their video on Source Citations talks about various options there. Getting Started with Clooz video 4: Entering Documents (Source Citations)  

But when all else fails, I like to go to the Evidence Explained website, read the forum and lessons, and then think about what's there. 

Some links about FamilySearch and layered citations:

QuickLesson 25: ARKs, PALs, Paths & Waypoints (Citing Online Providers of Digital Images)

Layered Source Citations: What Comes First?

I wonder if some of the problem is that the templates may not be set up to capture all the layers of layered citations. 

However you record things, the basic principle is to cite what you use.  A certificate you view from FamilySearch should be cited differently than a certified copy ordered directly from Cook County, or acquired via the Illinois State Genealogical Society's program, because they may not be exactly the same.  In England and Wales, the copy obtained from the local record office may not have exactly the same information as one from the GRO.  And so on.  

Jan Murphy
Moderator Pro Tempore

On Tue, May 25, 2021 at 11:29 PM colevalleygirl@... <colevalleygirl@...> wrote:

I’m glad you’ve sorted it.


You may be right, although there are people that lump English BMD. Also, births here were recorded first at the local level and then aggregated at the national level, so there are multiple places we can get certificates too. Perhaps a more important difference is that we have to pay to see the details on a certificate (as a paper or PDF copy), so that perhaps predisposes us to ‘splitting’ them.


From: <> On Behalf Of Santa Traugott
Sent: 25 May 2021 20:27
Subject: Re: [family-historian] How do I see the full citation


I thank you all very much for your help and patience.  I have now successfully created a custom Source Template, and amended the footnote format therein, and now the footnote looks approximately as I would like it to be, and I think I know how to do further tinkering.


I wonder if part of the problem is that the splitting method for civil registration certificates may work better in England, because BMDs (after 1837) come from the GRO, whereas here in the States, births are recorded at the county level, and then usually at some point aggregated to the state level, so there are multiple places whether the certificate might have come from, not just one.  A birth certificate source for a person that simply records the name and date would be useless (on its own) in the U.S.  


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