I am trying to learn good habits for creating custom source entries. So take this entry:

  • Glamorganshire Baptisms Transcription
  • First name(s) Cyril Alexander
  • Last name Harris
  • Birth year 1913
  • Baptism year 1913
  • Baptism date 29 Jan 1913
  • Place Cardiff, St John
  • County Glamorganshire
  • Country Wales
  • Father's first name(s) Alexander
  • Mother's first name(s) Esme Katherine
  • Record set Glamorganshire Baptisms
  • Category Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers)
  • Subcategory Parish Baptisms
  • Collections from Wales, United Kingdom

Welsh Archive Services / Gwasanaethau Archifau Cymru

© Findmypast

Now, I had to create a new source and I did it like this:


And this is the new citation:


So overall, it looks like this:


Have I transferred the available information over into the correct fields?

Side note: Would you "link" this fact to Alexander and Esme profiles?


I should point out that there is additional information on the actual image that it may be worth transcribing:

  • Address: 37 Hills Terrace
  • Fathers profession: Trainer
  • 1
    Absolutely transcribe the residence and profession -- and link the record to that information for his mother and father.
    – user6485
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 10:57
  • @ColeValleyGirl I have added the two extra items of information but using Ancestry.co.uk it does not seem you can link this source to a parent. Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 10:59
  • Can you not add residence and occupation facts and link it to those? YOu need to record all the snippets you find to help with correlation of records.
    – user6485
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 11:03
  • OK, but if I create these two facts for the father, I have to "re-create" all the same source entry? That would be annoying. Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 11:15

2 Answers 2


It is easy to get lost in the time to create sources and citations - been there, done that. You will change your methods part way through, so don't aim for perfection from the start.

So here are a few mental tests to apply:

  • Can someone find the same entry again on the same web-site?
  • Can someone find the same entry in an equivalent source? (By which I mean, if you're citing a PR on FindMyPast, could I find the same entry in a microfilm of that PR held in a Welsh library somewhere?)
  • Have you warned people about possible pitfalls in your source? (For instance, if you've got a transcription of the original PR, which might have transcription errors, have you warned people that's what you used?)
  • Can you find the same entry for the Source again in Ancestry's tree system and re-use it usefully?
  • Have you got any pointless repetition (For instance, if you say Author = FindMyPast, Publisher = FindMyPast, Repository = FindMyPast - do you really need all those repeats? Possibly 2, possibly 3, but not always...)

So - to your example... Please note that my attempt will be different from yours - that doesn't mean one of us is wrong. Note also that I am just talking about a Source in Ancestry's tree system. First I need to decide what my Source actually is. A good rule of thumb for me is that if it's a "photographic" image of the very original, then I source and cite it as if it were the original, just adding the extra data (to say that it's a microfilm or digitisation) into the publication data. If, on the other hand, it's a transcript or index, then the possibility of errors is such that needs to be made clear upfront by adding that into the title of the source.

You have "Glamorganshire Baptisms" (on FMP) as your source. I'd be inclined to invest a bit more detail in the source - "Glamorganshire Baptisms" is a collection on FMP and that won't help the guy going into the library looking for a microfilm. So how about saying that your source is the Parish Registers of St. John, Cardiff? (Notice this is in the plural - another option is to identify exactly which PR of St. John, this is, e.g. Parish Register of St. John, Cardiff, Baptisms 1875-1921 (making it up here) - but this is liable to be tricky to do. FMP seldom help you to "walk" the pages of a register to identify which it is).

So, Title = Parish Registers of St. John, Cardiff

Author? Some people like to put the name of the archives holding the stuff. I find that pointless if it's recorded elsewhere (duplication, see?) I'd put Author = St. John, Cardiff (Church in Wales) (Argue amongst yourselves whether I'm duplicating - I prefer to repeat the church's name to make it clear that this is their copy and not a transcript by Fred Bloggs)

Publisher = FindMyPast

Note against the Source - I think I ought to add "Images and Index of Original" in here???

Do you have to put a Repository in for the Source? I rather think you do, so I'd put FMP like you have - it just messes things up a bit if next week you need to record a microfilm for the same church...

So - on to the Citation - I always get lost in what the Detail section is about, because their explanation is not good. What I use it as, is the means to identify exactly where in the Source you need to go to find the info.

In your case, your Detail just repeats the Source Title, which sort of seems a bit odd to me. I would put something that enables someone to find the entry in my Source of "Parish Registers of St. John, Cardiff" - remembering that they might be using a microfilm. Maybe: Detail = "Baptism of Cyril Alexander Harris, 29 January 1913" (This isn't the place for a transcription). You could add the page number and entry number to that Detail - up to you.

Transcription of Text - strictly speaking this is the transcript of the image of the PR in my example but I'd copy the transcript from FMP, just like you.

Web Address - and that clang that you heard is the pitfall of changing URLs opening. Basically, unless the web-site has guaranteed that its URLs won't change (like FamilySearch do - until they change), then it's a waste of time to quote URLs inside the big sites. They will change over time. And in any case, your URL might not look anything like mine. (Spoiler - it doesn't - I just compared them!) Personally, I'd just put the URL for the front of FMP and leave it at that.

OK - I wonder how much I followed my own rules? Please identify any issues.

  • 1
    So for the "note" of the "source" would you add your suggest to "Category: Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers);Subcategory: Parish Baptisms;" or "replace" it? Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 17:48
  • I think I was replacing the Category etc by "Images and Index of Original" - basically because you don't need the Category and Sub-Category to find the image again (or in a different version), nor do you need that text to understand the source because it's a statement of the obvious.
    – AdrianB38
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 19:16
  • Hmm - if the Title of my Source = Parish Registers of St. John, Cardiff and if I have used the FMP images, the microfilm and the original books - how should I represent that? It surely has to be 3 different sources (each "published" in a different manner). Because Ancestry Tree shows a drop-down list containing only the Title of the Source, if I'm not careful, I have 3 entries the same title. Not good. I think I therefore have to adapt my rule and have 3 different Titles in that case: Parish Registers of St. John, Cardiff suffixed by "FMP", "M/film" and "Orig" respectively.
    – AdrianB38
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 19:23
  • Re "Note against the Source" - maybe I should put the name of the collection in FMP in here? It's pretty obvious in this case but might not always be?
    – AdrianB38
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 19:26

I transcribe everything.

I have found even the tiniest bit of information useful. For example, I found my great grandfather in the 1905 New York State Census (before the rest of the family was there) because the address was the same as where it said he was going on his 1904 passenger manifest to the US. It also said he was going to his "uncle" and the surname was super common but also his wife's maiden name. Because of this, I was also able to find his filing for naturalization, which I couldn't find the regular way because his surname was even more common than his wife's and his first name had changed. But there in pencil of the image was the address (and no other info except a file number, which got me the full naturalization for the entire family).

Make every single thing a fact and link it to this source. That includes the parents' names (even though they're the same as you know them to be...except K vs C on a middle name). Include a copy of the full doc with the source. And by the way, the publisher is Find My Past. Include that so it's easy to find later if need be. You can also include the direct link to it, though that may stop working at any time.

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