Here is an entry concerning a cremation:


At the moment I do not have a "source citation" for this entry. But, I did receive this information from the manager at Gwent Crematorium via email.

In this situations what would be the right process for adding a source? Since it came from an email from the Crematorium.

3 Answers 3


I disagree with the other answers in that I would not include an image (or full text), of any recent personal correspondence in a database accessible to others, without their express permission. When someone writes you an email they usually do not expect you to post it on the internet for all to see. Whether or not the email contains sensitive information, it would be prudent to ask the person who wrote the email whether you would be okay to circulate the email online.

I have corresponded with many people regarding my family tree over the years, and it annoys me when I see the full text of a private email written by me posted on RootsWeb or Ancestry or somewhere. This has happened to me multiple times.

You don't need to include the full email, but certainly cite your source – e.g. something like:

Personal correspondence (email) from John Smith, Gwent Crematorium, 14 Apr 2016.

That's all you need. Include the details of the email (i.e. a summary of pertinent details) in the citation transcription or other notes, if needed. No real need to include an email address – they change frequently.

Someone can now track down that same source, very easily, if they want further details. They just need to contact Gwent Crematorium, and ask for John Smith.

There are many different citation style guides, but as long as you include enough information for someone to find the same source, you have done your job. If you were publishing in a journal, there might be a specific format preferred, but this is your family tree. Personally I find it very annoying when citations are padded with unnecessary information.

  • I thank you for the valid issues raised. I changed the accepted answer. Sorry for the deducted points to the former. Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 4:51

The source is the email surely? Convert the email to an image (screen grab) Edit the image to hide your email address if you want to and then attach that as the source. You can add context if necessary in the note to the source record.

  • I appreciate that I can do a screen grab of the email content. But an image is still only an image that one has to attach to a an actual citation. A citation is words as you know. So the question is referring to the citation .... Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 6:49
  • @Andrew Truckle in your OP you asked about a source then in your comment you talk about a citation. Which is it?
    – Colin
    Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 6:39
  • No, I refer to a "source citation" twice. That is just an oversight that the third time I only said "source". Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 10:36

One option would be to add an image of the email (as suggested by @Colin) as Media to the Cremation fact. Go to the Fact Details, click on Media and Upload the image as Media. Ensure that all personal identifying data (including your own!) are removed before you upload. The description of the image when up;loading the Media can contain what would be normally regarded as a citation to the source.

If the email "obviously" describes the state of knowledge, why sweat trying to create an Ancestry format citation if it doesn't quite fit? The standard Ancestry description of a source, being aimed at a book or web-page, doesn't fit very well with a description of an email and adding the subsequent citation to that source is even worse.

These are the important items to record for an email in my view (replace the obvious bits with values):

e-mail to ?recipient-name?, copied to ?copy-recipient-name?, "?subject line?" ?author-name? (Probably appropriate to use author's job-role in this case, e.g. "Manager, Gwent Crematorium") ?date-sent?

How those map onto Ancestry's Source and Citation I daren't imagine....

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