I had a conversation with a relative which provided me some useful information. However, when I (or someone else) read the genealogy some time in the future, there obviously needs to be a citation. However, with the typical GEDCOM citation data fields, I am not sure how to clearly and accurately represent this source. I am using GRAMPS, but I would like this to be correctly exportable to other softwares.

How should I cite a conversation in GEDCOM format so it is both accurate and easy for a reader to understand? More specifically, how should I accomplish this in GRAMPS?

  • Have you adopted any particular citation style for your other citations?
    – user104
    Nov 27, 2013 at 17:18
  • Usually date, source title, volume/page, author if applicable, and link if applicable.
    – Luke_0
    Nov 27, 2013 at 17:44
  • 1
    If you're taking a simplistic approach, then the minimum you need is: date of the conversation, name of the relative, the fact that it was Oral information provided directly to you which you transcribed. Are you recording the transcription of the conversation?
    – user104
    Nov 27, 2013 at 18:03
  • This particular conversation was rather spontaneous in a car, so I wasn't able to record it.
    – Luke_0
    Nov 27, 2013 at 18:06
  • Ohhh. Is there any possibility you'll be able to find corroborating documentary evidence?
    – user104
    Nov 27, 2013 at 18:23

2 Answers 2


You can simply record the whole conversation as one source (optionally with multiple EVEN structures for multiple distinct topics) and cite it as such:


1 @Sn@ SOUR
2 AUTH myself
2 TITL Stuff I talked about with Jim while in the car last Wednesday


3 EVEN which event types were talked about
4 DATE date period when the events took place
3 ... and repeat EVEN as often as necessary for each topic talked about

Source citation:

n   SOUR @Sn@
n+1 EVEN talking -- user-supplied custom event type
n+1 DATA
n+2 TEXT (...) -- rough transcription of what was said
n+1 QUAY (...) -- how certain you and/or the talking partners were about this
                  specific event, typically 1 for oral sources, 0 for pure gossip,
                  2 for people telling you facts they know for sure about themselves.
  • I'd create a source for the conversation, yes, but I'd source it to Jim Fullname, with a date. Nov 29, 2013 at 8:13

The short answer is that you cannot create a "correct" citation because you have nothing to cite.

The purpose of a citation is to allow another researcher to identify, locate and re-examine the evidence that you have used. Obviously no-one else will be able to present on the exact car journey where you had the conversation (which is now in the past). The best that you can do is to create a (derivative) source that can be cited by setting out your recollection of the conversation in the form of a document. Ideally, you would send your version of the recount to the other party to the conversation to have him or her confirm that it is a correct record.

In GRAMPS, I would then create a new Repository (called Personal Collection) and enter a new Source (Recount of a conversation ...). GRAMPS screenshot 1

You can use (one or more) Source Notes to set out the details of who you spoke to, when the conversation took place, when and how you constructed the recount, and how the other party corroborated your view to form the final document. Since you have the document electronically, you can upload a pdf image into the gallery with a link to this Source.

GRMPS screenshot 2

Then for each event about which the (now documented) interview provides evidence, you would create a new Citation that points to a particular element of that source. You might use paragraph numbers or even line numbers in the document for specific references.

GRAMPS Screenshot 3

If the document is complex, you might consider inserting bookmarks within the pdf and using these where GRAMPS specifies volume/page etc.

GRAMPS will then tie all these pieces together when you export a GEDCOM as shown in this fragment.

0 @S0081@ SOUR
1 TITL Recount of Interview with A N Other
1 AUTH My Self
1 PUBL unpub
1 ABBR Aunt Annie
1 REPO @R0021@
1 NOTE @N0266@
1 NOTE @N0267@
2 DATE 30 NOV 2013
3 TIME 17:09:35

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