Family Historian version 7 introduces a new way of working with Sources and A link between a source and a fact, documenting Where within the source you find information being “cited” to support the fact/conclusion., although it is possible to continue working in a similar way to Version 6, including the use of Ancestral Sources. There are changes to the interface but a few customisations can restore a similar ‘look and feel’.
This article assumes you’re familiar with working with Sources and Citations in ƒh6. If you’re a complete newcomer to Family Historian, read Sources and Citations in Version 7 (for New Users).
What Has Changed?What’s New in Family Historian 7 has the full detail, but in summary the changes are:
- You can now create Sources from Templates. Source Templates make it simpler to record consistent, structured information identifying sources and to produce better looking source citations in reports (including taking advantage of the ability to format reference Family Historian version 6 and below supports two types of Notes: Local notes (associated with a single person, record, or fact); and Shared Notes or Note Records, that can be linked to multiple records and/or facts. Version 7 introduced Research Notes. and bibliographies). You can use the templates provided by ƒh, customise them, or create your own templates. It is equally possible to use ƒh6 style sources (now called Family Historian 7 introduced the concept of ‘Templated Sources’ and renamed Version 6 (totally Gedcom compliant) sources as ‘Generic Sources’. ) if you prefer, and there are good reasons for many people to decide to do so.
- It is easier (but not obligatory) to use Source-Driven Data Entry is a workflow that starts when you acquire a source, moves on to entering the details of that source and then on to creating the facts about people that you glean from the source (often automatically creating; that is, to enter details of a source and then create Facts are one of the key concepts at the heart of Family Historian; they are how you record the things that happened to, or described, each ancestor (Individual). citing that source (rather than create facts and then add sources).
- Text from Source (usually transcriptions of or abstracts from original source documents) and Source Notes can be created using Autotext; that is, pre-formatted text templates that make entering transcriptions/abstracts etc. consistent and allow you to structure Text from Source to look like the original source document.
- There are more options for recording Citation Assessments (the assessment of the credibility of the information the citation relies upon).
Hand in hand with these changes there are user interface changes, including a new Citation Window (showing details of a Source and an associated Citation in one window).
Templated Sources versus Generic Sources
As already mentioned, Source Templates make it simpler to record information identifying sources in a consistent, clear manner. It does this by allowing you to capture the information about a source in a set of fields specific to the kind of source you’re recording. The ƒh7 Help file covers this in Sources and Source Templates and Getting Started with Source Templates
For example, if you’re referring to a Baptism or Burial source, you might record some or all of:
- The type of church register concerned (Parish Register, Bishop’s Transcript, Non-conformist register)
- The type of Events are things that happened to an Individual and Attributes are things that described them. (Baptism or Burial)
- The name of the individual concerned
- The When an Event happened, or an Attrribute was true. of the event
- The church or chapel
- The location (According to GEDCOM, a Place should hold “The jurisdictional name of the place where the event took place…” ) of the church or chapel
- A reference to identify where in the register the entry can be found
- A A repository is a place (physical or online) where collections of original source data are stored and maintained. (link to repository record) or online data collection
- A URL for an online version of the source
And if you’re recording a Birth or
- The certificate type (Birth or Death)
- The region where the certificate was issued (England & Wales, Australia, etc.)
- The name of the individual concerned
- The date of the event
- The location (place) of the event
- The “The address structure should be formed as it would appear on a mailing label…”, according to GEDCOM; however, this is capable of a number of interpretations, and Address and Place are best considered together. of the event
- A reference for the certificate (e.g. volume or register number, and page or entry number)
- A repository (link to repository record) or online data collection
- A URL for an online version of the source
Source Templates not only determine what fields are available to identify a source of a particular kind; they also identify what fields should be included in citation-level information for a source of that kind. So, for example, if you’re a ‘splitter’ (typically many sources, few citations per source), you’ll use templates that include most of the source information in the source fields, including Text from Source, and less information in the citation-level fields (such as the A Citation Assessment is a record of how credible you believe a piece of information in a source to be, when you have relied on that information to reach a conclusion about a fact. and possibly a Citation Note). And if you’re a ‘lumper’ (typically fewer sources, many citations per source), you’ll use templates that include fewer source fields and more citation fields. As always, ƒh is flexible enough to allow you to mix-and-match the different types of source information — a template for a birth registration index would usually have more citation-level fields than a template for a birth registration certificate.
ƒh7 uses the information you’ve provided in the template-specific fields to create the following display elements:
- A source (record) title
- A footnote and a short footnote
- A bibliography entry
You can customize all of the above per source template, and use them in reports, or in the Citation List Pane which shows the Sources cited for a particular fact.
By contrast, in ƒh6 or when using Generic Sources in ƒh7, you have to fit the relevant information into a fixed (and much less specific) set of fields (as described at Working with Sources and Citations ):
- Generic Type
- Custom ID
- Short Title
- Publication Info
- Repository (link to a repository record)
You cannot customise ƒh7 to automatically generate the Title for Generic Sources; however, you can customise the structure of Footnotes, Short Footnotes and Bibliography entries (which will be the same for all Generic Sources) and use them in reports or the Citation List Pane.
Should I Use Source Templates?
Although Templates make source data entry and display simpler, there are reasons you might decide to continue to use Generic Sources instead.
- You already have a lot of Generic Sources and a way of working that enables you to create them consistently. Although it’s possible to write Plugins are small programs that allow new features to be added without upgrading Family Historian itself; some plugins are written by Calico Pie and others are written by users. to convert Generic Sources to Family Historian Version 7 introduced the ability to define sources using ‘Source Templates’ to aid precision and consistency in entering source-identifying information. if you have a well-defined source structure, it isn’t a task that everyone will be willing or able to undertake; and because every user of ƒh6 will have structured their sources differently, each user will need to take a different approach.
- You already have a lot of Generic Sources but they are not highly structured. Converting them into Templated Sources will be a manual task and you may think it offers little benefit.
- You regularly import or export a GEDCOM, an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunication, is a specification for exchanging genealogical data between different genealogy software. It is a file format that most genealogical programs and online trees recognise. file, for example to share data with others or to generate a website. Other programs may do a better job of importing Generic Sources, but see Exporting Templated Sources for some steps you can take on export.
You may decide that the work involved in converting sources to use templates is justified if:
- You’re embarking on a total rebuild of your family tree (in which case you would be able to create sources using templates rather than convert them).
- You want to produce reports that conform to a particular citation format, such as the work of Elizabeth Shown Mills (in her book Evidence Explained) or the work done at the University of Strathclyde.
It is possible to retain existing Generic Sources and use Templates to create new sources under version 7, but before adopting this practice, you should assess how consistent your reports will appear and whether that matters to you. Consistent reports will look more ‘professional’ but you may not care about that.
Both Templated Sources and Generic Sources can benefit from Autotext, Source-Driven Data Entry and the additional options for recording Citation Assessments.
Which Templates Should I Use?
ƒh7 comes with two collections of templates: the Essentials Collection and the Advanced Collection.
The Essentials collection was designed by Calico Pie Limited is a UK software house, and the publishers of Family Historian., based on input from experts at the University of Strathclyde and elsewhere, and contains 16 templates that should cover the most common source types. Although they are not as detailed as the Advanced templates, they should be a good balance between precision and complexity for most users. We recommend you start with these Templates unless you are already familiar with the work of Elizabeth Shown Mills and wish to adopt her standards.
The Advanced collection contains 169 highly-detailed templates based on the work of Elizabeth Shown Mills, whose book Evidence Explained is widely used by professional/advanced genealogists to help to generate standard citations. However, even with templates, Evidence Explained compliant Source: “where information was found”. This could be anything from an archive in a county records office, a book, or even a relative’s recorded recollection. Citing your Sources helps to show how you reached a particular conclusion about an Individual. can be a lot of work to create and are overkill for many people.
You can also create custom versions of any of the templates supplied (by copying them and customising the copy; you cannot edit the standard templates) or create your own templates. Or you can mix and match custom templates, Essential Templates, Advanced Templates and Generic Sources. However, we advise you always use the same approach for the same source type!
See Adding, Customising and Sharing Source Templates in Version 7 for more on making the Templates you choose available and customising them to meet your needs.
Creating and Using Sources and Citations
There are three main methods of creating a Source and/or Citation in ƒh7, some of which will be familiar from similar facilities in ƒh6 and one of which is entirely new and introduces some new functionality.
Method 1 (Add a Citation to an Existing Fact)
The first method is similar to ƒh6: The Add Citation button at the bottom of the Citation List Pane associated with an Individual’s The Property Box is the primary window for data entry and for viewing details of stored records. It is used with records of all types. allows you to cite an existing source, or create and cite a new source, in support of a fact you’ve already created.
It opens a Citation Window, where you can view or create a source and add citation-specific data, which creates a citation for the currently selected fact. As well as entering the data for your source, you can see the automatically generated Footnotes, Bibliography entry and Title (only automatically generated for a Source created from a Template). If you want to show/hide the side panel for footnotes etc. click the Show Side Panel button to toggle visibility.
Citation Window Text from Source, Notes and Media have their own tabs; each can be used to add the relevant item to either the Source or Citation.
You may wish to customise the Citation main tab to include Text from Source or Notes for quick access. (Any customisations you make here will also apply to the Citation window under Method 3.)
Method 2 (Blank Generic Source)
Again, this will be familiar from ƒh6: Right-click on white space within the Sources Record List and select New Source. This will create a blank Generic Source, exactly as it does in ƒh6.
You may wish to customise the Source main tab to include Text from Source or Notes for quick access.
Method 3 (The Source Button)
The Source button on the main toolbar allows you to create a source, and optionally prepare a citation to it, or to prepare a citation to an existing source. (You can also view your current In Family Historian 7, a Prepared Citation is a combination of a source definition and associated citation-level data created ready for use in Source-Driven data entry., or Help specific to using the Source button). Even if you don’t want to prepare a citation, it is the quickest method of creating a Source.
Both methods are gateways to source-driven data entry, and open the Prepared Citation window:
As well as entering the data for your source and optional Prepared Citation, you can see the automatically generated Footnotes, Bibliography entry and Title (only automatically generated for a Source created from a Template). If you want to show/hide the side panel for footnotes etc. click the Show Side Panel button to toggle visibility.
Compared to ƒh6, Text from Source and Notes have moved to their own tabs (to make room for more source fields and the citation details) but the Citation main tab can be customised to include them if wanted. (Any customisations you make here will also apply to the Citation window under Method 1.)
There are a set of buttons on the bottom that allow you to use a Prepared Citation in a number of contexts.
A Prepared Citation is, simply, the combination of:
- A source
- Some associated citation-level data prepared ready for use (when the source is cited against a fact)
It is not a citation linking a source and a fact, but a means to create such a citation easily and consistently.
There can only be one Prepared Citation in existence in a A Project is a Windows folder, created by Family Historian, which contains all your Family Tree information recorded in Family Historian. Normally located in the Documents\Family Historian Projects folder. (the most recently created one).
It is saved in the Header Record (although you don’t need to know that to use it), and is preserved over a restart of ƒh, which is convenient if you’re working with a complex source and need to construct a lot of facts over a number of work sessions.
To view/use your current Prepared Citation, use View > Prepared Citation or select the Source button followed by View Prepared Citation.
The buttons at the bottom of the Prepared Citation window offer three possibilities to use the Prepared Citation:
- The Data Entry Assistant button allows you to run a special type of plugin called a Data Entry Assistant (or DEA). A DEA typically takes data you’ve entered into Source fields, and prompts for extra data that is contained in the Source, and uses that data to create related facts and the relevant Text from Source. (This is often referred to as Source-driven Data Entry). On completion, a DEA will display a list of every Fact it created or updated, so that you can verify what has been done, edit the changes if necessary or undo all the changes using (using Edit > Undo Plugin Updates.) DEAs are written by members of the user community and downloaded from the Published plugins can be downloaded from the Family Historian Plugin Store., just like other plugins. The DEA button allows you to choose a plugin to run, to read about DEAs and the specific DEAs available for the kind of Source you’ve created, or to browse the ƒh Plugin Store for new and updated DEAs.
It may be that there is no DEA for the kind of Source, you’re working with, or you might prefer to create Facts and their associated Citations manually, in which case you have two further options to use your Prepared Citation:
- Enable Automatic opens the Automatic Source Citation is a very powerful tool to ensure you remember to cite Sources for all your conclusions. Pane and enables Automatic Source Citations; the feature works as it did in ƒh6, except that the citation-level data fields shown in the Automatic Source Citation Pane vary according to the source being cited.
- Copy Citation copies the Citation to the clipboard; you can then paste the citation to any fact you choose using the Paste Citation from Source Clipboard button at the bottom of the Citation List Pane associated with an Individual’s Property Box. This is similar to copy-and-pasting a citation from one fact to another in ƒh6, except that you are doing it with a Prepared Citation, not a Citation already linked to a fact.
Adding Media to Sources and Citations
This is very similar to ƒh6 with some minor user interface changes.
To add Media, go the the Media tab on any of:
- The Prepared Citation Window (which will allow you to add Media to the Source or to the Prepared Citation for inclusion in every Citation created from it).
- A Citation Window (which will allow you to add Media to the Source or to that specific Citation)
- The Property Box for a Source (which will allow you to add Media to that Source).
In all cases, use the Add Media button to create a new When you add a picture, video, sound recording, document file etc into a Family Historian project, a Media record is created to represent that media item within the project; the Media record includes a link to the actual Media file. (Insert from File) or Link to Existing Media Record. You will be prompted to specify whether you want to add the Media to the Source or Citation (where relevant).
- If you Insert from File, you’ll be asked to specify the location for the media file, and a name to save it with.
- If you Link to Existing Media Record, you’ll be prompted to identify the Media Record.
- If your Source consists of more than one file, repeat for every file.
You can also create and link to a new Media Record by dragging-and-dropping a file into the Media window.
Viewing Sources and Citations
- as in ƒh6, to view a Source, double click on it in the Source Records List (accessed via View > Other Records Lists > Sources).
- To view your current Prepared Citation, use View > Prepared Citation or use the Source button followed by View Prepared Citation.
- To view a Source with an associated Citation, double click on the appropriate item in the Citation List Pane associated with an Individual’s Property Box. (Choose what is displayed to identify the Source/Citation in the Citation List Pane, by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the Source Pane and choosing Display Citation As >)
- To view all Citations for a Source, use the Options menu when viewing a Source or a Citation and select Show Source Record’s Citations in Result Window.
Including Sources and Citations in Reports
Report options associated with Sources have changed somewhat. If you choose to show Source Citations, the Footnote format will be displayed (although you have the option to use the Short Footnote format for citations to already-cited sources.) You can also optionally include a Bibliography at the end of the report.
Note: Although you can customise e.g. the Footnote for a particular kind of Source to include Text from Source and/or Source Notes, If you want to include Text from Source and/or Notes in Footnotes, it is best to append them using the Report Options, otherwise they will be truncated.
ƒh7 introduces a new ‘Sources and Citations’ report which shows details of one or more sources with a list of the citations to them.