GEDCOM Source Fields


If you’re creating a source in Family Historian V6 and below, or a Generic Source in Version 7, you have a small number of fields with which to identify the source:

Title This uniquely identifies the source within your ƒh project, for example:

  • Birth Certificate of James Smith born 15th Aug 1873, Clerkenwell, London; or
  • Memories of Joanne Philips
Short Title Optional extra identifier, which can help with filing or finding information more easily if the Title of the Source is very long, e.g Birth 1873 James Smith. We recommend that you adopt a standard format for Short Title
Type Another finding aid, used to categorise sources, e.g. Census; or Newspaper etc.

More about Source Types

The Type field on Gedcom-compliant sources allows you to specify, for each source record, what kind of source it is. The choice of values for this field is up to the user (e.g. you might prefer to use general terms like certificate, or more detailed terms like death certificate). The field supports auto-completion, and there is a Work with Data dialogue for Source Types which is accessible either by double-clicking on any source type field (or pressing the button with 3 dots next to it); or by clicking on Tools > Work With Data > Source Types. The dialog allows you to edit, view and merge source types as you can with other auto-completion fields. You can also view records that use a given source type and jump to them.

Source types come into their own when you use the “splitter” Source Method 1, which means you may have hundreds of Birth Certificate Sources for example. Using the source type with Queries would allow you to check for a source of type birth certificate even though the actual source name could be Certificate Birth Fred Blogs.

They can also be added as a column on the Records Window Sources tab to allow sorting by the type as well.

Author and Publication Information According to the GEDCOM Standard, Publication Information could be used to include “the date the record was created and the place where it was created. For example, the county and state of residence of a person making a declaration for a pension or the city and state of residence of the writer of a letter”. This can be used in conjunction with the Author field (“The person, agency, or entity who created the record”).
Custom ID As with all Record types, an optional Custom ID can be used to give each Source a unique identifier based on a numbering system of your choice.
Repository If applicable, you can link a Source to a Repository which is the location of the source document you consulted e.g. Leeds Register Office.
Text From Source A partial or full exact transcription of the Source, including the information you’ve relied on to form a conclusion about one or more Facts.
Note You should record comments about the Source record itself here: for example:

  • Very hard to read so transcription may be inaccurate;or
  • The interview took place by phone and was not recorded other than by notes taken at the time.

This is not the place to record comments about the information in the source — those belong in the Notes for the Facts you link to this Source.

You should specify either a Title or a Short Title, or both; the other fields are all optional. We strongly recommend that before you get too far into recording your family history, you think about how you are going to use each of the source fields, or whether you are going to use them at all.

For example, some users put all the information into the Title and use Short Title, Type, and perhaps Custom ID as finding aids, and leave the other ‘Source identifying’ fields unused.  Some users don’t use Repository but use the other fields.

Last update: 07 Oct 2020