Method 1 'source splitters' mode


There are essentially two methods of adding Source Citations:

  • Method 1 'source splitters' mode where each specific document has its own Source record
  • Method 2 'source lumpers' mode where an entire class of documents has one Source record

There is no one Method that need be applied universally to any Project. It is the Source Citation details that determine which Method is most appropriate for each Source Document, so some will be better suited to Method 1 and others to Method 2. It is common to find both Methods used in a Project.

The overriding consideration is to avoid duplicated Source Citation data in the Project database. Thus the criteria for preferring Method 1 over Method 2 are quite simple:

  • Do you want to attach Source Document Media images to the Source Citation?
  • Do you want to keep a Text From Source transcript of the Source Document?
  • Is it likely that this type of Source Document will have multiple Source Citations for one reference?

The more Yes answers suggest that Method 1 is a better alternative as explained below.

Whichever Method is chosen, it is advisable to investigate the impact on Reports, Diagrams, Queries, and other features you anticipate using, before committing all Source Citations to that Method.

It is important to ensure multiple Citations for any one reference are identical as far as the details included in a Report are concerned to avoid multiple Ibid. entries in the Sources section. That is easy to achieve with Method 1 because the Citations are mostly empty.


Typically, using Method 1, each Source record will be associated with one specific document such as a Birth, Marriage, or Death Certificate, a Parish Record, or a Census entry. So there may be many more Source records than with Method 2, but that is not a problem for fh to manage.

In the Family Historian Sample Project of fh V6 consider Thomas Smith MUNRO [80].
In his Property Box the 7 Apr 1871 Census fact cites Source record Census: 1871 Scotland RG99-12345-342 - Munro.
(See the Variants section below for alternative record naming strategies.)
Also his Birth fact, his Name, and his whole record all cite that same Source record.
(Note that the Citation fields Where within Source and Text From Source are empty.) Thomas Smith MUNRO [80] Property Box If either highlighted Show Media button is clicked the Source Record Media image can be shown.
(Note that there is no Citation Media image.) Show Source Record Media Close that window and click the big blue right-pointing arrow Go To Source Record button to view the Source record with its Text From Source transcript and Media tab image for the Arthur Munro household. Source Record Click the highlighted Go To Record button with red arrow to select the Source record in the Records Window.
To the right in the Citations column there are 12 Citations identified.
Now use View > Record Links to see the four Individuals who cite that Source with multiple Links.
To see the full details of all 12 Citations use the Where Used Record Links Plugin. Where Used Record Links Result Set

Many types of Source Document similarly have multiple Source Citations. A Birth Certificate will naturally be cited by the person's Birth event, but also by their Name, and their parents' Name, Residence and Occupation. A Marriage Certificate will naturally be cited by the couple's Marriage event, but also by their fathers' Names and Occupations, and the Names of the Witnesses. Such documents may need a Media image and Text From Source transcript, so Method 1 is most applicable.


In the above example the Media image and Text From Source is only held in one record, and all Citations are empty, so there is no duplication of data, and if anything needs updating it is all in the one Source record.

If Method 2 were used there would be one global Source record for the 1871 Census as a whole, rather than a separate Source record for each household as for the Arthur Munro household above. So the Media image and Text From Source would have to be repeated in all 12 Citations. If anything needs updating then all 12 copies will have to be edited by hand. If those copies are not repeated carefully, then it can lead to multiple Source Citations in Reports.

Some other genealogy products do not follow the GEDCOM Source Citation model as closely as fh and only have one copy of each distinct Citation, which avoids the above problem of duplicated data within their database. However, when exported using GEDCOM each distinct Citation must be replicated wherever it applies. Thus when such data is imported into fh there may be many Method 2 duplicated Citations with local Media and Where within Source, Text From Source & Note entries.


In the example above the Source record might be better named Census: 1871 Scotland RG99-12345-342 - Munro, Arthur to differentiate it from other Munro households that might appear on that same Census page. Alternatively, it could use the Schedule number assigned to each household.

However, the Media record & image for that Census page would not need those suffixes, and can be shared by multiple Source records.

To highlight the household within the Census page, the Media tab Link to Detail button allows a frame to be drawn around their entry, so that 'cropped' section appears in Reports.

If the household entry spans adjacent Census pages, then each Media record & image for those pages can be linked to the one Source record Media tab. Alternatively, each Census page can be held as a separate Source record with appropriate adjustments to other fields.

Similar variants may apply to other types of source document such as Passenger Lists, Wills and Probate, Newspaper articles, Military records, etc.