How to change citation name to existing citation?

Background. I think of sourcing as two parts. Master source to document the artifact, and Citation to document person specifics such as research material, comments, and an image which contains the person’s name and associated details. “Source” means both parts, Citation does not mean both parts. A lot of the text i see in the forum uses these words interchangeably making if very confusing at time. If i have this materially wrong, please advise. With that definition:
I accidentally merged a few citations (10) and now want to split them back out. When creating a new citation RM8 offers “Select existing Citation” and all the links work. I need to change the source name in people view, to an existing Citation, but it appears to be impossible. My question is, how to change a citation name to an existing citation so all the links and references work?

I don’t think you can change an existing citation so all the links work. I think you will need to create a new citation that is correct. Then link it to where the links exist for the citation that is incorrect and finally unlink the citations that are incorrect.

I’m not sure I totally follow your sourcing model. For example, Evidence Explained provides a methodology for creating a complete footnote sentence. The footnote sentence is a reference to the exhibit or to the artifact or whatever you wish to call it. The best I can tell, there is nothing in Evidence Explained that breaks the footnote sentence into two parts called source and citation. Similarly, nearly all Web sites these days that host genealogical data will provide you with a completed footnote sentence that is designed simply to be copied from the site and then posted into your genealogy software. And if you do your genealogy online at places like Ancestry and FamilySearch, they don’t even bother with the footnote sentence at all as long as you stay on the site. They just link directly from the exhibit or artifact directly to the fact or event for which the exhibit or artifact provides evidence. You can get a completed Footnote sentence from Ancestry and FamilySearch, but that’s not core to the way they work.

The problem is that neither GEDCOM nor RM any of RM’s competitors work with the complete footnote sentence model. Their model rather is to break the information from the footnote sentence into two parts. In GEDCOM, the two parts are called SOUR and PAGE. In RM, the two parts are called Master Source and Citation. RM’s competitors all seem to work in the same way, perhaps due to the influence of the GEDCOM model. That leaves you with the question of what to do with a complete footnote sentence. Do you have to figure out how to break it into two parts so that software that works with this two part model can put it back together again?

I think it’s time to change the model, but there is enormous inertia with GEDCOM and all the other desktop software that works with the two part model.

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See page 42 of EE, 3rd Edition Revised where the statement is made: “The term citation is not synonymous with the source, and the two should not be used interchangeably.” I believe Source is the bibliography (Source list, pg 43), entry not the footnote. Elizabeth Shown Mills equates, Reference notes (major form of citation) to the footnote. (also pg 43).

Many thanks for your timely response! I do understand that attaching images to the citation, as RM8 wants us to do, negates the need for primary source footnoting and other detail in the citation itself. Also understand some folks create their own templates and combine the fields into one template. I have not started doing that but have considered it. I do attach images to everything I can, it’s much faster than entering all that detail. Research notes come in handy to identify and comment on errors in the artifact. Do use the footnoting procedure when I don’t have an image.

Let me try again.

I was not referring to the footnotes in the Master source or the citation but rather sourcing being a master source to document the artifact, which is footnoting, to the degree of which does very some, and the accompanying citation which provides the detail, each part needing a name. If footnoting an 1850 census report, when the book changes have another primary source because the footnotes are different. On the census citations, on a family, I usually use the fathers name as: year/Census/surname/first name/middle with birth date and or location to keep it unique. Then I use the same citation for all the people in the family.

Hope this makes sense and i would welcome your input.

Again, thanks for answering the citation naming question.

I really like your responses in the community forum. Your very knowledgeable and articulate. Many thanks for what you do!

Thank you! I had concluded the same but was hoping i was missing something. Sincerely appreciate your help.

Don’t have my book with me right now. Will respond in a few days. Thank you!

I have the first edition of EE, but essentially the same information is on essentially the same pages as you mention for the third edition. Mills certainly distinguishes footnote sentences from bibliographic sentences, and it is correct that RM’s source templates usually (maybe always) map master source data to the bibliographic sentence and map the combined master source + citation data to the footnote sentence. I believe your statement that “Source is the bibliography” is the key insight.

Your note is very useful and much appreciated. I hadn’t looked at EE in a long time. I think I need to think about this a while before responding further.

There is a very good discussion on the Evidence Explained Forum, “Citation Issues” regarding the “Source” and the “Citation” that has really helped me understand how to develop appropriate footnotes. The following is a quote from the forum written by Elizabeth Shown Mills that may help clarify things. I find the EE site extremely useful in writing citations. The website is:

And the detail discussed URL is:

" Re the “citation details” label in RootsMagic: this label is a holdover from the days (pre RootsMagic) when its genre of software was created by engineers who did not have a clear understanding of the difference between a source (the entity from which we get our information) and a citation (the sentence in which we identify our source). Everything we put into our citation to the source is a “detail” that identifies that source.

From the perspective of those who created this genre of software (in very simplified terms): They recognized that many sources would be used over and over again, with only a tweak in the page number, volume number, act number, folder number, film number, or other specific item. Therefore, they created a framework that bifurcated the citation into two parts:

  • the details about the source that would not change, which they called “master source”;
  • the details about the source that could change from one citation to another, which they called “citation detail.”

RootsMagic (and some other genealogical software) still uses the misleading term “citation detail” for the page or " specific item " field—i.e., the field of the citation in which we say specifically where in the source we find that piece of information."