How to Source and Cite Pictures

How do you source pictures in RootsMagic8? I viewed two webinars Picture and Media and Sources, Citations and Documentation in RootsMagic8 but could not find how to source pictures. I believe Michael Booth did say they will cover this in a later webinar.

Could anyone please give me some examples on how this is done. Thanks.


Source and cite anything the same way with a trail of breadcrumbs that lead back to that item. First decide how you want to organize documents, pdfs and jpgs and name items accordingly. I use family folders (smith john jones mary) with media as smith john or Jones Mary birth…death…census 1921…etc).

I am not certain as to what genealogical data you can extract from a photograph, unless it has written information on the back but if you need a source template, you might want to look at the Artifact templates. There is one for ‘Artifact, privately held’ and another ‘Artifact, family, photographed’ that could work if you don’t like the templates provided for photos. In general, I use ‘Photo, Portrait, Private scanned’ for mine (but only if they have written information as I don’t consider a plain photo as a source).

ESM covers things like this nicely in Evidence Explained.

All the photos sent to me are from cousins and aunts. They can identify the people in the photo but cannot tell who took the picture or the year the pictures were taken. After checking the book Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills and the MLA Centre, I have limited information to Source or Cite the photos. The suggestion by the MLA Centre is to use the following:

Photo Collection of name of aunt or cousin, City/Town, Country.


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So in this case, the picture still isn’t a source. Your cousins and aunts are the source. No matter how you look at it, the photo gives you precisely no information. However if you need a to enter it as a source, for some reason, then try the built in ‘Photo, Portrait, Archived’ template. You know the subject, thanks to the aunts and cousins. You can figure out the ‘Type’ such as portrait, family etc. Since you don’t know the date, you enter ‘n.d.’ which in citation speak means no date. The Repository and Repository location can be filled in with the photo collection bits that you mention above.

Great suggestions. I will follow through on this and see if I can make this work.


I add lots of photos to my database. They’re the best part.
What I do is create a Photo fact, attach the photo to that fact and then add sources to the fact. I also attach the photo to the source/citation.
Attaching the photo to a fact allows assignment of a date and place to organize the photo in the timeline.

My goal is to document who identified the people in the photo. For me, that’s much more important than who took the photo, etc., but I certainly include that info if I have it.
A new idea to to include images of government issued picture ID cards- drivers license, passport etc. That would take care of associating a person to an image.

I make sure that the person’s RM profile image is also attached to a Photo fact, so it too is documented.

For RM8, we still have to clip photos for the profile photo. I make sure to include the original and the clippings in the photo fact.

I have to say, that photos from my immediate family are easy; photos downloaded from the web are really hard to document. Most times, all I can say is where it came from, but the identifying data is unknown. I write that uncertainty down as well.

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Beware of names and dates on photos. My mother often used to change them when received from others. One old photo of an elderly lady had been passed around the family and had several names ascribed to her. Some people write names on back left to right and my mother put names behind the person. Can work this out in some cases but if all male or female then can be difficult to know which method used . Also check dates to find out if the photo could have had the people named. We had a 1930’s wedding group photo nicely dated and labelled. BUT the main older people in the group had died 2 years earlier. Wrong wedding. Also images from web often have wrong person image for someone I know is also in My family. They see a photo with a name and assume it is “their” family person. It may not be. And others copy. Richard in dark England

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You are correct in what you stated about family photos. After checking through the photos, I believe there is one with the incorrect name on the back. I cannot be sure if it is the mother or daughter since they both look a like. I will have to use the name my aunt provided.

However, I do not have many family photos, but I am thankful for the photos I have received.


I agree a photo is not a source to a fact unless other info is available, usually on the back of the photo.
I have a different take on this question. I want to document the source of the photo. Document where the photo came from. Where in RM8 can i do that or is there another photo management software that can provide this. Creating a companion word document for each photo is not a good solution.

In the Media Gallery, if you open a photo for editing there is a Description Field. Clicking on the Description Field opens a Note Editor that can be used to store information.

Many thanks for your prompt and accurate response! Have a great day.

You could also tag the media to a Task and add more information on it there.

I certainly would not include any official document images. Identity theft is too high already and anything that identifies a person could be used for many other unlawful activities.
I do not include any photos etc of living or recently dead or any other details (mark as living even if died within last 10 years ). Richard in too hot England