Quality of Citation

Maybe it is just me, But when I paste a citation such as SS, it goes with the name, birth and death of the person. Yet, when I copy the citation, when it gets pasted, I have to re-enter the quality of the source. That’s 3 extra clicks on every past. Do that with a census of a household of 10 people and you start cussing, pretty quickly. HELP

1 Like

The quality of each fact might be different even if the source is the same for each different fact.

1 Like

Is there a way to override? Doesn’t seem to matter if I copy or Reuse. That is a huge pain in the a$$

You know cweese, the more I think about what you said, the more I tend to agree. Immigration manifest is accurate on arrival date but birth may not be. I guess RM7 allowed me to be lazy. Thanks for showing something new :grinning:

1 Like

. Citation quality (Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary) not only varies for each fact or person being documented, but the designation seems both subjective and arbitrary.
. In addition, since that info is NEVER available in reports, I consider a pure waste of time to make & document those decisions.

Excellent point. Social Security indexes come to mind. I label birth and death as secondary but others may not. However, my point was, using SS as an example: If I label it secondary/indirect for the record, I believe it would be identical for the birth and death. Hence, quality should be able to be copied,If one wishes, they could manually change it.

1 Like

I am manually entering a few well documented and sourced family trees which contain birth, death, marriage certificates etc. Having to re-enter the source quality each and every time I enter a piece of data from these books (which contain about 1000+ people per book (x4) and 10’s of thousands of individual facts…) is quite time consuming. Has anyone found a simpler way? In my most humble opinion, once the quality of a source and/or a citation has been documented it should be saved that way. I understand what others have written about the same source not necessarily being as supportive to an additional fact quite as accurately however the “default” should be saved as originally entered and then altered for the exceptions.

It may not be a waste of time if you use that information later in your research when new evidence comes to light. This type of information is essential in developing a solid Genealogical Proof which is what serious genealogical researchers are attempting to do. Granted, most name collectors aren’t interested in doing that, so it would be a waste of time for them.

Consider a census document.
The birth date for the head of household (husband) and wife is probably secondary, because neither of them were able to witness the event as it happened. It might be primary if one of their parents is in the house.
The birth dates of their children are probably primary because the wife was definitely there when the event happened.
Places of birth for the husband and wife’s parents would be secondary.
Of course all this changes if it was a neighbor who gave the enumerator the info. And we have no way of knowing who actually supplied the information.

I think it would be fair to advise you that I come from a software sales and development background, and I understand what you are saying.

What I have done is attached a source to the name of each person mentioned in the document/source. That document supports that persons NAME…amongst many other things, however I am using the source notation to support the individuals presence in the document so the quality of the source would always remain the same for each.

After manually entering each person I did an “Add this Citation to Multiple People” to support each persons presence thinking it would keep the quality of the citation across the board, and now I need to go through 1,500 people to re-verify the quality. That’s A LOT of tedious work.

This is useless feature if I need to go back and make alterations. I wish had known that before…


Oh I should also mention that since I need to go back and update/alter each citation, it would be helpful if there was a dynamic link to the individuals where the citation is used…this would at least make it easier to access…


I have always entered quality values in RM7, but the tedium involved with doing so in RM8 has me reconsidering. Your census example is a very good one. Even without looking at any specific census record you may be referencing, I am aware of all of the quality information you outline in your post. If I’m evaluating someone else’s research, I will make my own source quality assessments. As has been pointed out in this discussion, quality assessments are rather arbitrary. Thus the three values I may set are obvious to me and probably carry very little weight with anyone else.

As for solid Genealogical Proof, if I ever need that level of formality, the three quality settings in RM are probably irrelevant. But if they are, they can be assigned to well-documented sources after the fact. The relevance of the source is not going to change from the time I initially record it until the time I cite it in a proof argument. If the quality of the source is subject to change over time, then that is all the more reason to qualify the source at the time of writing instead of the time of recording it. If the quality/relevance of the source is at all questionable, it would be incumbent on the writer to include arguments for the quality of their source as part of their Proof Statement, regardless of what three values might have been arbitrarily assigned at the time the source was recorded.

Likewise, if the quality/relevance of a source is less than obvious, that information would need to be documented as part of the source. Checking off three values does not qualify as justification of the veracity of the source, not even remotely.

I stopped entering fact quality. I consider it a waste and other people never see it. Ancestry, Geneanet and other sites don’t show quality. There should be a way of turning it off. When ems wrote about quality it was just introducing another bloat. Turn it off.

It’s not a waste of time if it helps you evaluate sources and citations that you may have entered quite a while ago, saving you a lot of re-research time. Also, if you uncover conflicting evidence, it might help you to quickly evaluate the veracity of the original source you found without going back to the original documents, which you’d probably want to do any way.

Nevertheless, most serious genealogists follow the guidelines outlined for the Genealogical Proof Standard, so it would be necessary for that.

Just because Ancestry doesn’t regard it as valuable is no reason not to record it for your own use. There are a lot of things that Ancestry doesn’t regard as valuable that you might want to do. But you have to realize that Ancestry’s business model is to make money by selling subscriptions, not to instill solid genealogical research methodology into their customers.

So enter it, or not. It’s entirely up to you.

1 Like

I am sorry to say but after researching for over 30 years I have never seen an instance where quality ever showed and that includes register format books. I will discuss it till I am blue I the face. Quality never shows up in any tree. Even the trees I have posted on the internet and in books. It only increases the size of a program and database. It should be an option not a necessity.

Of course citation quality, as a value, doesn’t show up in any tree or register-style report. Those formats are not designed to include that data.

The use of citation quality is meant to be an aid in research. There is a lot of genealogical data that does not fit, and is not meant to fit, into trees and register-style reports but is extremely useful in building a Genealogical Proof Statement.

I refer you to:

  • “Genealogical Proof Standard” by Christine Rose,
  • “The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual” by The Board for Certification of Genealogists
  • “Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians” by Elizabeth Shown Mills, and
  • “The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy” by Val Greenwood.

I’m sure that you will have several of these titles in your personal genealogy reference library.

1 Like

On top of what @Rwcrooks listed, I would also suggest “Mastering Genealogical Proof” by Thomas W. Jones.

1 Like


I’ve been thinking about citation quality and would like you to consider the following scenario …

You go to the doctor and he tells you that you have an uncommon blood disease but not to worry because he just read a study that discussed possible cures for the disease. But then he says that he’s not sure if he read the original study or just what someone who read the study later wrote.
QUESTION: Is it important for you to know whether the study the doctor read was the original or a derivative?

Then you ask the doctor if he knows who wrote whatever it was he read. He replies that he’s not certain if the author was actually involved in the research or just heard about it somehow or other.
QUESTION: Is it important for you to know whether the source of the information is primary (first-hand) knowledge or secondary (heard it through the grapevine) knowledge?

Finally, you ask the doctor if the study gives a direct path to the cure. He replies that if isn’t direct, it will probably have some other clues and we can try different things until we find what works.
QUESTION: Is it important for you to know whether there is a direct answer to the issue?

If you can answer NO to these questions, citation quality in RM will be of little use to you. And, if it’s just too much trouble for you to enter it, by all means don’t.

I read original documents. I use sources and citations. When I post to a website via gedcom those sources and citations go along with the fact. People who read the facts on my tree see it. They don’t see the fact quality ever because a gedcom doesn’t export quality. I don’t think my quality does no good because I show directly the quality. All the quality of fact does is add a step that is not needed because nobody else will see it. Your analogy doesn’t work.

So, what did you think of the reference books that @kfunk and I recommended?