Help:Source pages


Frequently asked questions

What is a source page?

A source page is a WeRelate wiki page that contains information about a genealogical source. The source wiki contains nearly 1,000,000 source pages for books, online record collections, and microfilms. Source pages can contain links to places where the source can be found ("repositories"), research tips, information on the source's reliability or availability, and any other genealogically useful information. Most source pages do not contain this information yet, so if you know something about a source that will help others, please share! See About source pages for more information.

How do I find a page for a source?

Click on the Search menu in the upper left menu bar and select Sources. Or click on the search button at the upper right and click source on Namespace.
  1. If you know the name of the source you are looking for: enter it in the title, and if there is a author enter it, also a few words from the source's name into the keywords field in the search form. For example, if I were looking for a source entitled "Birth and death register, 1870-1900," I would enter "birth death 1870 1900". If it comes up with a large number then use exact in the upper left corner.
  2. If I wanted to search for certain types of records within a particular website, click on repository on namespace and search for the website.
  3. If you know the domain name of the source: enter the domain name into the keywords field in the search form. For example, if I were looking for, I could enter "OneGreatFamily" or "".
  4. If you are looking for sources for a particular surname or place: enter the surname or place in the surname or place field. You may also want to enter a record type in the keywords field. For example, if I wanted to find birth records in Minnesota, I would enter "Minnesota" in the place field, and enter "birth" in the keywords field.

How do I know if I should create a new source page?

  1. Determine if your source should be cited as MySource or Citation Only (see below). If yes, you should not create a Source page.
  2. Search for the source in the database as described above. If you find nothing similar, create a new page.
  3. Sometimes you may find sources that have the same or similar title as the one you are looking for, but a different author or publication year. Examine these pages (click through to the FHL or Ancestry catalog entry if necessary) and the physical source (if you have it, or check if you can find a scan online) to determine if these pages are really about your source.
  • Many older books have been republished by Genealogical Publishing Company and others in essentially their original form. This is often explained in the front of the book or in the catalog entry. These reprints are cited using the page for the original work.
  • Sometimes the WeRelate page will be different than your record (with a more recent year and a publication place of Salt Lake City) because the record is for a film of the work imported from the FHL catalog. Since the film is identical to the original work, they are both cited using the same Source page. The publication information on the Source page should be that of the original work.
  • Some older books were revised or updated and republished by the author or a relative under the same title. The scope of the revision and whether it is really just a reprint will often be ascertainable in the front of the book, although it is not always clear. The revised edition should have a separate page from the original work, with the year or revision number in parentheses in the page title.
  • Vital record sets present some special problems; as more and more collections come online many will overlap. The general rule is to use the same page when the underlying material, including the years covered, appears to be identical.
  • If you viewed an online transcription of a work that was intended to be verbatim, use the Source page for the underlying source. Add the transcription location to the repository list and, if you think it may be relevant, to your citation.
4. If you can't tell whether the source you want to cite is the same as a page existing in the database already, go ahead and create a new page with as much information as you have. If it is later determined that it is identical to another source page, it can always be merged at a later date (citations to the merged pages will be automatically corrected).

How do I create a new source page?

First off, use Special:Search to see if the source exists already. If it's not there, please add a page for it!


Click on Add at the top of the page, selecting Source heading. A screen comes up with an initial three fields to complete:

1. AUTHOR: Use the format: Lastname, Firstname. Example: French, Robert L. If there are multiple authors, list only the first one. You will have a chance to add additional authors on the next screen. If there is no author, leave this field blank.
2. PLACE: If the source is focused on a geographical location (but without an author), enter the location beginning with the smallest relevant jurisdiction to the country; e.g.:
  • Source:California, United States.
  • Source:Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, United States.
3. TITLE: Enter the title of the source. Omit leading articles (A, An, The). Capitalize key words. Keep the title short. If it's a long title (usually these have a colon (:) or semi-colon (;) in the title), include up to but excluding the colon or semi-colon. (In some cases a comma (,) is used.) You will have a chance to add the remainder of the title in a subtitle field on the next screen. Examples:
  • Death Index, 1940-1997
  • Records of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1638-1925
  • Henry Rice (1717-1818), the Pioneer Tennessee Gristmiller

Once you enter these three fields, click ADD and a subsequent edit page is displayed; fill out all the fields you can and save your work.


An alternative way to create a source is by typing a Source Page Name directly into the text of a given page: [[Source:Name-of-Source]]. When done this way, it is critical to follow the format for Source Page Titles. Please see Help:Source_page_titles for how to properly name Source PAGE titles-- as a Source PAGE title is different than a Source Title.

Is there a format for source page titles?

Once you've created and saved a new Source (as described above), WeRelate creates a Source PAGE title that uses the fields you've entered to create a unique Page Title. See Help:Source page titles for more information about how Source PAGES are named.

How do I edit a source page?

To edit a source page, find the page you want to edit and click on the Edit button near the top of the screen. Source pages belong to the entire community and we encourage everyone to contribute to the source wiki. See Ways to contribute below. When you edit a page, it is a good idea to click on "Show preview" to examine your changes and then on "Save page" to save your changes.

When will my changes start showing up in searches?

Pages are indexed every night, so if you created a new page (or made changes to an existing page), the new page (or new words on the existing page) will start showing up in searches the following day.

How do I tell what changes someone else has made to a source page?

Click on the History link near the top of the screen. This displays a list of all changes made to the page. For each change you can see how the page appeared after the change was made, the date of the change, and who made the change. To see exactly what was changed, click on the two versions of the page you want to compare, followed by Compare selected versions. Here's an example where someone added information about a library's holdings.

What if I want to leave a comment, but don't want to edit the page itself?

You can leave comments about any page on its talk page. Just click on the Talk link at the top of the screen, then click on Add Topic.

What is a MySource?

MySource is a WeRelate term referring to a personal source, having a significance to your specific research, rather than to the community as a whole. For example, your grandmother's birth certificate would be a MySource, while a compilation of birth records for the state of Idaho would be a community source. When you use the informal or unpublished research of others (such as gedcom files, letters or emails, and family trees posted online), that is also a MySource. See About MySources for more information.

How do I know if a source is a community Source or a MySource?

If you want to create a page for a source, as a general rule, the following are MySources:
  • Individual birth, marriage, and death certificates
  • Pension applications or files
  • Wills
  • Obituaries or other articles about one person (may also be cited using the Source page for the periodical)
  • Letters, emails, or message board posts sharing personal history or research
  • Personal genealogy websites
  • Gedcoms or family trees sent to you or downloaded from the internet
  • Transcriptions of individual cemeteries (may be cited using Find A Grave or if therein)
In some of these cases, you may have retrieved the information (say the death certificate) from a compilation that itself has a Source page (like this one). In that case, you can create a MySource to display the document or discuss it; otherwise cite the compilation source.
If your source does not fit in this list, ask yourself if the source would be of interest to someone conducting research on a different line. For example: other researchers might want to know about your grandmother's birth certificate, but if they do, they are working on the same line and can find the certificate easily from your grandmother's person page. A birth certificate is a MySource. However, many different researchers might find a compilation of Idaho birth records useful for work on many different Idahoans in many different family lines. Such a compilation is a community source. Use your best judgment, knowing that any mistake in classification can be easily corrected.
And remember always that if you do not want or need to discuss or reuse the source, you don't need to create a page at all, and can use the Citation Only label when entering the source information on a person or family page.

What is Citation Only?

When entering a source citation, there is a drop-down offering the option to cite a Source, MySource, or Citation Only. Use one of the former two choices if there is a page for what is being cited. Leave the drop-down displaying Citation Only if there is not and does not need to be (for reasons of reuse or discussion) a page for a source. The information there will not be linked to anything.

What happens to the sources in my GEDCOM when I upload it?

By default, any sources that have title fields will be stored as MySources. During the GEDCOM review process, you can (and should) review a list of these MySources and match any books, periodicals, census records, and other similar sources to the appropriate Source page.
If a Source page does not exist, and, according to the guidelines above, you believe one should, you can create one and link it to the appropriate MySource during the review process as well.
If you have information in the "detail" field of your citations in your GEDCOM, that information will be placed in the Volume/Pages field in the source citation on the person and family pages. If you have significant text in this field, it should be cut and pasted into the larger text/transcription field to permit editing.
Whether MySources are created depends on your personal genealogy software and how you use it. Some programs, either by default or user preference, have "free-form" sources that do not have fields and instead are just text. These sources are imported directly onto the pages where they are used as "Citation Only " sources.

General information

Source page titles

See Help:Source page titles. Also see WeRelate talk:Source page titles for background information.

Ways to contribute

If you know something about a source that might be of interest to other researchers, please share it! Here are ways that you can edit a source page to help improve it:

Adding research tips
You can add research tips in the Text box near the bottom of the edit screen. If you add a research tip, please remove the {{source-stub}} marker at the bottom of the page.
Adding coverage information
To add or correct information about what the source covers, edit the following boxes on the edit screen:
  • Surnames: Enter the most important surnames that this source covers, one surname per line.
  • Places: Enter the most important places that this source covers, one place per line.
  • Year range: Enter the year range that this source covers.
The above boxes can be left empty if they do not apply to a specific source.
Adding repositories
Each source contains a section to add where the source can be found. These are called Repositories, and they also have pages on WeRelate. They include physical locations (the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and other large genealogical libraries, archives, etc.), genealogy websites (both paid, like and free, like Rootsweb), websites that include genealogical material, like Google Books, and Family History Center, which denotes sources available through the country through local Family HIstory Centers.
If you know of a location where a source can be found, particularly if it can be found online for free, please add it. Under Repository, begin typing the name of the location or website. Available repositories listed in the system will appear in a drop-down menu. (You can also use Search to find a repository and copy the name.) In the location field, enter the URL where the source or a catalog entry for it can be found. If you know only that the source can be found at the location, enter "hard copy available" or whatever notation will help others understand the availability. Then chose the type of repository from the drop-down menu.
Tagging non-genealogy sources for removal
To create the source pages, we downloaded nearly the entire Family History Library catalog. Some of the titles that our crawler chose are not really relevant to genealogy. If you find a source that is not relevant to genealogy, please edit the source page and add the text {{Speedy Delete|your reason}} and we'll review the source and remove it.


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