Posted by Kenny Freestone on July 15, 2010 in Website

You’ve likely heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to creating source citations in your family tree, it is so true.

We have recently added the ability to associate pictures and scanned documents to source citations you have created in your family tree:

These items not only add color and interest to your work, but also help to document your work and show off your evidence and sources.

Here is how it can work for you.  Say you have an event in your timeline that doesn’t have a source.  In this case I have an “illness” event in my timeline for John Kennedy.



I can select a media file I’ve uploaded, and use that to create a source citation for this event.

The image then becomes the beginning of a source citation that I can apply to the “illness” event on my timeline.

Then when others look to see how I know this information about John Kennedy, they will see the scanned image I uploaded.  You can also add media to the source citation directly from this page.

An additional change we made is to show all source citations on the overview section of the person profile, rather than just the attached historical records from  The goal with this change is to make it more clear what evidence supports the facts in the timeline.  We’ve received some early feedback on this that raises concerns on the implementation, and so we are reviewing this section and will update you on changes we make to it.

Also a few folks have mentioned that URLs in sources are not working as they were before–we are now aware of this bug and are working on a fix.



  1. BrklynBridge


    “…URLs in sources are not working as they were before…”

    I HOPE you are refering to source URL’s not being hyperlinked and not the problem with certain URL’s being rejected.

    Not hyperlinking source links is just unfathomable.

  2. BrklynBridge

    Thanks Kenny…that’s encouraging…and I hope those god-awful-looking URL’s can be abbreviated like they are in the forum. That works pretty well.

  3. Monika

    This may not be the “improvements” you are discussing but…Who dreamed up this new horrible “source citation” format on the profile sheets? Now we are back again to have to “click” and “click” and “click”, hust to get to the Census record which we were able to get to in one click before. Why can’t leave some things alone and fix things that really need to be fixed. E.g., for MONTHS now, on (the German ancestry site), your program does not accept the months being written in German. It keeps saying that such months do not exist. Don’t create a German ancestry site, if your software people are not smart enough to realize that people are going to be writing in German on those sites. I was told weeks ago that this would be fixed, but, as of last night, your computer programmers were not smart enough to fix that. But, here you have to come up with a “cutsie” format change to look at a Census record. I love for many reasons, but I hate your programmears sick need to fix what is not broken and not fix what is!

  4. BEE

    I hope someone is still checking the posts on:
    “Updated new search homepage, place pages, recent searches & recently viewed collections”

  5. Bee Re:#8

    I let Laura know last night about the “Read More” link being missing from her latest Blog article.

    You can still read it and post to it if you click the link to it that is in the “Latest Blog Articles” on your home page.

  6. BEE

    Hi Andy, I had no problem finding the blog, I was just wondering if someone was still monitoring it, and paying attention to the posts about “Source Citation”. Since Laura replied to #50, it appears that she is reading the posts, so that’s a good thing!
    I just checked my trees and the problem I wrote about persists: “I don’t know what is going on. I’m trying to view a 1910 {or 20, or 30} census from the “Source Citation”, and it keeps bringing up the 1880 census!”
    Is it just me, or are others having the same problem?

  7. Bee Re:#10

    When you say “view from the Source Citation” which Source Citation link are you using?

    1). The one in the timeline across from the Time
    line event name?

    2). The one under the “Source Citations” box in the sidebar?

    3). The one on the second page after you click the one in the sidebar?

    4). The View Image Button on the second page?

    Try each one and see if the results are different. That may be a clue as to what the problem is.

  8. BEE

    Thanks for your help Andy – lol! NEVER thought to scroll down to see that every document is now shown on a second page! but instead of going right to the record, there is still an extra “click”.
    Yes, I can go right to the individual records by clicking on the Timeline list. Oh well, live and learn! :-[

  9. Jim Hughes

    I like it. After adding photo’s to some of the timelines it makes the profile so much more interesting to read as well as view. Now I have to get pictures of some residences and Churchs.

  10. Marg

    Is there a way to store in alphabetical or date order photos and documents saved to the Media Gallery? If not, would you please consider making this change? No information is available in search support.

    Source Citations Change: We understand how to source our evidence, so I am not impressed with the redundant changes to Source Citations. And there’s the new glitch of unwanted added steps, for example, when you select 1930 US Federal Census, you get the entire source citations page where you can happily scroll through all sources, find your selection, now you can open it. If this is a permanent change to source citations, please use a smaller font. My source citation preference is the compact source citations list alongside the Timeline Event.

  11. have added media to a Marriage Fact, and it appears only on the husband’s page. i thought it would appear on both husband & wife’s Marriage Fact.

    are you going to tell me i have to attach the image also to the wife’s profile and then select it as media on her marriage fact? well, i’m not gonna do that.

    when i save a marriage source citation, the source is placed to both husband & wife Marriage Fact. even the census does this automatically.
    Ancestry, wouldn’t you want the same thing to happen with media?

  12. Baker,

    Remember, when you are adding Media your are adding it for the event in that person’s timeline, not to the event as a whole.

    In the case of a marriage I can see adding a media file that shows the Bride and her bridesmaids to her marriage event and a media file showing the Groom and his groomsmen to his event. If you had only a picture of the bride and added it to her marriage event would you really want that picture showing in his timeline as well?

  13. Sonya Russell

    May I ask two questions?

    What about media/citations we’ve already entered? For example, I have already uploaded a lot of birth certificates are images and also added the citation/source… do I have to delete the ones I’ve already done and restart the process, or is there some way of linking the images with the citations already in my tree?

    What about media that isn’t photos? For example, a lot of Australia’s military records are quite long so I turn them into pdfs… can you create a citation from a non-image media file?

    With thanks,


  14. Sonya Russell

    I should second Jeff’s comment – this is a great idea Kenny. With thanks to you and your team.
    (Oh how I wish it had been put in place 6 months ago when I first started though so I didn’t now have to go over all my inputted citations and match them up to their matching media files)

  15. Andy Hatchett @16, thanks Andy, with your rationale i can concede to your logic.

    wishing to continue discussion for a brief moment, about the specific fact “Marriage” as it is the only fact that i have used which links two people together for the marriage event.

    if there were a photo of the groom & his groomsmen, maybe those photos would be more properly placed on an individual Fact such as Wedding Reception, or Rehearsal Dinner, or for the bride a Bridal Shower, or events that occurred on honeymoon, etc. as a separate Fact on each person’s profile.

    BUT…then again…i so see, as i am sure you see too, as wide a variety of documentation methods as there are people researching. Peace. Diane

  16. Barker Re:#21

    But suppose those pictures weren’t taken at a Wedding reception,Rehearsal Dinner, or Bridal Shower but at the actual wedding ceremony?


  17. DannieB

    Agree with Baker comment #2, the distortion/stretching of an image is annoying. I find it only happens for me with a very small newspaper clipping.

  18. Brklyn Bridge


    Another major problem with the new citation format is the lack of formatting capability for the “note” entries. Anything entered there now gets jumbled together without even recognizing paragraph breaks.

    As the “actual text” block recognizes paragraph formatting already, hopefully this won’t be a big deal in implementing it for the “notes” block as well.

  19. Jade

    Now I can’t edit Source Citations on the SOURCE CITATIONS page under the FACTS AND SOURCES tab. This is the page with list of Source Citations that is also linked to from the Tree person Overview page right sidebar.

    The Edit Citation links are gone.

    The only remaining links are “View Record” and “View Image”, the text no longer wraps, and the table height has been increased by about 30 carriage returns per Citation.

    What gives, people, this is all backwards.

  20. Jade

    Links to individual source-citation page, from the full-list source citation page, have been restored.

    Thank you.

  21. Shirley Waldera

    The media from changing family tree over the years and not bringing the media over at the same time now has all the pictures with the wrong people. Isthere an easy fix for this where I don’t have to delete each one and put it back in?


  22. Jade

    I guess some will be happy that now the Individual Overview sidebar list of sources shows when Trees are sources.

    But with rollout of the 15 July changes to the source and source-citation listings in Member Trees, you have begun promulgating a lie.

    Under the heading of type of Tree items copied to some individual’s profile you say “X citations provide evidence for (name here).”

    This is simply false.

    In nearly every case this copied tree stuff is there for the very reason that the clickophile ~does not have evidence~ for what is asserted — copies of “stories” (most of which are significantly or wholly untrue) and photos excepted.

    Repeat: tree stuff is copied due to lack of evidence. Not ~as~ evidence.

    Extremely few trees contain references to any evidence at all.

    You really should change the wording of this disingenuous false assertion in the Source Citation listing.

    It should say something like “Trees contain assertions about (name here).”

  23. Jade: Re #28

    Absolutely, Positively, Correct!

    In the past we’ve all seen instances of Ancestry’s sloppy use of language (think “census substitute”, etc) which has been, at times, somewhat more than misleading but this one outdoes them all!

    I wonder if Ancestry is trying to promote trees from being merely hints to being actual evidence?

    If so, then color me out of here for good!

  24. Jade

    #29 (Andy), #30 (Virginia)–

    I suspect these folks have been reading the AncestryInsider blog. The blogger there, a former employee of and now employed within the LDS enterprise, has been constructing a model for handling genealogical data for software developers.

    He has been trying to develop a model relevant for both LDS’ “newFamilySearch Tree” as well as for

    Both tree setups have the same sorts of major flaws, principally that neither one is mainly based on evidence.

    The “newFamilySearch” genealogical entries are based mostly on, as AI said in June, 2010 (“Close But No Cigar”):

    ” . . . oodles of worthless, source-less, secondary informational, derivative sources: Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File, and user-submissions to the International Genealogical Index.”

    The trees are based on the same plus additional genealojunk (such other trees, sundry genealogies, assertions on various websites, queries in newsletters).

    The LDS newFamilySearch enterprise is having a hard time acknowledging and coping with the flaws in its database. Attempts to implement ways to make evidence-based corrections and flag major mistakes have not been notably successful thus far. Some users have reported that they have made corrections only to have others immediately come along and change it back. I can’t comment on the evidentiary basis for any changes made, the point is that the newFamilySearch tree setup is an error-jammed database combined with a wiki approach., on the other hand, has been nibbling around the edges regarding data-handling, most recently in the area of improving some elements of its source-citation setup. I don’t know if the changes are more suited to gedcom v.5 formatting.

  25. The AI guy is a hoot- but I digress 🙂

    I’ve been following his thing about evidence and really hope some software developer (namely WholleyGenes) grabs the idea and runs with it.

  26. Jesse

    I appreciate all of these new ways to integrate images into the tree.

    However, PLEASE implement some sort of folder system!

    When my family wants to look at photographs of ancestors, not only do they have to go through people on the other side of the family, but hundreds of document scans as well. Please give us a way to sort the images into folders, it would make things so much easier and is WAY OVERDUE.

    This is such a basic feature I am surprised it is not already in place. Especially when you have the option to upload hundreds of photos at once, it’s a little ridiculous to just throw them all into the same spot.

  27. Jade

    Yay, thank you Kenny and team for restoring links to sources on Person Overview page right sidebar (instead of all being link to Source Citation Page).

    But now the source description on the individual Event page does not link to anything. It was handy for that sector to link to where one could edit the Source Citation. And it was very handy to be able to delete a particular Source Citation link to a given Event.

    Can these features be restored, please?


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