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Citations are the foundation on which a good genealogy is built. Without citations a genealogy is just a statement of opinion. TNG follows the citation structure of GEDCOM which is designed to facilitate the quoting of similar sources. This requires some initial forethought.

In TNG, a citation is a reference to an already defined source: the same source may be cited multiple times for multiple individuals, families or events. That is, one source may contain evidence about many different events. For example, a telephone conversation with an Uncle, or a letter from Grandma, may be the source of many names and dates, each with their own separate citation of the same source.

The exact form in which one should structure a citation varies from one person to another - there are many suggestions online if one searches under "citing genealogical sources" or some similar phrase. You are encouraged to use the same Citation 'layout' when making multiple citations of the same source so that the viewer is not confused.

TNG Repository / Source / Citation Sequence

dialogue for entering citations

TNG expects you to follow a sequence before actually citing evidence for some genealogical event:

In practice it is possible to create the source the first time it is used. In the citation popup window that appears when you press the 1.2. button, the first box must be filled in with the code such as S21 which identifies a particular source. If you haven't set up the source you are using, hit the Create button, when another popup appears to enter the source (see below). Otherwise you can hit the Find button and search for and click on the appropriate source.

The entry "Page" in a citation can then be used to give all the information necessary to identify the entry, including year, district or county, page number etc.

The "Reliability" box allows a number from 0 to 3 to be entered which has no predefined significance but is useful to express how sure you are of the relevance of the citation to the event. Thus zero might mean you have no other evidence that this is correct and three might say that you have the documents in your possession and are sure they are relevant.

Creating a Source

dialogue for entering sources

In the add new source dialogue, the Source ID will usually be prefilled with a unique identifier and the only line that must be filled in is the short title. This is what will appear at the bottom of the page the citation is used, together with the Page entry and the actual text.

Note that a source may be something very general, such as the "UK Births, Marriages, Deaths" which stores all UK records since 1837. The long title may be used if necessary.

The pulldown menu for Repository may be used if you want. This is designed to identify the physical place or address at which the data is stored. Unlike sources, this doesn't have a Generate button so you must set it up in the Administration section before use.

Citation Date

When creating a citation to a source, TNG asks you for a 'Citation Date'. There is some uncertainty what this means, since genealogical evidence almost always involves information about the date of an event. Does 'Citation Date' mean:

  1. the date of the original event;
  2. the date the original event was first recorded;
  3. the date the record of an event was requested;
  4. the date you received the record of an event;
  5. the date you cited the record of the event;

The confusion increases when citing Internet sources: what about the (6) date the source was first posted on the Internet, or (7) the date you downloaded it?

One author of this Wiki suggests that "citation date" is equivalent to "date of citation", (5), the date you typed the citation into TNG. However, it's really whatever you choose it to be! - but please make it clear to the reader. For example, this author adds the word "cited on" to the Citation Date so that when a source shows on a TNG page, it reads "cited on Oct 25, 2011" (for example). Others ignore this field altogether.


When using TNG, almost everything you enter into a source or citation definition is displayed to everyone - including casual non-registered viewers ("Guests"). Be very careful that you don't enter any private information, such as the name, gender, age, address, or email of any living persons without their express permission. This includes the titles, author, publisher, page, 'actual text', and 'notes'.

Related Links



Evidence Analysis in FAQ on Board for Certification of Genealogist web site