At the virtual RootsTech Conference last year, I learned about a new tool for creating source citations called Cite-Builder.com. The program helps you create citations in the Evidence Explained style and also has options to use additional styles.. The tool asks you to select which type of source you’re using, then has a form where you type in details about the source, like person’s name, birth date, registration year, volume number, etc.
Cite-Builder was created by Jenny and Andy Joyce. Jenny Joyce is a professional genealogist and speaker in Australia. I was happy to see Jenny and Andy at their RootsTech booth today!
The citation templates for Australian and British records are really great, and they have many U.S. templates as well. The site has a free version and a paid version. The premium version costs AUD 20 per year, about 10 GPB or USD $15. In the videos, linked below, there are explanations of the free and premium services. The main premium features are the personal templates, favorites, and rules search. The rules search helps you find templates rather than going through the overarching categories and drilling down.
To learn the basics of Cite-Builder, you can watch instructional videos here: https://cite-builder.com/videos/, or go to their user guide here: https://cite-builder.com/userguide.htm.
Birth Certificate from England and Wales GRO
Let’s try using Cite-Builder. I want to cite a birth certificate from England & Wales GRO (General Register’s Office). Several years ago, I obtained my third-great-grandmother’s birth certificate from 1841 and have already written a source citation following the Evidence Explained model. I want to see how similar my citation is to the one generated by Cite-Builder.
This certificate is protected under the Crown Copyright. It’s reproduction here is allowed under their Open Government Licence as discussed here: Open Government Licence and here: Reproduction of birth, death, and marriage certificates.
To get to the appropriate form in Cite-Builder, first I selected the broad category of Civil Births, Marriages, & Deaths. Then I chose UK & Ireland > Births > Birth Cert England & Wales GRO (Certified) (1837-1983). There was a separate form for births after 1984.
In the screenshot above, you can see how I entered the details. The citation that was generated was very similar to my own citation.
England, birth certificate (certified copy of an entry of birth) for Sarah Miller, born 1 July 1841; registered September quarter 1841, Boston District 14/252, Swineshead Sub-district, Lincoln; General Register Office, Southport.
England, birth certificate (certified copy) for Sarah Miller, born 01 July 1841; registered September quarter 1841, Boston District 14 252; General Register Office, Southport.
As you can see, there a just a few slight differences that aren’t a big deal. One difference is the slash used between the volume and page number, which I would probably add in. I would also probably remove the 0 in 01 July 1841. In my citation, I had added the subdistrict, because I felt that was helpful information for readers to see that the birth was registered in Swineshead, where Sarah resided in her early years.
One of the benefits of Cite-Builder is that it generates a shortened citation for subsequent footnotes in a report or article, which is sometimes tedious to figure out. It also generates a source list or bibliographic entry to include in a source list. The shortened citation for this citation is:
England, birth certificate (certified copy), Sarah Miller, September quarter 1841, Boston District 14 252.
The shortened citation removes the birth date and the repository information, since readers will already have read that information in the first footnote. Shortened citation are meant to remind readers what the citation is for without having to give all the details again.
United States Probate in a Bound Volume
Cite-Builder is still building its set of forms for various record types. One record type that I use often is probate records, so I gave that a try. I chose teh broad category of Wills, Probate & Administration, then United States, then Bound Volume.
Jefferson County, New York, Record of Wills 20:229-232, Daniel Arnold, 24 June 1881; image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYCJ-KVP : accessed 19 Nov 2020).
Jefferson County, New York, Record of Wills 20: 229-232, Daniel Arnold, 1881; Surrogate’s Court, Watertown, New York.
I wasn’t sure what the questions were looking for at first, since the wills aren’t numbered in U.S. books, but I quickly figured out that the will number was supposed to be the page numbers. I’m sure there will be more citation formats for viewing images of probate records online soon. There are options for building citations for newspapers articles viewed online, as well as monumental inscriptions / headstones online, and more.
Cite-Builder is constantly adding new citation templates to help you with your specific source types. You can provide feedback and suggestions as well! A great way to do this is to join their Facebook group. The name of the group is Cite–Builder Users and the link is https://www.facebook.com/
I have been using Cite Builder for about a year now, especially for newspaper citations when I’m writing a blog post. My favourite feature is the variety of citation styles.