Source Citation Trick for – HTML Code

About three-quarter of the way through Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks I wrote How I write my 52 Ancestors posts in 4 easy lessons. It was my first year blogging and I didn’t cite my sources at the end of the articles.

I’ve learned so much since then. Some of my favorite Facebook groups have pushed me to slowly revamp my research habits and improve the articles I write for this blog:

I also have wonderful readers and followers who leave comments like these:

How do you do your citations? Do you have a plug-in? ~ Amberly Petersen Beck of The Genealogy Girl

Does your blog provider give you the great footnote functionality? You’ve got a very polished citation game in place, and I’m envious! ~ Michael Dyer of Family Sleuther

Their questions couldn’t be ignored. I do my citations manually without a plug-in. Why no plug-in? Because I use the free which doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles.

Adding Citations to the Rough Draft

A lot of preparation goes into the citations even before they make it to the rough draft stages. I research the family and add all sources to each individual and event in my genealogy software Ancestral Quest 15. Only when this is done do I begin to write on the WordPress Dashboard in Visual mode.

Update (23 October 2020):
If you use WordPress Block editor
please see my latest post
Adding Footnotes to your WordPress Posts Using Block Editor

When I’ve finished the rough draft of my post, I go back and add the numbers in brackets for the footnotes. Sometimes I will place [#] where a source will be added while I’m writing. Adding the numbers gives me an opportunity to read the piece slowly as I add them.

Once all of the bracketed numbers are in place it’s time to add the HTML code so that my readers can click on the source number, go to the source list, and come back up to the post.

In the body of the post, the HTML code is:

with the 3 numbers in red being replaced by the number in the bracket in the text.

Update (20 May 2017): The HTML code is now an image. You will have to type it in. In my original draft, the quote marks showed correctly as straight double-quotes. However, when it was published, they became curly quotes (also known as smart quotes) and messed up the code (I guess they aren’t so smart in this case). I want to thank Lois Willis – Genealogy and Family History for bringing this to my attention. If you want to know more about how she fixed the problem, please refer to her post Fixing source citations in WordPress.

My list of HTML code in Evernote for the bracketed numbers in the body and at the end of the post.

I keep the code in a note in Evernote. Presently, I have a list which goes to 86 because I actually did a post with that many sources in 2015: 52 Ancestors: #47 The SCHLOESSER-CONSBRÜCK Family.

Let’s say you have a post with nine footnotes. I copy the HTML code in Evernote for nine footnotes.

On the WP dashboard, I click on the Text tab to switch to HTML mode. Don’t worry. You won’t be messing up any of your formattings. Click in a free space, usually between the first and second paragraphs, and paste the code you copied.

Switch back to the Visual mode where you will now see the footnotes with hyperlinks.

Highlight and copy the [1] with the hyperlink and paste it in place of the [1] in the body. DO NOT delete a hyperlinked number (in the list) until after you’ve pasted it into the body of your post. I find that deleting before pasting strips the code.

Continue copying the blue number and pasting them over the footnote number. If you have a very long post, use Ctrl+F to find the footnote numbers in your post.

Not Afraid of Working in HTML mode?

For more advanced users: If you are not afraid of going in and working in HTML mode, you can use Ctrl+F to find a footnote number, then copy/paste the HTML code in place of the number.

When I do it this way, I copy a few lines of the code in the area I’m working (above) and copy/paste each line to the place it should go.

Adding Footnote Numbers to the End of your Post

Now that all footnote numbers in the body of your post are hyperlinked, you need to add the HTML code to the end of your post where you will be adding your citations. The HTML code is:

and, again, the 3 numbers in red are replaced by the source number. In Evernote, I’ve added a space and the word link to each line of code. The space is important as it keeps the HTML code from being attached to the citation you will be pasting in later.

In Visual mode, scroll down to where you want to add your list of citations and add a title. Mine are titled Sources.

Switch to Text mode (HTML), scroll to the bottom or use Ctrl+F to find your citation list title.

Copy your list of HTML codes for as many citations as you have below the title you’ve chosen for your sources.

Switch back to Visual.

Now you have all your footnote numbers waiting for the citations to be added.

Let the fun begin.

I use Ancestral Quest 15 which has a Notes/Sources button that opens up a window with four tabs: Individual Notes, Individual Sources, Marriage Notes, and Marriage Sources. The tabs for sources give me a list of citations as they will look in a report. When I click on the text it highlights (seen in black above) the entire citation which I then copy. I don’t know if other genealogy software programs have the feature I use to retrieve my citations. 

I insert the citation text I retrieved from AQ15 in place of the highlighted word link next to the [1]. Some cleanup is needed as all citations copied from AQ15 have a number at the beginning which I delete. Also, any formatting included in the citation will not carry over (see example above).

This is done for each citation. I have a preview of the post open in another tab on my browser so that I can see which event each citation is for. If the post is short, I will scroll up and down to check.

I usually wait until all citations have been copied over before I do the cleanup work. The citations may not be perfect or up to EE standards since I’m learning by doing instead of learning and then doing.

There is no need to format the URLs in the citations. Take a look at the preview to be sure the WP template you are using makes the links clickable.

One last thing I do with the list of sources at the end of my post is to change the text color to gray and bold the word Sources. With the template I used prior to this one, I had the option to use a smaller sized font. I opt to not leave a blank line between citations.

The trick to doing source citations on your blog is HTML code. It may seem like a lot of work but once you get used to the routine it becomes easier and quicker to do. Getting compliments from your readers, like I did from mine, will also help.

I’d love to hear from you if you try this out. If you have any problems or see possibilities for improvement, please let me know.

UPDATE (3 August 2020): I am amazed at the amount of traffic this post brings to my blog. I would like to share with you a simpler way to do footnotes in WordPress. My friend Amberly Peterson Beck aka thegenealogygirl wrote the following comment in January 2018 as a follow-up to a conversation we had:

Cathy, I learned a new trick you might like. It’s a little bit faster than how you have been doing it. Here are two links to look at:
I used it for my most recent blog post. 🙂

Note: Since Amberly posted the comment, WordPress has moved on to using Block Editor. The first link no longer has the same information as in 2018. It will take you to instructions for the Markdown block in the block editor. The second link has instructions to the Classic Editor only. To enable Markdown on your blog for the Classic Editor go to Settings on your dashboard > Writing > ✅ Use Markdown for posts and pages.

UPDATE (23 October 2020): If you have moved from using the Classic Editor to the Block Editor, please see my latest post
Adding Footnotes to your WordPress Posts Using Block Editor.
This removes the need to use HTML code to add footnotes.

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

The New FamilySearch – I’m loving it!

Yesterday morning I had a scare, a BIG scare. The Download button on the FamilySearch site had disappeared on me. No, I didn’t think to get a screenshot!

I planned on digging up some FOURNELLE death records in a particular town in Luxembourg. For each person I was going to find the record, cite it correctly in my genealogy program AncestralQuest 14, download the image giving it a new name (MRIN# year name type), attach it to the source citation and add it to the scrapbook of the individual.

The plan was good until I found the first record and went to download it. To make a long story short, FamilySearch is still working on getting their New and Better site working, and six hours later the Download button was back along with the Print button which I didn’t miss since I never use print. The Tools button had been there the entire time but did not work.

As I have the links to the databases for Luxembourg bookmarked I don’t go through FamilySearch’s front door and missed the banner at the top announcing maintenance being done November 11 through 13. It was only November 10th!

I clicked all over the place (in panic mode) looking for the Download button and got to know the New FamilySearch a bit better. I continued my research, adding citations, tagging each individual, and adding an item to the Research Manager to get the image of each document (later). A few steps more than usual but time well used.

They’ve made it so much easier to browse through the non-indexed records. Let me show you what I mean.

I’m using an example from the Luxembourg Civil Registration, 1662-1941. The collection is divided up by communes and then different groups of records (above). For Pétange there are 16 and not 17 subgroups of records. One group has such a long name it is seen at the bottom of one column and at the top of the next. This is a quirk that could be corrected to not cause confusion.

I clicked on Décès 1859-1890. As the collection is browse-only and not indexed there is no information available at the bottom of the screen. To view all images in the collection, click on the button at the left of the image.

They may still be tweaking here and there. When I wrote this the double click did not work. After posting I went back in to use the records and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.

I’ve been working with the civil records for Luxembourg since they went online. I had to play the hot/cold game to zoom in on the year and record. With the small images of the pages, I can now tell where a year ends and another begins.

I click on an image of a page with an index and View single image icon. On the page, I can quickly find a name in the alphabetical index the clerk added to the back of the records for that year with the number given to the record.

The record I want to find is #6. I go back to the small images. In this example, there are only 5 images for the year 1860. Record No. 1 is always on the lower right of the first image for the year followed by 4 records on each of the next images, i.e. 2 thru 5, 6 thru 9, 10 thru 13, etc. In later years, as the population grew, there are years where there were 50 to 80 or even more than 100 records per year. With 100 you know there are at least 26 images for the year. The example I’m using has only 496 images while around 1500 is the norm.

I clicked on the third image for 1860 and found Death Record #6 is in the upper left-hand corner. After checking the information in the record, I click on Information at the bottom to open the source citation. After I copy and tweak the citation to the event for the individual in my database, I download the image using the Download button.

Seeing the entire collection in the small images lets me go from one index to the next without having to click through image by image or jumping a certain number of images forward or backward until I find what I am looking for.

FamilySearch was often (I don’t want to say always) very slow loading the images but this has changed! FS has also gotten FASTER loading the images. This is going to save me and YOU so much time.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey



A Résumé of Family History Month

October has been a busy month at Opening Doors in Brick Walls. A record breaking  total of 3,345 views and 1,651 visitors to the site during Family History Month. Total views since I began blogging in January 2014 went over the 40,000 mark this morning. It was a lot of work to put out 23 posts but it was worth it.

stats52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks (4 posts)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition went into the last quarter at the beginning of the month. Now three-quarters of the stories have been written and, at the same time, I’ve cleaned up my database and added sources and images for each person I wrote about.

I added a new page with a list of my children’s ancestors. I’ve written about their ancestors for the 52 Ancestors Challenge in 2014 and 2015 from generation 3, their grandparents, to generation 7 which will be COMPLETE at the end of the year. What a wonderful feeling it is to have done all of these posts in only two years.

Blogger_lu Featured My Blog During October

During the entire month Blogger_lu featured my posts on their Facebook page as part of their “Society & History” month. On Saturday the 10th my blog was introduced on the Blogger_lu Facebook page:

Opening Doors in Brick Walls is Cathy Meder-Dempsey’s digital stepping stone to share and preserve her family history research. Cathy has been blogging since January 2014, sharing weekly posts on American and European ancestors, telling the stories using documentation and photos, with the focus this year being on her families in Luxembourg. As a member of Luxracines, she has written several blogposts about the genealogy excursions taken with the club. She is especially proud of her three part blogpost on an ancestor’s slaves as it prompted the creation of the Slave Name Roll Project which has been well received by descendants of slaves and allows descendants of slave owners to share without shame or judgment the documents they find with names of slaves. With her new weekly series, Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can, she is learning about early photography and looking forward to connecting with descendants of the persons featured.

Slave Name Roll Project (7 posts)

For Family History Month I chose to do more than my once a month post of the slave names for the Slave Name Roll Project. In 7 posts I shared the names of 54 slaves, a will, 7 bills of sale, and a conclusion which I hadn’t dared come to until I had read the entire 127 images of the Chancery case in which the documents were found.

Luxracines Activity (2 posts)

Early in the month I helped my genealogy society move a library from Germany to Luxembourg and worked at the Luxracines stand during the JNGH 2015.

Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can (6 posts)

In the past month I finally got into a rhythm of posting the Old Photographs at a weekly rate. My cousin Joe Rooney sent me the entire collection and I wrote a post when I unpacked the package that came in the mail.

How To Posts (2 posts)

I love seeing “How To” posts on other people’s blogs. I’ve been using RootsWeb WorldConnect for 15 years and tried my pen at writing a How to Upload and How to Manage your family tree on the site.

More Presence in Social Media

I joined Twitter and was interviewed by Wendy Mathias for GeneaBloggers’ “May I Introduce to You.”

Just for Fun

Going full speed during October, I still had time for a just for fun post on Halloween.

What’s to Come?

I’ll be going back to regular speed until the end of the year. 52 Ancestors and Old Photographs will be coming weekly as well as a new series. Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has a Story suggested writing daily or weekly posts on family heirlooms and I’ve taken up her challenge to write once a week. First post will be on Tuesday.

I received Amy Johnson Crow’s 31 Days to Better Genealogy emails during the month and saved them to work through in January. I want to be able to give each day my full attention. To sign up for the daily emails please check out Amy’s post – they’re FREE!

31daystobettergenealogyWas October and Family History Month as busy for you as it was for me? I’d love to hear about it!

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Colleen Greene’s Genealogy Snapshot UPDATE

Update to Friday’s blogpost Colleen Greene’s Genealogy Snapshot

After my post and chatting with Colleen she offered to write a code for the “pretty box” to frame the Genealogy Snapshot. Here’s her post on how to add the box:

Blogging for Genealogy: Adding a Lineage Snapshot Box to Ancestor Posts in & Blogger

This is what my first Genealogy Sketch looked like:


And this is what it now looks like with Colleen’s “pretty box” code:


Looks so professional! Thank you Colleen. Can’t wait to see who else will use your code!

P.S. Tried it out on 52 Ancestors: #4 The Plumber/Tinsmith and the Seamstress

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Colleen Greene’s Genealogy Snapshot

Colleen Greene wrote an easy to follow guide on how she adds her Genealogy Snapshot Boxes to her blog and shared the post with the Genealogy Bloggers group on Facebook yesterday.

WordPress for Genealogy: Adding a Lineage Snapshot Box to Blog Posts About Ancestors, Part I

I have little experience with html and am always glad for any help I can get. My blog is on and not self-hosted so I can’t do the nice box that she has. I’ve seen this on several of Colleen’s posts (such a cool idea) and wanted to do something similar. I didn’t want to steal her idea but when she posted her how-to I had to try it out.

First I changed the name to Genealogy Sketch and since I can’t use a box I added a short row of symbols to separate it from the upper part of this blogpost: 52 Ancestors: #52 Levina DOSS – Another Unmarried Mother and How She Helped Me Bring This Challenge Finale to an End with a Bang!

Screenshot from my 52 Ancestors: #52 post from 2014.

Colleen wrote, “You are welcome to copy and paste my code into your own blog to try it out and keep using it if you want.” Thank you Colleen. If you want to try doing your own or Colleen’s version visit her blogpost for instructions.

I am going to be adding my Genealogy Sketch to the new 52 Ancestors posts this year and when I have a few moments I’ll go in and add them to the ones from last year.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey