Citing Ancestry member shared images (photos, documents, etc.)


I am trying to figure out how I can properly cite Ancestry member shared photos (either actual photographs or images, or images of documents).

I am not quite certain how I should go about it to accurately create a citation that works.

I was thinking something like this:

Surname, name (or username if no name), "Photograph of individuals' name". Year if/when available; Ancestry Public Member Photos & Scanned Documents. Date shared. URL

Does anyone have suggestions?

Thanks in advance,



Submitted byEEon Tue, 02/25/2020 - 18:53

Catherine, do you have our Ancestry QuickSheet (2nd ed. rev. 2019)? The QuickSheet provides examples for all types of Ancestry offerings, including things that could not be included in EE for want of space. Some earlier discussions in this forum may also help you. For example:

From the draft you offer, I'm not sure what type of citation you want to create. Your format is that of a Source List Entry, with periods between each element. But the content includes a specific item—something that always goes in the Reference Note, but not the Source List Entry. A Reference Note (footnote or endnote) never carries periods between each element. Reference Notes are written sentence style, in which every element that describes that one source goes into one sentence with a period at the end to mark the end of our data about that source.

Also, there are other basic citation conventions that need to be applied to the details that you provide above:

1. Citations to published sources follow one basic format, regardless of whether the publication is in print or online. If we are citing a book, for example, we don't start the citation by citing the specific page or photo in which we are interested. We start it by citing the book. The specific item of interest is the last item cited. A website is the online equivalent of a book and follows the same basic pattern

2. Some books have chapters by different authors/creators, just as journals have articles by individual authors. For both of these types of publication, our citation first identifies the creator of the chapter or article—then the title of the chapter or article—before we identify the editor of the book or journal.The online equivalent of this is a site such as Ancestry, with many individual articles, databases and trees. Therefore, a citation to an Ancestry offering follows the same format as a book with individual chapter authors. First we cite the database or tree and the identity of the creator (if one is identified). Then we cite the website as though it were a book—with the specific item identified at the end.

3. When we cite a published source that is a standalone item—such as a book, a website, an individually published map, etc.—the publication data (place of publication : date of publication or access) are placed in parentheses after the title of the book/website/map.

4. When we're identifying an item in our own words, we don't use quotation marks around it. Quotation marks mean that we are quoting something exactly.

These standard conventions help others understand what it is we are citing--and make it easy for us to organized our Source List. All points combined will generate this basic format for anything used at Ancestry:

Name of Individual Creator (if there is one), "Title of Database, Tree, Etc. Created by That Person," Title of Website (URL=place of publication : date of access), specific item of interest.

As with any basic format, we would then tweak it for special situations as they arise. That, of course, is why the Ancestry QuickSheet exists: to demonstrate those adaptations.