Another Citation Test of ChatGPT4.o

Genealogical citations. Like fibre in the diet, we’re told they’re good for us.

They aim to provide evidence of the sources used, facilitate others’ review and evaluation of the evidence, and make it easier to find the source in the future.

With those benefits come disadvantages, notably that they take up paper and ink when printed while being passed over by most readers. They are tedious to produce.

Following on a test of Cite-Builder and ChatGPT4.o on a Canada 1901 census example, here’s another for an English baptismal record using ChatGPT4.o. I prompted for the citation in Evidence Explained format. The result varies depending on the source – Ancestry/Findmypast/
MyHeritage/FamilySearch – as it should be.

Given the strictures of Evidence Explained, I doubt these are fully format compliant, but they are considerably less tedious to produce, and have all the information,  and perhaps more, than you might want.

From Ancestry
Northwood, William Henry. Baptism, 26 December 1845, Birmingham, St Philip, Warwickshire, England. Birth, 9 June 1840. Age 5. Father: John Northwood. Mother: Jane Northwood. “Birmingham, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1922.”

From Ancestry using information in Sources
Northwood, William Henry. Baptism, 26 December 1845, Birmingham, St Philip, Warwickshire, England. Birth, 9 June 1840. Age 5. Father: John Northwood. Mother: Jane Northwood. “Birmingham, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1922.” Library of Birmingham; Birmingham, England, UK; Birmingham Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: Dro 25; Archive Roll: M43.

From Ancestry, requesting an abbreviated version
Northwood, William Henry. Baptism, 26 December 1845, Birmingham, St Philip, Warwickshire, England. Library of Birmingham; Birmingham Church of England Parish Registers; Ref. Dro 25; Archive Roll: M43.

From Findmypast
Northwood, William Henry. Baptism, 27 December 1840, Aston Juxta Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. Birth year 1840. Father: John Northwood. Mother: Jane Northwood. “England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975.” Transcript, Index © IRI. Used by permission of FamilySearch Intl.

From MyHeritage
Northwood, William Henry. Birth, 9 June 1840, and christening, 27 December 1840, Aston Juxta Birmingham, Warwick, England. Father: John Northwood. Mother: Jane Northwood. “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975.” Indexing Project (Batch) Number C01168-2. System Origin: England-ODM. GS Film number 919793. MyHeritage.

FamilySearch suggested citation
“England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975”, database, FamilySearch ( : 4 February 2023), William Henry Northwood, 1845.

From FamilySearch results
Northwood, William Henry. Christening, 26 December 1845, St Philip, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. Birth, 9 June 1840. Father: John Northwood. Mother: Jane Northwood. FamilySearch.

Findmypast Weekly Update

This week the FMP focus is on one of the smaller, both for size and population, of England’s ancient counties.

The Bedfordshire Baptisms collection now includes 10,239 new images and transcriptions, covering 274 years. This brings the total number of baptism records to 150,239.

In addition, the Bedfordshire Marriages collection has 5,529 new records. These records, dating from 1538 to 1812, bring the total number of marriage records to 120,529.

The Bedfordshire Burials collection has been enriched with 7,748 new records. These date from 1538 to 1812, increasing the total number of burial records to 130,748.

Findmypast Updated App

A smoother experience. That’s what Findmypast promised in a notification that their app has a new look and feel.

It’s free to download on Android devices in the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and Apple/iOS devices, except in New Zealand!

Find out about its capabilities and what’s new at

OGS Conference 2024: AI Day

An exceptional day organized by Paul Jones. Presentations by Steve Little (2), Blaine Bettinger (2), and Daniel Horowitz, shorter “Great Moments” presentations and a panel session.

Mark Thompson, Blaine Bettinger, and Daniel Horowitz chaired by Jonny Perl.

Recordings are to be available to those registered in person and online, for 45 days, and subsequent registrants.

Anglo-Celtic Roots: Summer 2024

In this issue, President Dianne Brydon kicks off the year-long celebration of BIFHSGO’s 30th year.  It outlines plans and goals after summarizing the Society’s history and accomplishments.

Heather Ashe recounts how she uses DNA matches to research a relatively undocumented Irish ancestry.

Marnie McCall describes the records she found—and where she found them—to fill out the family’s story of the emigration of her German ancestors who arrived in Canada via Russia.
Allenby is a renowned name in British military history.

Sheila Dohoo Faure recounts the story of a soldier whose short career was eclipsed by his famous father in the continuing series on soldiers who passed through the No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station.

My regular column, Cream of the Crop, wraps up the issue, updating on techniques and resources.

Anglo-Celtic Roots is one of many benefits of BIFHSGO membership.

Recent Ancestry Updates

Two Ancestry databases were updated on 10 June.

UK and Allied Countries, World War II Liberated Prisoner of War Questionnaires, 1945-1946
129,525 entries

Records in this collection may include: Name, Rank, Service number, Ship name, Unit name, Birth date, Enlistment date, Capture date and place, Escape attempt details.

The information in the questionnaires can be used to verify where and when captured during the Second World War. You also may discover information on serious illnesses during captivity, and any courageous acts by fellow prisoners of war. Authorities were interested in attempted escapes, evasive activities and any people who helped them during an escape attempt.

Canada, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1865-1935
8,306,700 entries

Despite the “About” information showing the collection containing records for Quebec Ports (May 1865–Jun 1908, Jun 1919–Jul 1921, Apr 1925–Nov 1935), there are entries from 1908 to 1919 as well as the seperate database Canada, Ocean Arrivals (Form 30A), 1919-1924.


Attention Library and Archives Canada

L’s mother requested her husband’s war record three years ago. It’s just been received 18 months after she died.

Regrettably, L’s request for his uncle’s records, sent six months after the first, is still awaiting a response … frustration. 

The backlog could be significantly shortened, leading to more timely responses. A collaboration with LAC to digitize all WW2 service files, ensuring that only those beyond the 110-year after-birth or 20 years after-death embargo period are released online, could be a mutually beneficial solution. LAC has previously worked with FamilySearch, Ancestry and perhaps others to make records available. Why not again?

New Legacy Family Tree 10

Legacy Family Tree is one of the leading pieces of genealogical software in North America, along with Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic.

The learning curve is sufficiently steep with any of these that changing software is not to be done lightly.

With the new Legacy Family Tree 10 for Windows, would FREE be enough to get you to at least download it and try it? I have and was quickly able to transfer one of my databases via Gedcom. I do need to spend more time with it.

Be your own judge, Start here with an introduction to the new version, links to download it and to helpful videos.

This Week’s Online Genealogy Events

Choose from selected free online events in the next five days. All times are ET except as noted. Assume registration in advance is required; check so you’re not disappointed. Find out about many more mainly US events at Conference Keeper at

Tuesday, 11 June

2 pm: Ottawa Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from OGS Ottawa Branch.

2 pm: Learn Genealogy 24/7 with Legacy Family Tree Webinars, by Geoff Rasmussen.

2:30 pm:  From Sign-Up to StoriedBook™, by Heather Haunert for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

7 pm: Getting Started with Researching Your Italian Roots in Canada, by Pascal Calarco for OGS Sudbury District Branch.

Wednesday, 12 June

7 pm: My Father Came to Canada as a British Home Child, by Jefkins for OGS York Region Branch.

8 pm: Puerto Rican Research, by Katy Bodenhorn Barnes for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Thursday, 13 June,

6:30 pm: Bluegrass Roots: Genealogical Records of the Kentucky, by Rusty Heckaman for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Friday, 14 June; Saturday, 15 June

OGS Annual Conference in Toronto continues thru Sunday.


Cite Your Sources: Getting Help Online

I’ve been known to wake up from a nightmare when I was informed that my efforts didn’t pass muster despite sweating blood over the “proper” formatting of citations.


I must have been quite a sight!



Did I leave an extra space? Does the “authority” specify that part should be in italics? Is the date in the approved order mm-dd-yyyy or dd-mm-yyyy or yyyy-mm-dd, or with the month spelled out? Commas, periods or semi-colons?

You’d think the major genealogy resource sites would make it easy. Some do go part way. For example, here’s how the entry for William Northwood in the 1901 Canadian is cited.

In Ancestry: Year: 1901; Census Place: Ottawa (City/Cité) St George (Ward/Quartier), Ottawa (City/Cité), Ontario; Page: 16; Family No: 156

In FamilySearch: “Canada Census, 1901”, , FamilySearch ( : Fri Mar 08 10:44:32 UTC 2024), Entry for William Northwood and Margaret Northwood, 1901.

MyHeritage, Find My Past, Library and Archives Canada, and Automated Genealogy provide no suggested citation. All do provide basic information needed to format it. How to go the extra step, granting us the benefit of a good night’s sleep?

Of late there’s been buzz on social media about Cite-Builder. Specifically designed for genealogists, there’s free access to a limited selection of common citation sources in multiple styles including Evidence Explained, Chicago, Harvard, WikiTree, Strathclyde and more. Here’s how Cite Builder renders 1901 William Northwood citation given the information from LAC.

Citation built in Evidence Explained style is:

1st Footnote:
1901 census of Canada, St George Ward, Ottawa, Ontario, entry for William Northwood; database with images, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 09 June 2024); citing Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. RG31 – Statistics Canada. Microfilm Roll T-6488, 16, family number 156.
Subsequent Footnote:
1901 census of Canada, St George Ward, Ottawa, Ontario, entry for William Northwood; LAC. RG31 – Statistics Canada. Microfilm Roll T-6488, 16, family number 156.
Canada. Ontario. Ottawa. St George Ward. 1901 of Canada. Database with images. Library and Archives Canada. : 2024.

Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments.

You can go a long way with the free version of Cite Builder which is all I’ve tried. Check out the videos on the site that illustrate the extra facility with the premium version. It costs AUD 30/year, about $27 and change Canadian. Get a 20% discount with code GTV.

A citation guru I consuted did find a few errors.

It occurred to me to try the citation with ChatGPT. So I prompted it with:

You are an expert genealogist skilled at writing citations in the style of Evidence Explained. Use the following information about William Northwood from the 1901 Census of Canada, as provided by Library and Archives Canada at to format a citation
Month of birth: August
Year of birth: 1844
Marital status: Married
Relationship: Head
Place of birth: England
Year of immigration: 1870
Nationality: Canadian
Ethnic origin: English
Religion: Church of England
Occupation: Merchant
Province: Ontario
District name: Ottawa (City)
District number: 100
Sub-district name: St. George Ward
Sub-district number: E
Reference: RG31 – Statistics Canada
Division: 8
Page number: 16
Family number: 156
Microfilm reel number: T-6488
Image number: z000091557

ChatGPT’s response was:

Certainly! Here is the citation in the style of Evidence Explained:

Library and Archives Canada, “1901 Census of Canada,” digital image, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 9 June 2024), William Northwood, St. George Ward, Ottawa (City), Ontario, district number 100, sub-district E, division 8, page 16, family number 156, microfilm reel T-6488, image number z000091557; citing RG31, Statistics Canada.

Interestingly, the family number quoted in all of the above, 156, is not that on the image which is 154.

Would you use ChatGPT rather than Cite-Builder, or something else?


Teaghlach Gaelach

BIFHSGO’s Virtual Conference, A Celebration of Irish Family History, to be held 26-27 October 2024, was announced at Saturday’s meeting by co-Chairs Marianne Rasmus and Mary-Lou Simac.
Here are the expert speakers:

Find out about their presentations at

Want to learn more? Both Marianne and Mary-Lou will be at the OGS Conference in Toronto. Stop by the BIFHSGO table .

Findmy past Weekly Update

World War 2 Allies Collection
Now enhanced with over 566,000 additional records released in the past three years, this collection features enlistments, casualty lists, rolls of honour and more. It includes soldiers, nurses and Home Front civilians.

The 15,811,779 member collection includes 36,666 Canadian records from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Canada, Military Honours and Awards Citation Cards.

British Army, Royal York Rangers

Formed in 1807, this unique regiment served in the West Indies before disbanding in 1819. This index collection of 2,941 records is compiled from TNA collections:

WO25: Returns of service, pension records, and miscellaneous documents.
ADM337: Admiralty documents related to naval personnel.
WO116: Chelsea Pensioners’ records.
HO9: Home Office records concerning prisoners and penal establishments.
ADM37: Ships’ muster books and pay lists.

Yorkshire, Leeds City Police 1899-1939

This collection charts the lives and careers of 513 officers who kept law and order in Yorkshire’s largest city. Find:

  • Name
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Police appointment date
  • 1911 Census address or the address from the 1918 absent voters’ list
  • Police rank in 1914
  • 1921 census address
  • 1939 register address
  • Division
  • Date joined reserve

Newspapers added in the past week with issues from over a century ago are the Belper News, 1922-1923, 1925, 1932; and Crawley and District Observer, 1889, 1982-1984, 1986-1989, 1995.