Trying Out Cite Builder – The Citation Generator for Genealogists

One of my favorite RootsTech activities is checking out new-to-me companies and products on the market for genealogists. If you’ve read my blog for a while, you already know that the source templates in my genealogy software (RootsMagic 7, as I haven’t really delved deeply into RootsMagic 8) makes me want to pull out my hair and toss the computer out the window.

I’ve pretty much kept to the old-fashioned bibliographic format for citing my sources and placing them either in my Notes or, in the cases of images, embedding the source citation directly into the name given to an image.

RootsTech 2022 introduced me to Cite-Builder, which generates source citations for genealogical work.

Cite-Builder is an Australian company and is completely new to me. Given my love-hate-hate-hate relationship with source citation templates, I am always interested in trying out new citation generators.

I’ve already forgotten what I paid for the premium version of Cite-Builder, but the regular one-year subscription is only about US$15.00. I think the conference special was around US$12.00, which is a very small financial investment.

The premium version is a must because the choice of citation format (Harvard, Strathclyde, Evidence Explained) is a premium option.

I’ve been busy with other projects and haven’t had much time to experiment. With some free time now, it is time to jump in.

Since I’ve been busy working with Swedish records on ArkivDigital, I’ll use some examples from those records.

The first example is the burial record for Anna Stina Berggren, who was buried on or shortly after her husband was buried on 2 June 1800. Her burial entry only says “wife” and she died of an epileptic seizure.

My first attempt with Cite-Builder was using the Website template, since ArkivDigital is an online site and I wasn’t sure how detailed data boxes would be.

Of course, I didn’t notice the sentence in light blue font at the top that said not to use this template for big websites.

However, this is the citation created:

ArkivDigital, ArkivDigital, Image – Burial ( : 25 April 2022), Genarp-M-CI-4-1792-1838-Image-2200-Page-445.v104370a.b2200.s445.
I tried entering the same details into RootsMagic 7’s Master Source List, which produced:

RM7 – ArkivDigital, “Genarp, Sweden Deaths & Burials,” genarp, sweden death & burial register 1792-1838, Genarp, Sweden Church Register, ArkivDigital ( [AccessType] [AccessDate]), [ItemOfInterest]; citing Genarp, Sweden Lutheran Church.

Next, I tried out Cite Builder’s Parish Register template and several formats appeared. I went with “Parish Reg Image: Other Digitized Online.”

After entering the data,

the citation could be generated either in Evidence Explained or Strathclyde format.

EE format: Genarp (Genarp, Malmöhus, Sweden), “Deaths and Burials, 1792-1838”, v104370a.b2200.s445; digital images, ArkivDigital ( : accessed 25 Apr 2022).

I definitely found Cite-Builder to be much easier to figure out than RootsMagic 7. If you look above at the RM7 citation, notice that capital letters were omitted and I haven’t a clue why there is no access date – aside from the fact that there was no box in which to enter a date!

I’ve heard that RootsMagic 8 source citation templates are more unwieldy to use than RM7, which definitely doesn’t make me want to switch over to the latest version of RootsMagic.

What else does Cite Builder offer in templates?

Civil Births, Marriages & Deaths, Parish Registers (Church Records), Censuses and Musters, Wills, Probate & Administration, Monumental Inscriptions (Gravestones), Newspaper, Books, Journals & Magazines, Shipping, Website, Land Records, Criminal Records, Military Records, Personal Communication, Data CDs/DVDs, Archives and Special Collections and DNA

Manage Personal Templates provides the means to import and export files. Manage Favourites does the same and Rules Search is the HELP area.

Those are a lot of choices!

I have slowly come to realize that I will probably never embrace those hated source citation templates in genealogy software programs.  Perhaps I’d change my mind if the companies hired someone who was capable of clearly explaining, step by step, how to use them, but I’m not holding my breath waiting. We all know how poorly written most user manuals are!

In the meantime, I’m happy citing my sources in my notes.

Will I use Cite Builder to generate those citations? YES, because it’s simple to use, creates citations in two or more formats, including Evidence Explained, and, most importantly of all, I don’t have to deal with figuring out how to name, and name again and then link Master Source Files and such in the software program to people and events.

Do I care that my source citation won’t linked to the person or family or event? Not really, since all I have to do is open my notes and read to figure out from where the facts or details came.

I’d highly recommend giving Cite Builder a try. It is a yearly subscription, but at less than US$15.00, it’s less than the cost of a couple of takeout coffees. That’s a bargain!



Friday’s Family History Finds

The best Family History Finds this week:

Family Stories

Grafted In by Pamela Athearn Filbert on Vita Brevis

My Dad’s Exemplary Sportmanship Example by Brenda Leyndyke on Journey to the Past

Roberts Brothers, George & Ernest: Conspiracy by Gwen Kubberness on Criminal Genealogy

On the Trail of My Military McIntoshes by Alison Spring on The Frugal Family Historian

Ghosted by Jeff Record on Vita Brevis

Research Resources

Factory Industries in the Netherlands in 1875 by Yvette Hoitink on Dutch Genealogy

Half a Million Postcards on by James Tanner on Genealogy’s Star

Chernigov Guberniya Records Indexed on FamilySearch by Lara Diamond on Lara’s Jewnealogy

How a Family Archive Can Help Document a Person’s Life by Lisa S. Gorrell on My Trails into the Past

New Source for UK Court Records by Judy G. Russell on The Legal Genealogist

Ask Yvette – How to Find a Dutch Will by Yvette Hoitink on Dutch Genealogy

Tech News

OCRing the 1950 Census by Lindsay Fulton on Vita Brevis

A Step-by-Step Guide on Converting Cassettes to Digital Files by Carmen Docampo on Organizing Photos

Beware of Translation Tools! on Spartan Roots

Genetic Genealogy

Proving a Parent-Child Relationship Using Ancestry DNA Thrulines and Documentary Research, Part 1 by Diana Elder on Family Locket

It’s Bucketing at DNA Painter by Jonny Perl on DNA Painter Blog

Rabbit Holes with Randy – Updating My Leeds Method DNA Lists by Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings

Focus Mode in What Are the Odds? (WATO) by Jonny Perl on DNA Painter Blog


1950 US Census: Seeking Big-City Ancestors on NARA Site? by Marian B. Wood on Climbing My Family Tree

Finding Meier Blumfeld’s Children: The Benefits of Teamwork by Amy Cohen on Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

Finding Tiny Bits of Family History in Old Negatives by Marian B. Wood on Climbing My Family Tree

Take a Look at My OneNote Notebooks by Diana Bryan Quinn on Moments in Time, A Genealogy Blog

Education Is for Everyone

Byzantine and Catholic by Philip Jenkins on The Christian Century

What Will Happen When I Become a Death Certificate? by Paul Chiddicks on The Chiddicks Family Tree

Snippet: Those -ix Endings! by Judy G. Russell on The Legal Genealogist

Digitally Donate Your Genealogy? by Marian B. Wood on Climbing My Family Tree

Tombstone Tuesday – Gate Symbol by Karen Miller Bennett on Karen’s Chatt

Recorded and can be viewed for free on YouTube:
California Research series: CHS and NARA San Francisco on the California Genealogical Society Blog

Scanning Negatives by Marie Cooke Beckman on MarieB’s Genealogy Blog

Keeping Up with the Times

Presidents in the 1950 Census by Christopher C. Child on Vita Brevis

Benjamin Davis & Elizabeth Low, 1700s & the Extended Davis Family

Before I move on with my examination of the extended family of Benjamin Davis, let’s quickly review my progress – or lack of it in terms of positive finds.

This land deed initially caught my interest because both Thomas and Caleb Burnham witnessed this land transaction in York County, Maine whereby Symonds Low and his wife Deborah, Thomas Low and his wife Abigail and Benjamin Davis and his wife, Elizabeth (Low) sold property to Epes Sargent in 1733.

An examination of both the Symonds extended family and that of the Lows produced no clues that might place Susannah (MNU) Burnham as a member of either of those families.

Therefore, the Davis family is my last hope for finding a possible family for Susannah (MNU), who was born c1675 and married Thomas Burnham, c1697.

Interestingly, Benjamin Davis’s family has taken me full circle back to Captain James Davis of Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts. When I previously sought out all the Susannahs born around the 1670s in Massachusetts, I included but wrote off one Susannah Davis:

Susannah Davis, of James & Elizabeth, Gloucester, 20 Nov 1676

Susannah Davis is off the list, as she reportedly married Robert Andrews c1702 and lived in York, Maine.

I had also noted that Susannah (MNU) Burnham wrote a will with not one, but two Low witnesses:

On the other hand, Thomas Low might be a more promising lead because not only did one Thomas Low witness this document, but when Susannah (MNU) Burnham wrote her will, it was witnessed by Thomas Low, Solomon Andrews and Isaac Andrews, followed by a codicil witnessed by Joseph Marshall, Daniel Low and Jeremiah Andrews.

It is definitely time to dig further into Benjamin Davis’s family. First, Benjamin Davis was born in 1693, the son of John and Ann (Harraden) Davis, making him the next generation after Susannah (MNU) Burnham.

John Davis was born in 1659 and could be a possible sibling of Susannah.

I found several interesting tidbits of information.

Captain James Davis was born c1635 and died on 1 May 1715, Essex County, Massachusetts. However, he left no probate and didn’t appear to have had land dealings. No real estate was sold by his heirs.

This family lived in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts.

James Davis married (1) Mehitable (possibly Bridges), c1660. They were the parents of three known children, but only one lived to adulthood:

1. John, born 10 March 1659/60
2. James, born 16 March 1661/62; died 23 March 1663
3. Joseph, died 4 May 1665

Mehitable died on 9 June 1666 and James married (2) Elizabeth Batchelor, 6 December 1666.

James and Elizabeth were the parents of SIX (I will discuss Child  #5) children, all born in Gloucester:

1. Elizabeth, born 11 September 1669
2. Abigail, born 13 April 1672
3. Joseph, born 25 January 1673/74
4. Susannah, born 20 November 1676
5. Su Han[n]ah, born 28 May 1679
6. Ebenezer, born 26 January 1681/82; married Mary Wharff, 25 December 1705
7. Mark, born 20 May 1683; possibly the man who died 15 April 1706

First, let’s deal with Child #5 – Su Han[n]ah:

Here is the image from the printed transcriptions of Gloucester Vital Records to 1850:

This entry makes it seem as though Susannah who was born in 1676 had died and another daughter was given the same name. Yet, there is NO death record for Susannah born in 1676.

Online trees have changed this odd entry into one Hannah Davis who married John Warner with intentions filed in Ipswich on 4 July 1702. This might be a plausible explanation for the 1679 birth record.

However, as you  might know, I like to leave no stone unturned so I dug around in FamilySearch and found the original Gloucester town records. The clerk handily recorded all of the surnames beginning with D on two pages for the time period 1676-1682.

Take a look at this:

This is the second page of D entries and the very top item is the birth record for Susanna Daughter of James Davis borne by Eliza his wife 20:9:76.

That entry is followed by entries for (various people whose surnames begin with D) Thomas, Joseph, Aron, Joseph, Timothy, Job, Ebenezer (Susannah’s brother born 1681), John, Anthony and John.

Joseph and Timothy are the only two records for 1679 and there is no other Susannah or Hannah, or even another female!

Therefore, Hannah who married John Warner is a person who existed, but her birth is not recorded in Gloucester as a child of James and Elizabeth!

So, if that record is erroneous, might there be other mistakes in this family? Like, for example, that Susannah Davis, daughter of James and Elizabeth, married Robert Andrews and removed to York County, Maine?  Perhaps! Especially since there is no marriage record for this couple.

I also found a troubling entry in the deaths of Gloucester Vital Records to 1850:

Yes, it says MRS. Susannah Davis. However, in that time period, ladies of a certain social status were also called MRS, even if not married. Also, this Susannah Davis is EXACTLY the same as as Susannah, daughter of James and Elizabeth, born in November 1676.

Here is the citation: Gloucester, MA: Burials in Gloucester Cemeteries, 1720-2003. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2007), City of Gloucester Historical Commission, Gloucester Historic Burying Grounds Subcommittee. Gloucester, Massachusetts: 2006.

I feel stymied at every turn. There is no image available online for Susannah’s gravestone. Back in 1895, William Dolliver was charged with the task of recording all the inscriptions on gravestones in Gloucester. His handwritten notes, in meticulous order, include entries for many Davis people, including Susannah’s father, Captain James, who died in 1715. There is NO entry for any Susannah Davis in any year.

That was 125 years ago, so if it wasn’t recorded then, where did the Gloucester Historical Commission get the information? If they supplemented actual in-person visits to the cemeteries with the Vital Records to 1850, then I have a problem wondering if it is accurate.

The citation in the Vital Records is GR4, which corresponds to the Second Parish Burial Ground, where Dolliver walked the rows and found no Susannah Davis.

There is also no probate record for any Susannah Davis in Gloucester AND I’ve already shown proof that Su Han[n]ah supposedly born in 1679 doesn’t exist.

There was also confusion with the birth entries for James’ and Mehitable’s son James:

These two records reference one child, James, who was born 16 March 1661/62 and died 23 March 1663. That isn’t evident from this image. It makes it seem as if two Jameses were born a year apart.

I can also offer one more egregious error in the Vital Records of Nantucket to 1850, which states my ancestor Joseph Coleman died in 1775. He didn’t – he removed from Nantucket in 1775 to Orange County, New York, where he died a couple of decades later.

Therefore, I know for certain that this published series contains mistakes.

I looked for the original Gloucester town records on FamilySearch. The volume that should contain the death records from 1716 to  has a note in the front stating the death records for that time period are in a previous volume, which doesn’t appear to be available on FamilySearch.

What to do? I got on the phone and called the Gloucester City Archives, which holds the original town clerk books.

A quick check found this entry:

Davis, Susanna (aged about 47 years) dyed December 20  1723

Well, I’m disappointed because I thought this Susannah Davis was an excellent candidate to have married Thomas Burnham. For those who think she married Robert Andrews, it looks like this death disproves that idea, too.

By the way, I did look for any other Susannah who might have married a Davis in this time frame and found absolutely no other possibilities.

I still feel like there is some kind of tie between Thomas and Susannah Burnham and the Symonds, Low and Davis families. What is is, however, remains a mystery.