Tuesday’s Tip: Awesome & Easy Source Citations in WordPress


Tuesday's Tip - source citations

Today’s tip is super simple – no video necessary!

Over my four years of writing about genealogy, there have been many times I wanted the ability to add source citations – or footnotes.  My friend Cathy had figured out a way to do it.  Her way is great but felt like too many steps for my schedule.  (And general lack of skill with html code.)  😉

You can also upgrade your blog to a Business Plan and use plug-ins to create source citations.  That seemed like a steep price tag for footnotes.

A few weeks ago I did a little digging online and then sent a query to WordPress support and was led to a super simple way to add source citations in WordPress.

First, I want to bring your attention to a recent post I wrote using this trick.  In “52 Ancestors – ALL the Babies of Mary Brown Wood,” I included thirteen source citations.  Here is an image showing the first four citations within the body of the post:


Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 6.24.14 PM


Notice the little blue numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 scattered throughout this section of text.  If you click on any of those numbers in the original blog post, it will take you right to that citation at the end of the post.  After viewing the citation, you can click on the blue arrow to pop you back up to the body of the text.  Here is what the citations look like at the bottom of the post:


Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 6.24.29 PM


I LOVE them!!  They are clean, simple, and easy to use.

So.  How do you do it?

The first step is to go to your admin page on WordPress.  Many of us are using the new WordPress tool that looks like this:


Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 6.22.17 PM


But you need the admin page that looks like this:


Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 6.23.08 PM


If you don’t know how to get there, type https://yourblognamehere.(your extension here, mine is .blog)/wp-admin.

Once you arrive at your admin page, go to settings, then writing.


Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 6.23.26 PM


On the writing settings page, check the box labeled “Use Markdown for posts and pages”.  Then scroll down to the bottom and click on “Save Changes”.


Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 6.23.40 PM


Once you have enabled Markdown, you are ready to add source citations to any blog post.  You simply write a phrase, then type this set of characters beside the item needing a citation: [^1]

At the bottom of your post, you will type this set of symbols followed by the citation information: [^1]:  These endnotes should each have their own line with no other spaces or characters preceding the [^1]:

For additional citations, just use the next number in sequence.  If you want the footnote number to touch the word it appears next to, do not include a space between the text and the [^1].  For cleaner citations at the end, begin the citation right after the colon with no space.


Edit:  Because a friend asked a few questions, here is a short video to help you understand potential quirks with using Markdown:

Good luck!



ps – A few months ago I treated myself to the most recent edition of Evidence Explained by, Elizabeth Shown Mills.  I am so glad I did!  I have been far less frustrated trying to create accurate citations.



Author: thegenealogygirl

I'm a girl who loves genealogy. Let me tell you about it.

32 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Tip: Awesome & Easy Source Citations in WordPress

  1. Thank you so much, Amberly, for letting me know this new trick for footnotes on WordPress. I need to treat myself to Evidence Explained too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are welcome, Cathy! I’m glad you like using it. I LOVE Evidence Explained. It has taken some persistence to get through the various entries to settle on the example that applies to each circumstance, but once I find the right one, everything is pretty straightforward. It is a VERY thick book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have a sample copy on my Kindle (first 89 pages) and should think about getting the full book since the examples are missing.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I really have enjoyed having it. It can be tricky to work through some of the nuances of certain examples (that have several variations), but so worth it. I have two citations I need to work on for my post on Monday, but I have a feeling I won’t have time to puzzle them out before that post goes live. Oh well, that’s what the edit button is for. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • I went to the hairdresser on Thursday. She does not do appointments and waiting is always long. I ended up reading the 89 pages on the Kindle app on my phone. Highlighted a few things of interest. Page 89 is not the end of the chapter. I’ll have to check into ordering it. Good luck on your citations.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, Cathy. I have only skimmed so far and really need to read the beginning chapters in detail. I have the book sitting out handy for the right moment to come along. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This is wonderful! I had no idea how to do this. I usually either just use an image and put the citation as a caption or add the citation in parentheticals or not at all. I am definitely going to try this—if I can remember how. Thank you!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks soooo much!!! Sometimes it works when I export from Scrivener, but sometimes it doesn’t, so this coding will make things much easier 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Now I see my error after watching the video—-I did not add the colon for the footnote entry. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting! Gonna save this. When I started blogging it was an adoption blog by my daughter and me, and I used a more complicated version of this method for readers to jump around in a long post.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you very much for sharing this!! this is really helpful. I normally somehow copy them in but this is so much better.

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. I enjoy your blog & am so happy that you an enjoyable time at Roots Annual Conference. Your words always encourage me to do more & be better. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wish I were a bit younger or that my health was better. I shall keep my chin up, not give up the ship & stay positive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words, Nancy! It really was a great experience. I’m so glad that you find some encouragement from my blog. That is wonderful. Yes, stay positive! And just do what works for you. Every little bit from every person brings so much value to preserving the story of our loved ones. ❤


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