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I always save PDF copies of webpages I uses for references.

Since writing an article I see that a cited webpage is no longer available and it has not been archived.

The page in question was part of RootsWeb, which was a large mid 1990s to 2021 collection of genealogical related emails. RootWeb was purchased by Ancestry in 2000 and shut down in 2023.

If you go to RootWeb it says their third party archive has moved; however, when you search this site the page I cite is not there, and likely many others are also not archived there.

If you check the Internet Archive it says its available online, which it is not.

I can't post a copy of page that I saved as its owned by Ancestry, who likely removed the original content to monetize it behind their paid membership, although I don't know if that is true.

There are no other sources for the information.

I've seen other citing guides state that it should be removed; however, that would suggest that I just somehow made the information up.

Would it not be best to cite the dead webpage and add a note that its closed in case the url might be archived some day.

What would be the best format for this?

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    Too late for this one, but: when you see a webpage you think you're likely to cite in the future, make sure to save it in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Jan 26 at 13:08
  • Is it possible your university library or a local public library has an institutional subscription to ancestry.com that would enable you to confirm your suspicion that the content still exists, but behind the paywall? Jan 26 at 13:11
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    Do you have a date on which you last accessed the material?
    – Buffy
    Jan 26 at 13:16
  • "Too late for this one, but: when you see a webpage you think you're likely to cite in the future, make sure to save it in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. – Daniel Hatton" The Internet Archive states: "Only available for sites that allow crawlers." That would be up to the site owners, which is Ancestry. Jan 26 at 15:20
  • "Is it possible your university library or a local public library has an institutional subscription to ancestry.com that would enable you to confirm your suspicion that the content still exists, but behind the paywall? – Daniel Hatton" That might be possible or I could confirm with a temporary trial account. I would then have cite a webpage that is behind a paywall Jan 26 at 15:21

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Whether or not a referenced website is currently accessible is usually not an issue, in part because it is generally accepted that the information on (many) websites is not as trustworthy or authoritative as something published in a peer-reviewed journal. Moreover, a great many existing publications reference sites that no longer exist and some, no doubt, reference websites that disappeared between the time they were accessed and the time they were referenced in a publication.

For your purposes, the information you probably need to comply with the citation/referencing requirements of a journal are: the name of the website from which you saved the PDF page, and the date on which you accessed the site.

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