I decided to use RootsMagic 4 to find out. I opened RootsMagic 4 and worked in my imported database from Ancestry.com. Here is the "Edit Person" window for Frank Walton Seaver (1876-1942) in RootsMagic 4:
The Historical Record for the 1910 US Census in Leominster MA for Frank is highlighted in the screen above, and the Sources button says "1 Residence source" next to it. I clicked on the button to see the Source that came through the export:
The Citation Manager opened in the screen above, and shows the Free-Form citations (meaning not generated by the Source Templates), the Source text/comments (there are none) and the Detail text/comments (information about birth year, birth place, and residence in 1910, plus the image URL on Ancestry.com). I noted that there are no spaces in the Detail text comments - too bad, since those will have to be corrected if they are printed out.
I wanted to see what happened when I hit the "Edit" button on the "Citation Manager" page:
The "Edit source" window opened and I could, if I wished, edit the information in the Master Source, the Source Details (which includes the film series, roll number, page number, etc.), the Source text, comments and media (using the "More" button next to the Master source fields, and the Detail text and comments (using the "More" button next to the Source Details field.
Here is the "free-form" Footnote source citation from the importing from the Ancestry.com GEDCOM:
"Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth Census of the Unit), Year: 1910; Census Place: Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts; Roll: T624_629; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 1772; Image: 202."
Hmmm, doesn't look exactly like the Evidence Explained or the Ancestry.com Quicksheet citations for census records, does it? But what can we expect? The citation that came across in the GEDCOM file is the one generated by Ancestry.com, and we've all complained about the inconsistency and inadequacy of those citations - I did recently in Ancestry Quirks - Source Citations.
What about other genealogy software programs? I did the same exercise with Legacy Family Tree 7 and Family Tree Maker 2009 and the results were essentially the same -- free form source citations very similar to the RootsMagic 4 example above.
Frankly, we cannot expect the genealogy software companies to fix these source citations "automatically" for each census citation. My opinion is that Ancestry.com should take it upon themselves to create Evidence Explained quality Master Sources for each of their databases so that the resulting free-form citation is adequate.
It is clear to me that one of the limitations at work here is the fact that the GEDCOM format is inadequate to separate source citation elements into different fields. Until an improved standard for transferring data between websites and executable programs is defined and implemented, we are all stuck with GEDCOM for better and for worse.
What is the best way, at the present time, to create quality source citations in genealogy software? I believe that it is to use the Source Citation Templates found in each program and create them yourself, including the detail text and then attach the downloaded census image to the event and source. That way, the user can include all persons in the event and not just the head-of-household as is the case with the Ancestry.com GEDCOM exported file.