Need your opinion on this marriage record

Hello all,

I have a question concerning sourcing a document. I am needing your opinion on sourcing this, would you source this as one item or break it down to four sources, Affidavit, Bond, License, and certificate?
The source citation I have written for this is: Arkansas, "County Marriages, 1837-1957 index and images," Marriage Book-T November 1940 - April 1942, Page: 12, Roy Allen and Gladys Sparks, 23 November 1940; FamilySearch,



Submitted byEEon Thu, 10/17/2013 - 09:20


You raise a good question. The two basic considerations here are these:

1. We cite what we use.

2. If we use a generic description, then—as our research continues—there will be many occasions when we wonder exactly what type of record we used.

With that in mind, EE would present your citation this way:

Crawford County, Arkansas, Marriage Book T (November 1940–April 1942), p.12, Roy Allen and Gladys Sparks, 23 November 1940: affidavit, bond, license, and marriage certificate; digital image,  "Arkansas, County Marriages, 1837–1957," database and images, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch  (

You will notice several differences between this recommendation and the draft you suggested. We'll paste that here, to facilitate discussion:

Arkansas, "County Marriages, 1837-1957 index and images," Marriage Book-T November 1940 - April 1942, Page: 12, Roy Allen and Gladys Sparks, 23 November 1940; FamilySearch,

  • The identification of the county where the marriage took place needs to be included.
  • A quoted title should render that title exactly. "Arkansas" is part of the database title and should be included in the quoted title. "Index and images" is not part of the database title and should not be in quotation marks.
  • The draft citation states that the database offers both an index and images, but you don't indicate which of those you have used. (Actually, the database offers abstracts and images. It does not offer an actual index.)
  • The draft citation leads with the name of the database but doesn't identify the creator of the database and the publication data is greatly separated from the title.

Citing a database is the same as citing any other publication: We identify the creator, the title, any special details necessary to an explanation of the title, and the publication data in parentheses. Once we have fully identified the publication, then we identify the specific item in that publication (page, entry, etc.) You'll see this structure illustrated at EE 6.50 (p. 301), in the 1881 Canadian census example.

  • Because the FamilySearch URL is specific to that one document, rather than the whole database, it is best to turn the citation around, as shown in the 1911 Canadian census example at EE 6.50.  In this approach, we first cite the record itself, using the same standard format for citing a county-level record book; then we state that we used an image copy and we provide a full citation for the website or web page at which we accessed the imaged copy.

In the chapter "Fundamentals of Citation," 2.11 explains the basics for citing imaged records. The most basic points are these. Citing imaged records involve two levels of citation: (1) a citation to the record itself; and (2) a citation to the website, microfilm, CD, etc., via which we viewed the record. The citation elements for level 1 should be kept together, and the citation elements for level 2 should be kept together. If we intermingle pieces of each, we'll confuse others who use our research and we'll confuse ourselves after our recollection of this source has gone cold.