Using family search citation

Dear EE,

I am doing a citation from Family Search, example below.

West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999," database, FamilySearch( 10 March 2018), Ida Ruziska in entry for Joseph A. Sr. Ruziska, 14 Apr 1933; citing Monongalia, West Virginia, County Records, 5187, county courthouses, West Virginia; FHL microfilm 1,953,773.


Do you use the information below in citing your sources?  It took me a while to figure out what it all means.

ARK-  The archival resource key (61903)

NAAN- the name assigning authority # 1:1:F1B5-D6X





Submitted byrraymondon Fri, 04/06/2018 - 17:28


Allow me to interject, if I may. ARK addresses on FamilySearch are intended to be long-lived. It is our (FamilySearch's) intent to maintain them for "a long time." We recommend you incorporate them into your citations. Unlike DOI identifiers (which Elizabeth illustrates in Evidence Explained), ARK identifiers are expressed as URLs. Dropping the portion of the URL starting with the question mark does not affect the persistence of the ARK.

The particular example you are citing is an index. When choosing between citing an index and citing the image to which it links, one would generally cite the image. In fact, when an image is trusted, the citation can be crafted to cite the original document, with a second layer allowing others to find the image.

--- Robert Raymond, FamilySearch

Submitted byEEon Fri, 04/06/2018 - 18:57

In reply to by rraymond

Thanks, Robert, for weighing in. Incidentally, ARK citations to FamilySearch materials are illustrated at 9.55 and 11.55.

Submitted byJandy1on Fri, 04/06/2018 - 19:11

Thanks Robert and EE,


  Thanks for telling me where to find an Illustration of it in Evidence explained.  I am trying to teach myself all these details of doing citations, it quite a task!  The book it overwhelming.

Betsy J.

Glad to help, Betsy. You've helped me, too. In the process of responding to you and Robert, I flipped to EE's index to look up "ARK" and discovered that I had not indexed that term. I've flagged it now for the next redo.

Of course, if you have the digital edition, then you can search for that term, but you have to wade through marks & brands books, gravesite markers, quotation marks, and similar terms. I isolated the two examples above by querying for ARK:/.


I appreciate your response. I have been reading your forum over the last six months.  The questions and answers help me understand some of the thinking processes. I felt very intimated about how to ask a question, which is one of the essential skills in doing a research report!   I decided to jump in and try formulating questions when I can't figure or comprehend a concept.  I appreciate that you have this site because sometimes you need a professional opinion.  The more I learn, the more completed this journey is.

Betsy J

Submitted byEEon Sun, 04/08/2018 - 15:56

In reply to by Jandy1

Betsy, we're all learning—no matter how long we've done research.  May I add a twist to one of your sentences? You say "How to ask a question ... is one of the essential skills in doing a research report."  We could drop that last word. Learning to pose a specific research question before we start a segment.  of research is essential for the research itself. It's not just something we do if we're preparing a report for someone. (Of course, this begs another question—we should be preparing reports for every block of research we do for ourselves—but that's another issue.)

If we start a block of research without defining our objective, then what will our research be based upon? The only option, then, is simply saying "Oh, here's a set of records I haven't used before, so I'll look up the names ABC and XYZ." But that, of course, would be just a "look up." Research calls for much more than just a name and a set of records. It also calls for strategies and context and correlation and analysis to get the most out of that set of records. And all those other factors vary according to the goal or question we have defined for that block of research. 

Do enjoy that journey.