Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Finding the Source Title of Images at FamilySearch - Tuesday's Tip

When I add a source to RootsMagic it asks for the item title.  If the image/source I've found at FamilySearch (and sometimes on Ancestry.com, too) comes from a collection, such as county marriage records, I'm given this:

Citing this Record
"Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.11/VF9X-W#T : accessed 08 Sep 2013), Christian Gerner and Amanda Daubenspeck, 1886.

This information is helpful and I especially like the fact that it gives me a direct link to the image of the record, but it doesn't tell me which county.  To my way of thinking, it only gives me the title of the collection in FamilySearch, not the title of the source.

I can go back one screen and look at the indexing information (shown below) but I still don't have the title of the record where this document was originally recorded.

But if I return to the screen with the image of the document, just above it there's a box where I can type the image number I want to view.

I can easily move within the online book/image collection by typing a number in that image number box.  If I type "1" it will take me to the beginning of the book where, hopefully, I will be able to find a title.  It will probably not be at image 1, but by image 3 or 4, I should see a title.

In this case, at image 3 I found the title which had been typed when the microfilm was originally made.  That was good, but I thought I should be able to see the title page or cover of the actual book, so I moved ahead another page or two.

At image 5 there was a photograph of the cover of the docket book from which the image had come. 

I feel much happier using "Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Marriage License Docket 3" or some variation of that instead of "Pennsylvania, County Marriages" as the title of my source.

Of course I also include the citation information provided by FamilySearch, including the direct link, in my documentation.  

Am I being too particular?  I don't think so.  It's important to me to know where the record was created and recorded, know the physical location of the actual source, as well as being able to find it online.



  1. Hi Nancy,

    Well done...I do something very similar. I often will check the FHL Catalog for the title once I know the microfilm number (usually on image 1). I then cite all of the above, including the path to the image and the image number so that someone else can find it if they care to. I don't like the way FS ignores the bread crumb trail to the record and only provides a link to it.

    Cheers -- Randy Seaver

    1. Thank you, Randy. I appreciate your kind words.

      I always think it's better to have too much information in a source rather than too little (even if the citation doesn't follow EE.

  2. You rock, Nancy! That's a great tip!

    1. Thanks, Wendy. I debated even posting about it because I assume most people already knew to go to the beginning to find the title. They probably do....

  3. Excellent pointers and perspective, Nancy. I have also followed Randy's procedure. Sometimes one only can get a perspective on where the record comes from in the collection description, particularly if the records are not from microfilm but imaged from documents directly (such as the General Land Office Tract Books).

    One hindrance in following your lead is if one wants to use the auto-generated citation directly in a FS-FamilyTree "source box". FamilySearch has made it impossible to edit the source citation to add actual-source data, but one can do so by making a copy of it and editing this copy. Or one can copy the auto-generated citation to a word processor, edit for completion, and ~then~ add to one's source box plus the record URL (which must also be copied and pasted) and specific record description.

    1. Thanks for your contribution to the discussion, Geolover. My thought processes on citing sources had gone only as far as adding complete information to my RootsMagic files and had not progressed to FamilySearch FamilyTree. Now that you mention it I can certainly see your point and appreciate your sharing a work-around to add more complete information in the FS source box. I will give it a try. Thanks!

  4. Hi Nancy, thanks so much for posting this. I never thought of doing this! But I will try this next time I look through an image on the FamilySearch website. Thanks!

  5. Nancy, I'm with Ginger. Never thought of doing this! But guess what? I will now. Excellent post and thank you for sharing it.

    1. Thanks, msualumni. I assumed most people already did this. I guess a few more people will do it now! Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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