Standard Elements of a Citation

First and Last Name of Author or Agency, "Title of Periodical, Article, or Specific Web Page," Title of Published Book, Film, or Main Title of Website, Series Title, Volume or Section, if in volumes (Geographic place or Online: Name of Publisher, 20** {date of pub.})[English Translation or additional descriptive material regarding original publication], p. ## {or certificate #, or other specific document reference}, accessed {date}, Where found {Archive, Media, and Call #}. Document ___.


Who Author or Agency (if given or known) Credit the creator of the source (identify if editor, compiler, translator, etc.) as on the title page. When it is a government agency, include the jurisdiction (county, state, Federal, etc.)
What Title(s), Edition, Description "Use quotes for articles, chapters, individual web pages," Italics for Books, Titles of Periodicals, Website titles for conglomerate sites, #th ed. [if needed]
Where Place & Publisher/Provider City, State Abbreviation: {colon} Name of Publisher {of book, of primary website, etc.}
When Date of Record Copyright or publication year, date information accessed, or date information created.
(to find)
Reference & Repository or location List specific page, certificate, entry, dwelling, family, and/or line #s. Report to whom the record references. Note any internal archive reference to specific item or fact. Most importantly, list name of archive, media type, and call number.
(it is useful)
Remarks (if needed) about the source Use brackets to add remarks like information on the original publication, or translations of the source title, description  or evaluations regarding the source (condition, legibility, knowledge of informant, oddities of the internal arrangement, completeness, etc.)



General Rules

  • Cite what you see and where you saw it (in a book, online, CD-ROM, etc.)
  • Use (parentheses) for publisher information.
  • "When in doubt, don't leave it out!"
  • Use [brackets] for information you add as descriptive material.
  • Use <angle brackets> for website addresses <>
  • Generally, the only " . " (period) in a footnote is at the end.



Be consistent and use standard abbreviations. If you do not know a standard abbreviation, then don't abbreviate. Abbreviations are only helpful if the reader understands what you're trying to abbreviate!

comp. = compiler
trans. = transcriber
ed. = editor
p. = page
pp. = pages
n.d. = no date
N.p. = no publisher
U.S. = United States
Co. = Company
Inc. = Incorporated
vol. = volume
vols. = volumes
[for U.S. States] = use the standard two letter postal code
FHL = Family History Library
NARA = National Archives and Records Administration
GSU = Genealogical Society of Utah

Kory L. Meyerink, "Standard Elements of a Citation," ProGenealogists, updated 19 Sep 2003 (Online: ProGenealogists, Inc., 2003),


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