Citing Riksarkivet

Trying again.  Attaching image this time of a screen grab from my genealogy software program.  

I do not know how to cite Riksarkivet.  I do not know who runs Riksarkivet, who compiles the databases, who to give the credit to, or anything.  I am only guessing when I have filled out the template that is the image I have attached.

It would be so much easier if I could just see an example of a citation for Riksarkivet.  You say you have one, but I do not see it in your most recent edition (2017).

Submitted byEEon Sat, 03/07/2020 - 21:06

Swede_dane2021, I know you're frustrated. But I can't give you a citation unless you upload a document or screen grab that shows exactly what you're using. It doesn't work to just give me the details you've extracted into your software template. That leaves me with no way of evaluating the record itself to recognize whether something critical was left out or misinterpreted when you selected details to enter into your software's template.

Let's back up a bit. It's good that you made this comment:

I do not know how to cite Riksarkivet.  I do not know who runs Riksarkivet, who compiles the databases, who to give the credit to, or anything.

When we encounter a new website, always we need to take the time to study the site itself--not just copy the item of interest. That study of the website is how we learn who created the site, whether it's an official government-agency site offering officially archived materials, or whether it’s a conglomeration of things created by various other entities. A trustworthy site will also provide much background we need to understand its records. If we don't understand the website we are using, we won't understand how to cite the source and, more importantly, we won't understand how to use the source and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.

Riksarkivet is Sweden's National Archives. The home page is here:  Do read the "about." Explore the site. Use all the link buttons to find out about the types of records that they have to offer. Read the pages that tell you how its records are organized; you need that understanding in order to adequately identify what you are using.

Regardless of the archive or website, there is no one citation model we can rotely copy without adapting it to fit what we are using. But we do have to understand the records that we use in order to make those adaptations.

Riksarkivet's materials may be accessed in various ways:

  1. at the archive itself, where we would consult manuscripts
  2. at a library such as FHL, where we would consult microfilm
  3. online, where we would consult digital images--or else database entries created by the archive to give us a few basic facts

For access methods 2 and 3, when we’re using images of the original documents rather than the originals themselves, we have two things to cite:

  • Layer 1, the document
  • Layer 2, the identity of the provider of the film or the digital images

In EE’s QuickStart Guide, on the page for “Manuscripts & Online Images,” note the Robert Coalter  example. This demonstrates the use of materials from a major archive—such as Riksarkivet—which organizes all its materials within Record Groups.  

From there, turn to Chapter 3, “Archives and Artifacts.” The start of this chapter explains how large archives organizes their material. It explains the basic pieces of information that we need to include in our citation to manuscript materials.

EE 6.57 (in the chapter on censuses) and 7.45 (in the chapter on church records) both carry examples for records archived at Riksarkivet.  EE 7.45 also discusses seven different types of church records held in Riksarkivet, to help users distinguish between them and understand the purposes for which they were created.

In both EE examples, you will note:

  • the first part of the citation (layer 1) cites the manuscript;
  • the second part (layer 2) cites the published format in which we use the record.

The two examples at 6.57 and 7.45 both cite the microfilm. You are using the website.  The adaptation is easy.

  • Layer 1: Create your citation to the document image using the model for Jarnä at EE 7.45. You will substitute the appropriate details for your document and the collection and record group, etc., in which the document is archived. The data that Riksarkivet attaches to the image will usually supply these pieces of information. Then add a semicolon to mark the end of that layer.
  • Layer 2: Instead of citing the microfilm, you’ll cite the website. Follow the basic website model in the QuickStart Guide— “Database Title,” Creator of Website, Title of Website (URL : Date).

Finally, all of the comments above are based on a presumption that you are using actual imaged documents from the website, as opposed to a database entry or “extract” that Riksarkivet created to give you a rough idea of what the document is all about.  Those are two significantly different types of material that need to be cited differently. This is one of the reasons why I say that I cannot give you a model you can simply follow in every jot and tittle if I have not seen what you are trying to cite. EE 2.1 tells us:

Citation is an art, not a science. As budding artists, we learn the principles—from color and form to shape and texture. Once we have mastered the basics, we are free to improvise. … Records and artifacts are like all else in the universe: each can be unique in its own way. Therefore, once we have learned the principles of citation, we have both an artistic license and a researcher’s responsibility to adapt those principles to fit materials that do not match any standard model.

But first, we do have to take the time to (a) understand what we are using; and (b) learn the basic principles of citation and evidence analysis. That's how we ensure that we use trustworthy sources and that we can relocate them when we need to. That's why EE was created: it provides the basic principles of citation and analysis and it offers a very basic introduction to thousands of different types of source. But, even in 892 pages, it can't give exact models for every type of document (including all the quirks of each), in every archive, every website, and every delivery format.


Submitted byswede_dane2021…on Sun, 03/08/2020 - 18:17

Thank you for your help.  As soon as I can find someone who can teach me how to create an image of what I am looking at in the format you want (jpeg), I can upload.  I cannot find anyone on the web who can tell me how to make a screen grab on a macbook air and change it to a jpeg.

Submitted byEEon Sun, 03/08/2020 - 19:42

Swede_dane2021, here at EE we do not use a Mac or MacBook. However, wikiHow's instructions for a screen grab seem simple: hold down the command key and the shift key at the same time that you type the number 3. That gives you an image in png. Our EE site uses png as well as jpg. Hope this helps.

Submitted byF.T.C.on Mon, 07/25/2022 - 13:15

I’d like to continue this thread. The title of the screen shot that swede_dane2021 uploaded to this forum 7 March 2020 from a genealogy software program shows the person of interest, Kristina Nordlund, entry 105, born 22 October 1881, plus some source and location information for the record to be cited. Note that the screen shot refers to page 92, not image 92.

The record image can be seen at . (Note that there is an underscore before “00097”.) As EE has explained elsewhere, long URLs change frequently. As a convenience to researchers who either don’t read Swedish or are unfamiliar with the web site, I propose citing the above link, provided in the “About the Item” panel at that location, rather than the Archives’ home page, , or either of its start pages, (in Swedish) or (in English).

Because some information about the record is in Swedish, even when using the English interface, I’m offering two sets of proposed citations, with and without important Swedish terms and their English translations:

First reference note:

Arbrå Parish (Gävleborgs län, Hälsingland, Sweden), Födelse- och dopböcker [Birth and baptismal books], 1877–1885, 92; digital images, Riksarkivet [Swedish National Archives],  ( : accessed 22 July 2022), C-5:97.


Arbrå Parish (Gävleborgs län, Hälsingland, Sweden), Birth and baptismal books, 1877–1885, 92; digital images, Swedish National Archives, ( : accessed 22 July 2022), C-5:97.

Subsequent note:

Arbrå Parish, Födelse- och dopböcker [Birth and baptismal books], 1877–1885, C-5:92.


Arbrå Parish, Birth and baptismal books, 1877–1885, C-5:92.

Source list entry:

Arbrå Parish (Gävleborgs län, Hälsingland, Sweden). Födelse- och dopböcker [Birth and baptismal books], 1638–1938. Digital images. Riksarkivet [Swedish National Archives]. Kyrkoarkiv [Church archives]. : 2022.


Arbrå Parish (Gävleborgs län, Hälsingland, Sweden). Birth and baptismal books, 1638–1938. Digital images. Swedish National Archives. Church archives. : 2022.


  1. I’ve seen both square editorial brackets and parentheses used in various translation examples in EE. Is one preferred over the other? (My preference is for brackets to maintain parallel usage with the general practice of putting editorial insertions in square brackets and to distinguish the type of information they enclose from that enclosed in parentheses elsewhere in a citation.)
  2. Having used only the digitized image, do I need to include the fact that the original books are held at Landsarkivet [National Archives], Härnösand?
  3. Does using the shorter URL (the “Link” under “About the Item” in the right-hand panel of the screen) meet citation standards or is it necessary to use a different URL?
  4. The record spans two “pages,” of which only the right-hand one is numbered (92). Is this a folio situation that should be cited as “folio 91 (verso) – folio 92 (recto)” or is the simpler “92” or “p. 92” or “folio 92” appropriate? I lean toward “92” because it’s obvious when looking at the double page that each entry spans both pages.
  5.  Swedish archive codes were created at the national level, not the parish level. Am I correct in including the code (C-5, i.e., Archive Code C, volume 5) only in the second layer of the citation? (I have used the form C-5, as suggested by EE elsewhere, rather than C5 or C:5 for clarity because other archive codes contain roman numerals, some of which can be confused with arabic numerals in certain fonts.
  6. Presumably the text to which a citation to this record would be attached would make clear that the person of interest is Kristina Nordlund. Is there any need to insert her name, entry number or birth date?
  7. In the short citation, is there a need to include any information from the second layer of the full citation?
  8. If another volume of the same parish’s birth and baptismal records were to be cited later in the same narrative for a different individual, would one need to use a full first citation or could one simply modify the shorter citation to fit the individual details?
  9. Same question as #8 but for a different group of records, say Archive Code E, Lysnings- och vigselböcker [Banns and marriage books]?
  10. I’ve italicized Riksarkivet in the reference notes as the name of the web site but not done so in the source list entry, where it seems to me to appear more in the role of publisher. Correct or not?
  11. I’ve italicized Kyrkoarkiv in the first source list entry (using the Swedish interface) but not the translation [Church archives]. In the second source list entry (using the English interface), I’ve italicized Church archives. In both cases, the italicized terms are the generic record collection descriptions found at the web site. Have I done that correctly?

EE’s critique would be most appreciated.


Submitted byEEon Sun, 07/31/2022 - 08:46

Hello, F.T.C.,  in answer to your 11 questions:

1. EE owes an apology here. Editorial alterations in the last edition resulted in some examples using one and some using the other. The entries are flagged for correction in the next edition. Although some other style guides recommend parentheses, EE favors the use of brackets because EE focuses heavily upon records whose citations would already use simple parens for locational data and other purposes.

2. If our online provider tells us that the original record is held at Wherever, then yes: we should report that. That is the purpose of the last layer in which we say "Citing ...."

3. Whether to cite the website’s landing page, or the URL that leads to a collection/database, or the full URL that leads to the exact image is a choice we make based on the nature of the record and the site. The object is to ensure that the user of our citation (which may be us at a future point) can get to that specific image without undue problems. If we cite to the landing page or the collection, then we will need to provide search terms or a path to go from there to the specific image.

4. In cases this clarification is needed, verso means “reverse side,” not “opposite page.” Recto means “right side.” We may prefer to use the terms “front” or “back.” (EE 6.8) If we’re working with sheet numbers or folio numbers that are numbered on the right side, then one of three situations usually happen:

  • A census household, say, begins on the numbered page and then carries over to the reverse side. That calls for citing a numbered page and the verso.
  • A two-page census entry (say, U.S. census of 1840 or the auxiliary schedules through 1880), will list individuals on the numbered page and then carry over everyone’s entry to the reverse side. That calls for citing the numbered page and the verso.
  • A ledger that is designed to be a two-page spread, with each person’s entry spanning the two pages and the number appearing on one side only, would be cited by that number, with a notation that it is a two-page spread.

5. An archival code created by an archive is grouped with the data on the archive. If we go to an archive and personally use the records there, so we can attest that a specific document was in a volume or box that bore a certain code, then we cite that code with the document. If we are using a document online, then our first layer identifies the document to the extent that we can identify it by eyeballing the image. Then, in a new layer, we cite the online provider (which may be an archive or a commercial entity). Then we add the “citing ….” layer in which we report whatever additional details the provider gives us. Usually, that’s the ID of a film, the name of an archival collection or an archival code, along with the location of the original.

6. For clarity and consistency, EE recommends including the exact name of the person as used in the record, along with the date or year.

7. Typically, no. But every rule has its exception. The object is clarity.

8. If a different volume is cited, that different volume often carries a different URL or a different path to get to it. EE would use the full citation for the newly introduced volume, unless a set of volumes was being cited as a series and all had the same URL. 

9. Same answer.

10. If Riksarkivet is the website’s title in our reference note, then why would it not be the website’s title in the source list entry?  If we use archival records online, the source list entry would identify the online site. It would be misleading to simply cite the physical archives as though we had gone there.

11. The names of archives, collections, etc. are not italicized. In citations, italics are used to indicate that a work is published as a standalone item. In “everyday writing,” there are a few other conventional use of italices—examples: for ship names or at the first usage of a word from another language. See EE 2.68 (italics).

Submitted byF.T.C.on Mon, 08/08/2022 - 16:02

Hello again, EE,

A belated thank-you for sharing your time and expertise so generously. You certainly don’t need to apologize for the mixture of examples using parentheses vs. square brackets in the current edition of your citations manual. I’m happy to know a new edition with even more helpful details is planned! Any idea when it might be published?

To continue the Riksarkivet thread, could you please tell me if these amended versions of my reference notes and source list entry, in which I've tried to incorporate your recent input, now meet standards?

First Reference Note (with Swedish terms and English translations):

Arbrå Parish (Gälvsborgs län, Hälsingsland, Sweden), Födelse- och dopböcker [Birth and baptismal books], 1877 – 1885, double-page 92, Kristina [Nordlund], born 22 October 1881; digital images, Riksarkivet [Swedish National Archives], ( : downloaded 22 July 2022), C-5:97, citing originals at Landsarkivet i Härnösand [Swedish National Archives, Härnösand].

I’ve used the URL supplied by the web site as a direct link to the image because using the full URL led only to the Arbrå kyrkoarkiv collection page.

I’m wondering if it might be appropriate to substitute “reproducing” for “citing” since the web site does reproduce the originals instead of just referencing them or extracting information from them.

Another option I’ve considered is incorporation of the originals’ location in the first layer, using as a model EE, 2007 edition (the only one at my disposal pending resolution of my Kindle Library problem), p. 312, for QuickCheck Model, Church Books: Named Volume Archived Off-site, then using the second citation layer as above but without the “citing” phrase. Would that also work?

First Reference Note (English only):

Arbrå Parish (Gälvsborgs län, Hälsingsland, Sweden), Birth and baptismal books, 1877 – 1885, double-page 92, Kristina [Nordlund], born 22 October 1881; digital images, Swedish National Archives, ( : downloaded 22 July 2022), C-5:97, citing originals at Swedish National Archives, Härnösand.

I’m still confused. You pointed out that the names of archives and translations from foreign languages are not italicized but the names of web sites are. The first usage of “Swedish National Archives” (following “digital images”) is a translation of the Riksarkivet web site name. Should I italicize “Swedish National Archives” there or dodge the italicizing issue by substituting Riksarkivet in order to avoid the false impression that I’d used the material at the physical archives’ location?

Subsequent Reference Note (with Swedish terms):

Arbrå Parish, Födelse- och dopböcker, 1877 – 1885, double-page 92.

Subsequent Reference Note (English only):

Arbrå Parish, Birth and baptismal books, 1877 – 1885, double-page 92.

Source List Entry (with Swedish terms and English translations):

Arbrå Parish (Gävleborgs län, Hälsingland, Sweden). Födelse- och dopböcker [Birth and baptismal books], 1638–1938. Digital images. Riksarkivet [Swedish National Archives]. Kyrkoarkiv [Church archives]. : 2022.

Source List Entry (English only):

Arbrå Parish (Gävleborgs län, Hälsingland, Sweden). Birth and baptismal books, 1638–1938. Digital images. Swedish National Archives. Church archives. : 2022.

Same confusion as above regarding italicizing “Swedish National Archives” or not vs. substituting “Riksarkivet.”

Thank you again for your patience and generosity!


Submitted byEEon Tue, 08/09/2022 - 09:47

F.T.C., no, neither my publisher nor I can never say when a new edition will appear. A number of factors have to align before a new edition happens.

Your First Reference Note (paragraph 3) is excellent.

After that, you ask:

I'm wondering if it might be appropriate to substitute "reproducing" for "citing" since the web site does reproduce the originals instead of just referencing them or extracting information from them.

"Reproducing" and "citing" are two different things. Your citation already states that you used the digital images provided by the website.  The "citing ..." phrase reports what the website tells us about the identity and archival location of the document.

Re your "Another option" question, EE would recommend your current citation.

Re the "English only" version, EE would recommend the longer citation that identifies the exact Swedish words that appear as labels on the documents, together with the translation. If the objective is to make it easier or clearer for English-only users, then there arises the problem of translating the English words back into the Swedish for relocation if the URL suffers from a typo or link rot.  That re-translation could easily result in different wording that could hamper relocation.

Re "I'm still confused ..."  Websites are publications, therefore we italicize their titles. We italicize the exact words that they use. If we add our own words to the exact title, we misrepresent what the exact words are. Therefore, when we translate a title, to ensure clarity, we do not put our translation in italics.  (EE 2.23, 3.12, and QuickCheck Model at 659)

As with First Reference Note, EE would use the Swedish-language titles or the Swedish+ English Translation versions for your Subsequent Reference Note and Source List Entry, as opposed to "English only."

Submitted byF.T.C.on Tue, 08/09/2022 - 15:36

Dear E.E.,

Thank you so much for the detailed explanations of how to create proper citations for images of parish records viewed at the Riksarkivet web site. I think I'm finally out of questions, at least regarding that item :-) You've been more than generous with your time and expertise, for which I'm most grateful.

Best wishes,


Submitted byF.T.C.on Sun, 02/19/2023 - 15:39

Still more questions

Hello, EE,

Previously you answered several questions that I posed in this thread, beginning with my comment dated 07/25/2022. Now I find that I need to cite several birth, marriage and death records from a single volume of Swedish parish records that are imaged at the Riksarkivet web site. I’ll be citing some of them as subsequent reference notes as well as first reference notes. I want to do so as briefly as possible while still meeting standards, but I’m not sure whether or not I can omit certain details after the first citation.

The volume contains separate sections for birth/baptismal records, death/burial records and banns/marriage records. The pages are numbered consecutively for the volume as a whole, with odd page numbers (1, 3, 5) appearing on the right-hand page of the images and left-hand pages being unnumbered. Entries are confined to a single page rather than running across two facing pages. The drop-down box for jumping to a particular image/page and other information provided by the Riksarkivet site list only the odd-numbered pages.

Following your suggestions earlier in the thread and elsewhere, including leading with the record rather than the database:


Böne Parish (Älvsborgs län, Sweden), Kyrkobok [Church book], 1792–1861, 71, Carl Edvin [Johanson], born 10 March 1859; imaged, Riksarkivet [Swedish National Archives] ( : downloaded 18 February 2023), C-3:45; citing originals at Landsarkivet i Göteborg [Swedish National Archives, Gothenburg].


Böne Parish, Kyrkobok, 1792–1861, 71, Carl Edvin [Johanson], born 10 March 1859.

I’m reasonably confident about those two but less so about the following ones:


Böne Parish, Kyrkobok, 1792–1861, 163, Jacobson–Svensdotter marriage, 22 June 1845; imaged, Riksarkivet ( : downloaded 18 February 2023), C-3:79.


Böne Parish, Kyrkobok, 1792–1861, 163, Jacobson–Svensdotter marriage, 22 June 1845.

QUESTION 1: Could you please tell me if my proposed reference notes are satisfactory and, if not, what I need to restore/add/change to make them meet standards?

QUESTION 2: As noted above, the only page numbers on the images are the right-hand page numbers. In my proposed citations to the first record, the entry of interest is on the unnumbered left-hand page, which is actually page 70, facing the numbered page 71. In this case there is only one Carl Edvin on either page, so the correct entry is easy to find. However I notice that the first entries on both pages 70 and 71 happen to be for two children named Selma [Andersdotter], so I think it might be more helpful to the reader always to use the more specific page number, 70 in this case, if doing so would not cause confusion or appear to be an error. Should I use what I see, 71, or change 71 to the actual page number, perhaps in editorial brackets, [70]? (I do understand your response to a related question of mine in point 4 of your reply dated 7/31/2023 earlier in this thread.)

Thank you so much for considering these additional questions.


Submitted byEEon Mon, 02/27/2023 - 08:45

F.T.C., your formats work, except for one thing: When you type the sequence "1792-1861,163" the number "163" needs explaining for clarity. See EE 2.14.