It's probably true that we struggle most with citations when we don't understand exactly what we are looking at. I am attempting to cite a Massachusetts marriage record that I found through FamilySearch. And I'm struggling with citation because I freely admit that I don't understand what I'm looking at. My law degree isn't helping me at all on this one.
The journey begins here:
The marriage of George D. Losaw and Mary Ann Funk was recorded in the Town of Sheffield. Sheffield is in Berkshire County. The Town of Sheffield's marriages for 1878 are are clearly marked as such on page 64 of a volume that has been given the title of Volume 298, Marriages 1878 although the title is just a piece of paper that has been microfilmed with that title - there is no image of the book's cover or spine (or is that title page the cover of the book? If so, the title itself appears to have been pasted on).
Looking more closely at Volume 298, the towns are arranged alphabetically but do not appear to be from a single county. The Berkshire county towns begin with Adams, Mass. on page 23 [image 642]. The page before Adams is the town of Yarmouth (Barnstable Co.). Nowhere is it clear in what's been microfilmed that Volume 298 contains Barnstable and Berkshire (and possibly other) counties. You can only determine that by looking at the towns and using logic. The title shot for this section of the microfilm looks like it is cut off with the title "Hampden County."
Just to confuse myself a bit more, I went back to Volume 291, which had been titled by the microfilm crew as Worcester County, and found that its first page contained marriages from the City of Boston. Conclusion: doubt the microfilm title shots.
All I want to do is cite this marriage in the Town of Sheffield on page 64 of an alleged Volume 298 that contains marriages from multiple counties that includes Berkshire, but does not explicitly say so...
... but FamilySearch suggests this citation:
"Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N4SF-CDL : 24 May 2018), George D. Lasaio and Mary Ann Funk, 26 Jan 1878; citing Sheffield, Berkshire, Massachusetts, United States, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1,433,038.
Of course, his name is Losaw, not Lasaio (transcription error, separate issue). But apart from that the suggested citation seems to omit key information about the record that's been microfilmed. Is Volume 298 a legitimate title and should I just accept it? Shouldn't Berkshire County be bracketed? Or should I just ignore the detail about the volume and page number, as FamilySearch suggests?
I know I'm not the first person to cite a Massachusetts marriage record from 1878, so perhaps I'm just overthinking it. In the meantime, I've pasted the link to the record into my own footnote and will come back to it another time, unless the wise folks on this forum can offer some suggestions.