Medical license verification through district court

I am citing information about a medical license issued by the District Court in Williamson County, Texas, but because this record set is new to me, I thought I'd get input on this citation

Williamson County, Texas Medical Register: 76, A. C. Mussil medical license, 3 December 1909; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 Nov 2023), image 251 of film 5788521.

The book spine is imaged here:

Submitted byEEon Mon, 11/20/2023 - 10:05

Matthew, let's first address that statement: "Because this record set is new to me, I thought I'd get input on this citation.” Whether an unpublished register has marriage licenses or medical licenses or dog licenses, the basic formula for the record book is the same. 

Layer 1: Creator/Jurisdiction/Agency/Whatever, “Exact Title of Register,” page number, specific item & date;

Layer 2: Where/how we accessed the record.

Your citation has all the essential elements are there.  You’ve done well. For clarity and conformity to grammar rules, EE would tweak a couple of points.

Williamson County, Texas, Medical Register,” 76, A. C. Mussil medical license, 3 December 1909; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 Nov. 2023) > Image Group Number (IGN) 5788521 > image 251 of 1188.

A couple of the alterations involve issues covered in EE’s Chapter 2.  A couple involve issues specific to FamilySearch that aren’t in the current edition of EE because they’ve developed since the last edition.  So, thank you for giving us the opportunity to alert others.


  • A comma is needed after “Texas,” for two reasons: (1) When citing city/county and state, the grammatical rule is to set off the name of the state as an appositive, placing a comma before and after the state name. (2) In this particular case, without that closing appositive comma, we end up with a book called “Texas Medical Register,” but that’s not the name of the register you’ve used. (See EE 2.64, section SEPARATION OF DATES AND LOCALES.)
  • Quotation marks are placed around the title of unpublished books, when we copy the title exactly. Put another way: anytime we copy words exactly, we put quotation marks around them—it doesn’t matter what the source or what the occasion. This is a basic rule of research and writing. (EE 2.72, Quotation Marks, section MANUSCRIPT TITLES.)


  • When citing URLs at FamilySearch, we can drop the question mark and anything that comes after it, to shorten the URL. (Robert Raymond, Deputy CGO–FamilySearch, to E.S. Mills, email, 15 May 2023)
  • Rather than “film 55788521” for online images that aren’t actually film, FamilySearch requests that we use “Image Group Number,” which we can abbreviate as IGN. Yes, above each image at, we do see a line that says “Film xxxxxxx,” but FamilySearch is phasing that out. In the FS catalog we also see the term “DGS” used for film—referring to “Digital Genealogical Society,” a term that FS used when it began to create these digital images. That, too, is being phased out. FS has asked that we use either Image Group Number or IGN for long-term durability.  (David E. Rencher, Chief Genealogical Office–FamilySearch, to E. S. Mills, email, 15 May 2023.)
  • Your citation states “image 251 of film 5788521.” I’ve changed that to   IGN 5788521 > image 251, for two reasons: (1)   We cite the film > image number, for the same reason that we cite volume: page when citing a multi-volume book; we don’t say “page 251 of volume 5.”   (2) In the digital world when we say “image 251 of _____,” the second number should be the total number of images in the set. 

The last bullet above involves an issue that many users are not aware of; hence, I’ll address it in more detail. Citing the total number of images in a record set has not been considered obligatory. However, there is a very good reason for doing so. Online image providers occasionally have a need to remove one or more images from a set. Doing so will change the image number of anything that follows the images that were removed. 

When we say that we have used “IGN 5788521 > image 251” that seems sufficient. However, we may come back to this source in a later year and find that our item of interest is no longer on image 251 because, say, images 123–25 had been removed. That will leave us (or users of our citation) thinking that we erred.  On the other hand, if we had used the phrase IGN 5788521 > image 251 of 1188, then when our citation is used (by us or someone else at a later date), and we see that there are now just 1185 images, we are alerted to the fact that the record set has been altered. Simple math can then help us relocate the new image number, and we’ve eliminated any false conclusion that we erred.

Thanks for the clarification and changes to the citation. I am usually very good about following grammatical rules, but I think it might be time for me to reread chapters 1 and 2 of EE.

Also, if we were to run across the scenario described in your last paragraph, would you recommend that researchers then update their citations? (I'm thinking yes.)

You mentioned a new edition of EE being in the works. Is there an estimated publication date?

mbcross, if we go back and try to "clean up" our database or past research notes every time some provider makes a change, we could spend most of our research time just altering past notes. A more-practical practice would be to make whatever changes are necessary at the time we publish a portion of our work.

Also my reference above was to the "current" edition, not a new edition.