Citing DAR Descendants Database

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steffie0128's picture
Citing DAR Descendants Database

I was hoping to obtain clarification about sourcing the GRS - Descendants Database on the website.  I am finding conflicting information between "Citing, Quoting and Reproducing DAR Sources PDF that is available on the site and EE.  It seems that DAR is stating to use the term Genealogical Research System (spelled out) and is italized where EE 4.20 pg. 196 has DAR Library italized.  Also, in addition to listing the entry for the relative that I am sourcing for, would you also cite the member name and National ID# for the descendant? Example: Stephanie Smith entry, citing [member name], [National ID#].

I would really appreciate clarification on how the "Descendants Database" should be sourced as I have a lot of people in that database.  Please let me know if you need clarification.

Thank you in advance for your reply.




rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

I was looking at the DAR PDF file for their Citation format

Citation for the GRS Database For the Ancestor Record:

Daughters of the American Revolution, “Ancestor Database.” database, Genealogical Research System ( : accessed [date]), [ancestor name, ancestor number].

Fictitious example: Daughters of the American Revolution, “Ancestor Database.” database, Genealogical Research System ( : accessed 1 January 2015), John Smith, A555555.

and have an additional question.

Should the URL be shortened to just ( ; accessed 1 January 2015) or even just ( : accessed 1 January 2015).

It seems to me that I can find the record just from the "home" URL, with an understanding of how their website works. Meaning, I can find where to search from.

Just expanding on Stephanie's Question.

Thank you,


EE's picture


The Wonderful Wooly Web has one frustrating habit. It won't "stay put."  Site creators continually make changes. The URLs change. The paths change. The database titles change. Website titles change. Owners change. And every change, unfortunately, creates a problem for researchres.

For each edition of EE (4 of them to date), the examples reflect what was found at the website at the time the book went to press. When a cited website alters itself, then researchers have to adapt. EE shows the  pattern to follow and the information items that would be considered essential. If a webpage's title is changed, then users will need to make that change. If a website's title changes, or the URL, or the path, then users will need to make those changes.

As for whether you would cite an individual descendant's name and number, that depends upon whether that specific data appears at the site and is essential to the location of the record. As you'll note at 4.19, these are included in citations to application files. EE 4.20, which you specifically referenced, deals with the GRCs, not the Descendants' Database. (That, too, would account for differences in the name as you see it on the Descendants' Database versus EE the EE 4.20 example.)

As for italics, we italicize the name of the website--just as we italicize the name of a book. For an individual "page" at a website, or database, or article, we put that item's title in quotation marks--followed by an identification of the website. Each time we use a website, we need to scrutinize it carefully to determine the current title that is used. Sometimes, we have to do a significant amount of background reading to determine what that title should be. The page to which you refer, for example, identifies "Daughters of the American Revolution" as the creator, "Genealogy Research" as the website title, and "Descendants Search" as the database title. Ergo, we would (ostensibly) cite the database this way:

Daughters of the American Revolution, "Descendants Search," database, Genealogy Research ...

However, at we are told, "The Genealogical Research System or GRS for short, is DAR’s online genealogical portal." Similarly, the how-to-cite page to which Russ has pointed you adds that word "System" to the website's title—even though the word does not appear in the title on the website itself. 

The bottom line is this:

  • At all library and archival sites, what the IT staff executes is not always what the librarians, archivists, and historians feel essential. 
  • As researchers, we have the fun of bridging those differences to create sound work of our own. It's frustrating. But in the process of working through the issues and differences, we come to understand the source much better. That understanding really does make it all worthwhile.

The Editor