FMP Parish Registers


I think that I have become somewhat adept with Ancestry and FamilySearch citations, but I am working in England now and FMP is driving me insane.  Without ARK addresses, or clear database names, I do not even know how to direct you to the source I am looking at.  Here's my best guess as to the proper citation.  If I am missing something, please let me know.  Thanks!


"Hertfordshire Baptisms," database with images, FindMyPast ( : accessed 15 October 2023), baptism entry for Ann Sweeting, 4 June 1769, unnumbered 54th page; citing Rickmansworth Parish Registers, vol. D/P 85 1/4.


The image of the book cover in the series is "Burials and Baptisms.  Burials.  1768-1797."  I am unsure where to put this.  Do I swap it with D/P 85 1/4 or follow it with a comma separator?


Thanks in advance!

Submitted byEEon Mon, 10/16/2023 - 11:00

Hello, spcchap. The good news is this:

  • The format, the principles, and the thought processes for citing material at FindMyPast are no different from citing materials at Ancestry or FamilySearch.
  • Whether a document was created in the U.S., England, or Brazil: the pattern, principles, and thought processes are the same.

At the most basic level, a citation has two purposes:

  1. Location: Identify the source so that others can find it.
  2. Evidence analysis: Identify your source well enough that you (or others) will understand what you used and its evidentiary strengths and weaknesses.

Purpose 1: Location

With a vast website such as FindMyPast, FamilySearch, etc., we typically have a choice of the URL to cite:

  1. Cite the home page that provides a search box and then include sufficient search terms to relocate the entry.
  2. Cite the exact URL for the named collection (if there is one), then the path to the actual document.
  3. Cite the exact URL for the document.

With a website as complex as these, we will always have a layered citation. Typically those layers are as follows:

Citing images

  • Layer 1: Record layer—details are drawn from the images themselves
  • Layer 2: Access layer—here we identify the database, website, etc.
  • Layer 3: Location layer (aka "citing ..." layer)—here we add any additional info the provider gives us about the location of the original.

Citing a database entry or extract: In these cases, we can combine the first two layers. Since we are not using the original, our emphasis is on the database:

  • Layer 1: Access and record layer, whose basic pattern is “Database,” Online Provider (URL : date), specific details given about our person as given in the database entry or extract.
  • Layer 2: “Citing …” layer, where we report what the provider cites as its source of the information for its database entry or extract.

In this case, FindMyPast provides full images of cover and pages from a record book. When we eyeball an authorized image of the original record and made our own interpretation of what it says, we usually want to feature that record book in Layer 1. We then relegate to Layer 2 the website that delivered access.  In this case, the provider and its images also identify the repository and the call number of the item at that repository.  Your three-layer citation would then be this:

     1. Rickmansworth Parish (Hertfordshire, England), “Burials & Baptisms: Baptisms 1768 to 1797,” unnumbered page, 1769: June 4, “Ann Daughter of John & Mary Sweeting”; imaged, FindMyPast ( : accessed 16 October 2023), frame 54; citing Rickmansworth Parish Registers D/P85 1/4, Hertfordshire Record Office.

Purpose 2: Descriptive details for analysis

When I read your citation itself, I was left with one major question: Did you use the website’s database entry or did you use an image of the source? There’s a major difference. Your query goes on to discuss the wording on the cover, implying that you did use the images. Your citation needs to reflect that.

Does this help?

Submitted byspcchapon Mon, 10/16/2023 - 15:20

Thank you for your excellent descriptions, this helps very much!  Do you happen to know if FMP uses stable URLs?  I know FamilySearch does, and I copy the address up to the question mark.  Ancestry and FMP, as far as I can tell, do not.  

I think what caused me the most heartburn on this particular citation is that I was trying to find and utilize a database name.  This is what I often do on Ancestry, where the database names are easy to find and simple to look up again in the Card Catalog.  FMP didn't have a clear database name.  I found a "record set" called 'Hertfordshire Baptisms', which takes me to the proper search box.  So that's what I went with.

I was at first referencing EE 7.38 when crafting my original citation, but I backed off because I thought that format may be for reviewing original records only (not online).  I see your citation starts off the same way EE 7.38 suggests:  Rickmansworth Parish (Hertfordshire, England),

Thanks again for all of your help!


spcchap, we are wise to never assume that any URL is "stable."

Your second paragraphs points to a significant issue that has developed in our use of online material. Citing material in a named database is different from citing material that is not in a named database. Most of the elements of the citation are the same, but the structure through which we access them are different.

Submitted bysgr1ff1thon Tue, 10/17/2023 - 08:57

I really dislike all the “%2F”s that often appear in URLs on FindMyPast, but these can all be replaced with “/” instead. Also, everything from “&parentid” onwards is unnecessary in this URL and can be deleted. The resulting URL is then, which is far shorter.

I routinely make these changes for my FindMyPast citations. For some URLs, e.g., for the 1921 Census, once I prune the URL (as above), it is much easier to see the “structure” of the URL, and how it relates to some of the elements required for the citation. For example:
can be condensed to
And with this shortened version, it is easy to pick out RG15 (which is the Archive series) and 17204 (which is the Piece number).