Citing images from French Civil Register

I have several documents from the civil registers from the Archives of the Vosges ( I'm trying to make sure I'm citing them correctly.  In the example the only differences for the other documents would be the specifics for the document. 


Lemmecourt, Vosges, “registre d'état civil [civil resiter], 1855-1857”: entry 7, Charles Jules Poirosn; digital image, Departmental Archives of the Vosges, number 4E270/3, pg 7-8, ( accessed May 11, 2021), >État des registres paroissiaux et d’état civil numérisés (Communes I-Z) [List of digitized parish and civil status regiters] > Lemmecourt > naissances-mariages-décès [births, marriages, deaths] > 1855-1857 > 4E270/3.


any help with this would be appreciated. 

Submitted byEEon Thu, 09/23/2021 - 14:14


This is not a site that I’m experienced with. However, it appears from my exploration of the site that you are trying to cite two different things at once:

  • The database that provides an archival ID (cote) number needed to access the filmed image.
  • The actual image, which carries a partial citation.

When I used your citation, it took me to this web page


There, following the path you gave, I clicked on “État des registers paroissiaux et d’etat civil numérisés (Communes I-Z).”  That took me to a database, where I scrolled down to the next waypoint in your path (Lemmecourt) then searched for the next waypoint (naissances-mariages-décès).  At that point, I’m deep into a database that looks like this.



There, I see the other details you give in your citation as waypoints. However, when I click on your last "waypoint" (4E270/3), I go nowhere. That's because the database entry above (the one line that's flagged) is not a set of clickable waypoints. From what I'm seeing at this page of the database, there is nothing further to do to get to the document. I’m left with nothing but a database entry.

At that point, I went back to the webpage you cited. There, instead of clicking on the first of your waypoints, I used the search query box to search for the terms on the relevant one-line entry of the database: LEMMECOURT  /  naissances-mariages-décès / 1855-57 / 4E270/3.


That query gave me this:



Clicking on the thumbnail of the image took me to the image 1 of 18. There, I looked for images 7-8, which you cited, and it gave me the document you cite.

So, how do we cite all this? In a nutshell …

  • We’ve used the original image, so we cite the original image in the cleanest way possible.
  • We don’t cite the database entry or the process we went through to get to the image.  If we want to do that, that’s a whole different citation to a different source (the database entry is not the actual record) and requires a different explanation for you to make to those who read your research.


  • In citing the original image, we don’t see a book name or actual page numbers.
  • If we scroll back to the front of the set of 18 images, we still don’t see a book name or other ID.
  • In fact, from what we are eyeballing on the original image and the set of images in which it is grouped, we don’t even know the office/agency that created the document or the office/agency in which the original of this image can be found.  All we know is what it is, as identified in the stamp at the top of the page.  (Yes, the archive has added a sidebar that gives us a citation in several bits. But that is not data that we able to confirm in any way from the images that we are eyeballing.)


  • We cannot create a working citation to the original register.
  • Our citation should focus on the website and then the path that delivers the image.

A website is cited in the same manner in which we cite any publication:

Author/creator, Title of Publication in Italics (Place of publication/URL  : Date), exact item of interest

Two other basic citation rules kick in here for the type of website we're dealing with:

  • If a publication has no named author/creator—or if the name of the author/creator is the same as the title of the publication—we can skip the author/creator field of the citation to avoid needless repetition.
  • When our source cites another source, we add a “citing …” layer to report the source of our source.

Following these basics would give us this citation for the image:

         Archives Départementales des Vosges ( : accessed 23 September 2021) > images 7–8, Naissance de Charles-Jule Poirson, b. 4 September 1855 (registered 5 September 1855), natural son of Marie Poirson; citing Commune Lemmecourt (Vosges, France), État Civil, archived as Cote 4E270/3-43818, Archives Départementales des Vosges, Épinal, France.

Submitted byMYoung99on Fri, 09/24/2021 - 11:44

The book on the first page states the title as being Arrondissement Communal De Neufchateau, Commune de Lemmecourt. It also states that it is the Naissance, Marriage et Dece de Annee 1855. do I not cite any of this? 

Also it is Act 7 not image 7-8.  Act 8 has nothing to do with Charles Jules Poirson. 

Submitted byEEon Sun, 10/10/2021 - 20:38

MYoung99, my apologies for not seeing your response when it came through. Deadlines were fierce that week and I could not monitor this site as often as I would have liked. With regard to your two issues:

1. From what is imaged, we do not see a book. We see what appears to be an 18-page folio. From what we can see at the site, this could be part of a larger series that the archives has presented in small, more-navigable sections. What you are identifying as the "book title" (Naissances, Mariages [with one r] et Décès" is actually a section head that appears on images 1, 10, and 14, as each new section is introduced.

In some situations, the folder that is imaged behind this folio might be treated as a "book," in which case it would normallyl carry a title on the folder's cover. But the folder cover was not imaged for us. From what we see on the images, we cannot make a judgment. The details that you are concerned about in your question ("do I not cite any of this?") are covered in the second layer of the citation where we report the identification supplied by the archive. There is no point in repeating those two identifications twice.

2. Yes, you are citing Act 7; and yes, you may include that if you wish. However, you are also citing images 7 and 8. Act 7 begins at the very bottom of image 7, with most of the act carrying over to image 8.  When we access imaged records through a website's database and that database is the primary identification of what we have used, then the image numbers are an expected part of the citation.

Hopes this helps.

Submitted byHistory-Hunteron Thu, 12/30/2021 - 12:43

I, too, am having some issues with citing French civil registers. Unlike "MyYoung99", the departmental site I am consulting has actually digitized the bound register for each year. So I have stated the permalink for the volume, my title comes from image 2 and my data from image 54. The main site has a different URL and I may need it in future, so I appended a note for myself.

I wonder if the following First Reference note would be sufficient.

“Department d’Ill-et-Vilaine, Commune de Fougères, Actes de Mariages,” 1884–85. Digital Images. Archives et patrimoine d'ille-et-Vilaine ( : accessed 27 December 2021), image 54, acte no. 97, Henri Victor Marie Morel & Victorine Louise Tison, married 7 October 1884, Fougères; archival ref. “10 NUM 35115 313 – FOUGERES – 1884 – 1884 – Marriages – GREFFE.” Website homepage is

In the noted example, I made a small error in the order of the title components. It should read:

“Actes de Mariages, Department d’Ill-et-Vilaine, Commune de Fougères,” 1884. Digital Images. Archives et patrimoine d'ille-et-Vilaine ( : accessed 27 December 2021), image 54, acte no. 97, Henri Victor Marie Morel & Victorine Louise Tison, married 7 October 1884, Fougères; archival ref. “10 NUM 35115 313 – FOUGERES – 1884 – 1884 – Marriages – GREFFE.” Website homepage is

Submitted byarnaud.ruizon Thu, 08/11/2022 - 13:33

Hi, I tried to follow this example with another French website, 

Archives départementales de l'Aude ( > image 62, Déces de Rigols Jeanne Marie, 5 novembre 1869 (déclaré le meme jour), 57 ans, épouse de Germain Cassignol; cite Cazalrenoux (Aude, France), Etat Civil, cote 100NUM/5E87/11, Archives départementales de l'Aude, Carcassonne, France.

If I roll back to the first image, I notice that the image was digitalized from a FHL microfilm, though there is no reference. On the second image, the operator reference the record that was microfilmed: Cazalrenoux, N[aissance] M[ariage] D[eces] (1866-1875).

Would you recommend to keep the citation as is, or to add a layer for the FHL microfilm?



Submitted byEEon Thu, 08/11/2022 - 17:25

Hello, arnaud.ruiz. Welcome to EE.

You've done well. When online providers deliver images from film created by the GSU, we can certainly add that notation to our citation in our working notes. In this case, as you've pointed out, there is no usable film number by which to identify it. With GSU film that has been cataloged into the Family History Library system, using the FHL film number allows others to access the GSU film if that is a more convenient access method for them. But that access would not be available from the GSU film number on image 1.

The one issue we might raise would be the reason for using the generic "État Civil" phrasing rather than the specific "Actes de naissance, mariage, décès (1866–1875)," that the provider cites when we click on the grey link at the top of the image and a fly-out appears with a citation.