A Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose—At Least When We Cite Them



4 August 2014

Or to put it another way: A kirchenbüch is a klokkerbøk is a church book.


Regardless of the country in which we do research, our citations to church books have essentially the same elements. It matters little whether the book is a sacramental register in Poland or a vaccination register in Norway, a register of incoming and outgoing servants such as those kept in Denmark, or a church census of the ilk found in Italy and Nordic countries. The basic elements for citing them are essentially the same:

  • Identity of creator (usually the church);
  • Identity of the book (which usually includes the time frame);
  • Identity of the specific item of interest (and, usually, the relevant date);
  • Location, within the book, of that item of interest.

The factors that do create variations within citations are usually these:

  • Whether the register is in the custody of the local church or a central archive;
  • Whether the register carries a distinctive title or whether it is a numbered volume within a named series.

Of course, the biggest issue of all is this: whether we are using a manuscript volume, a microcopy, a photocopy, a certificate, a digital image, a database entry,  a published abstract, a translation, or a transcript. It's those hybrids that present us with the thorniest issues. EE's Chapter 7 deals with quite a few of them.


Photo Credit: "Rose and Vintage Book," CanstockPhoto (http://www.canstockphoto.com : downloaded 3 August 2014), used under license.