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Citing Primary Sources

Below are some commonly needed citations for primary sources in Note-Bibliography style. Examples are taken from Evidence Explained (2007) by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Archival Material  Example


Creator. Artifact Title (Quoted Exactly). Item Type. Creation Date. Collection. Repository, Repository Location.

Horst, “Aunt Elle,” et al. “Amish Friendship Sampler Album.” Quilt. Ca 1876-1900. Michigan Quilt Project. Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing.


1. Creator, Artifact Title, Item Type, Creation date; item number, collection; Repository, Repository Location. Descriptive detail relevant to the research project (optional).

1. “Aunt Ella” Horst et al., “Amish Friendship Sampler Album,” quilt, ca. 1876-1900; item 01.0011, Michigan Quilt Project; Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, Michigan. The archival description identifies the quilt makers collectively as “Friends of Annie Risser Horst.”

Private Holdings



Compiler. Artifact Type. Creation Date. Current or Last Known Owner. Owner’s Location.

Stabler, Zella (Lovell). Scrapbook. Ca. 1930-80. Privately held by Mrs. Stabler, Williamsport, Pennsylvania.


1. Item Description, Artifact Type, Creation Date; Current or Last Known Owner, Owner’s Location. [Optional: Add description and other information about the item as it related to the research].

1.    G.B. Wuster obituary, undated clipping from unidentified newspaper, in Zella (Loevll) Stabler Scrapbook, ca. 1930-80; privately held by Mrs. Stabler, Williamsport, Pennslyvania.

Census information (digital) 



Jurisdiction. Census ID, Schedule. Item type or format. Website creator/owner (if from an archive website). Website Title. Accessed Date. URL.

Iowa. Marion County. 1850 U.S. Census, population schedule. Digital images. April 18, 2013.


1. Census ID, Jurisdiction, Schedule, Civil Division, Page ID, Household ID, Person(S) of Interest; item type or format, webstie title, accessed date, URL.

1. 1850 U.S. census, Marion County, Iowa, population schedule, Lake Prairie, p. 290 (stamped), dwelling 151, family 156, Virgil W. and Wyatt B. Earp; digital image,, accessed April 18, 2013,

Vital Records



Jurisdiction. Series. Repository, Repository Location.

Maryland. Baltimore County. Marriage Certificates. Maryland Division of Vital Statistics, Baltimore.


1. Jurisdiction, certificate type & number (certificate date), id of person(s); Repository, Location.

1. Baltimore County, Maryland. Marriage certificate no. 8734 (1967), Matthews-Harmon; Maryland Division of Vital Statistics, Baltimore.

Citation Manuals

Primary & Secondary Sources