Contemplating questionable citations

I have been ordering a lot of South African death register transcriptions and images from the Cape Town Archives. I do this through a great website called It is essentially a name index of death registers that are available at the archive, with the ability to order and pay online for an image or transcription. After a few weeks, I receive an email alert that the record has been uploaded so that I can sign in, and view and download it.

bayman james william death registration 1897While I have been relying heavily on these records in my van Pletzen family research, I don’t really have any definite citation information. I know that I have a copy that I ordered through, and that the original records are held in the Cape Town Archives. Most records have a number on them. However, for someone looking at my research, that probably isn’t enough to find the original record themselves. So how do I cite my source in these cases?

Until now, I’ve been treating the citations as if it was something I found on a website, like this:

“South African Death Records index”, database, (; accessed 26 April 2010), database entry for James William Bayman, record #2658.

The problem with this is that the information in the transcribed death register is not on the website. The website only contains an index of names and the year of the record. This citation would really only direct someone to where they can order a copy of the record themselves.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I can cite a more comprehensive source, and I’m wondering about using my van Pletzen genealogy blog, The van Pletzen Saga.  Many of the death registers I received from get posted on that blog. So I’m wondering about using the blog post as the source citation rather than the original source. In most cases, I indicate in the blog post that I received the document image through

So, my question for all you source citation experts is, “Is this kosher?” I haven’t found a way for someone to get to the same information I have other than ordering a transcription or going to Cape Town themselves. If I post the document on my blog saying that I ordered it through, can I cite my blog post as the source of the information so others can access the same information? Is there a better way to cite the original record?

Leave your bits of wisdom, insight and guidance in the comments. They would be most appreciated.


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