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Understanding the source information behind Historical Records results
Symptoms (Problems)
  • What do the words EASY, VR, and ODM, found on the record details, signify?

  • What is the GSU film number or Digital GS number?

  • What is the image number or reference number?
  • How do I cite a source for my record?
Answer (Resolution)

Information about the source materials

  • The GSU number or film number is the number of the film or fiche that can be ordered from the Family History Library. GSU or GS refers to the Genealogical Society of Utah, the former name of FamilySearch. See 106774, "How to find an image in the FamilySearch Catalog using the film number found in Historical Records." See also 114360, "How to locate and search the International Genealogical Index (IGI)."

  • The Digital Film or GS number is the number of the digital version of the film.

  • The image number indicates the placement of the image on the film copy, much like each picture on a digital camera is numbered.

  • The reference number is the number stamped or written on the document, such as a death, marriage, or birth certificate number.

  • Sometimes a page number is listed that relates to the actual page number on the record (not to be confused with the page number in the viewer program).

  • Sometimes an FN number is listed for a birth, marriage, or death record, indicating the actual certificate number. The certificate number can be used to locate records that may be out of order or mislinked. Simply use the arrow keys to scroll to the correct FN or certificate number. 

  • The source film number may also indicate that a book was used for the source, such as 975.7 B2S V.22.

Citing Sources from the Legacy Collections at Historical Records

For over 30 years, volunteer indexers extracted information from microfilm copies of original records. In 2000, some of the entries were published on eight (8) CDs by the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and made available at family history centers. When records began to be published online, the legacy material was digitized and published on The indexes were compiled from several sources: EASY, VR (vital records) and ODM (Ordinance Management) databases and from books. 


The legacy collections show information about the records sources. Our example shows the Record Information box of a record within the Germany Deaths and Burials, 1582-1958 collection. 

  • The Indexing Project (Batch) Number indicates that this record was part of a larger batch of indexed records.

  • The System Origin indicates the program or process used to create the index.

  • The Source Film Number is the number of the original film or book from which the index was created. When the original source can no longer be determined, the film number will be marked UNKNOWN.

    The information provided on the record can be used as a guide to locate the original source; on the illustration above, it would be film number 997335. You can also view the names on the entire batch by searching by Batch Number. Original sources should always be used to create source citations. For information on how to cite the sources that you are using in your personal family history files, a guide is provided on the FamilySearch Research Wiki at

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