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Friday, January 31, 2014

Citing sources in family history

Family historians are more professional today in all aspects of writing and publishing their family histories.  As a judge for the Queensland Family History Society's competition since the 1990s, for the best published  family history (with a substantial Qld content), I have seen much improvement and certainly more interest in producing well written and presented work.

But there is one aspect that continues to be an issue:  how we cite our sources.  In too many case I find the family historian simply does not cite their sources at all.  Others include some certificates and/or other material verbatim in the text but rarely have a caption or note as to its source.  And there are the few who do cite their sources carefully in footnotes but then forget to acknowledge or place captions on the many splendid images in the text.

There is much to inform the family historian today re citation of sources both on the internet and in useful books such as those written by Elizabeth Shown Mills and of course the Australian text (available in all public, regional and university libraries)see following:

Style Manual for authors, editors and printers, revised by Snooks & Co,John Wiley & Sons Australia, Sixth Edition, 2006.

There are, too, many smaller books that take the reader through the various rules and conventions in a simplified and easy way, for example, see Richard Lackey, Cite your sources: a manual for documenting family histories and genealogical records, University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi, 1980, and my latest book:
Noeline Kyle Citing historical sources; a manual for family historians, Unlock the Past, St Agnes, SA, 2013.

If you are planning to be on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise leaving Sydney next week, do come and talk to me about these aspects of writing or to ask other questions.  I will be in the Research Zone often and I am happy to meet and talk to you at any time during my talks or afterwards.  I will look forward to meeting you, a summary of my talks is at:

Looking forward to catching up.

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