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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Some basic rules for citing your sources in family history writing

There are lots of websites to help with citing your sources today but they do require some idea of what it is you are doing (similarly when you use the cite button for TROVE on other library or archives websites)…these websites and other aids such as   can help you to cite many of the sources (digital and otherwise) that we use as family historians.  However, it is also relatively easy, by following a few basic rules, to sort this out yourself:

The basic rules for citing your sources:

1.        Be consistent. Whatever format you choose to use stay with it.

2.       Ensure you have sufficient information so that the reader/following research or historian can find that source again.

3.       Minimal capitalization is the order of the day.

4.       Punctuation, as little as possible.

Why you should cite your sources:

1.       To avoid plagiarism and acknowledge other writers/publishers work.

2.       To meet your obligations as a historian (that is, whether the work you cite is in or out of copyright, you cite the source so as to acknowledge that someone else, a previous researcher/writer,  wrote this text that you are citing).

There are two basic styles for referencing:

1.       Humanities style (sometimes referred to as documentary note system) this method is widely used by historians and consists of footnotes collected at the bottom of each page or endnotes collected at the end of a chapter or at the end of a book. 

2.       APA (American Psychological Association Style), the APA style uses the in-text author-date citation method and is also referred to as the Harvard author-date system.

You can see examples of all of these rules, conventions and styles online at the following:

Chicago Manual of Style online at:

Garbl’s Editoral Style Manual developed by Gary B Larson see at:

Plagiarism in a digital age:

Style Manual for authors, editors and printers, John Wiley & Sons/Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2002 (this is the editing, citing and publishing guide for Australians and is available in the reference section of every public and university library in Australia).

My small book Citing historical sources: a manual for family historians covers all of the above and move and distils this information down to a readable and useful guide, you can buy it for $12 from Gould Genealogy at:

Friday, February 14, 2014

It’s never too late to become a writer: Yvonne Hammonds story of living with her husband Don’s dementia

Yvonne Hammond is a student who participant in a writing family history group I facilitated in the Northern Rivers in the 2000s…she was then in her 80s and said that writing the stories of her life and her family had become one of  the most joyful  acts of her life.  Yvonne became a friend and over the years since we have met and corresponded and talked about writing, life, love and the universe…….In my 2007 book Writing Family History Made Very Easy  I have an excerpt from Yvonne’s story of her mother titled ‘Cradle to the Grave’ (pp.12-13), as an example of a strong imaginative framework and  good use of dialogue Yvonne uses  in the re-creating of the conversations of her childhood and youth all done  with a lightness, deftness and skill rarely found in most family history.  

Yvonne was 83 when she wrote that story.  Now at age 91 Yvonne has written a personal story of her experiences caring for her husband Don from the onset of his dementia in 2002 until he passed away aged 91 in 2012. In that time Yvonne also dealt with several major operations herself including a serious fall and broken bones just after losing Don necessitating a long stint in hospital and then rehabilitation. But in all that time Yvonne showed courage and humour as well as real  toughness in dealing  with whatever came her way.

In her writing of The Challenging Journey (her story of Don and her and a journey of love, compassion and much else) there is humour, irony, poignancy and a wonderful sense of love and the frailty of the human condition.  And there is compassion and caring. 

You can read an interview of Yvonne Hammond in the Ballina Shire Advocate as follows:
Article from Ballina Shire Advocate 5 Feb 2014 Yvonne Hammond talking about her book

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Permission to publish citing your sources for the family historian

Having returned home after the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise, here are a few updates to add to  my talk on Citation and Copyright.
Copyright is a complex issue.  You will find good information on the following sites:
Style manuals and writing guides

e for a useful list of online and published guides
•Another website (US based) on Permission to publish can be found at :
This is a website from the publisher Wiley and is an excellent summary of the main issues facing authors.

For Australian authors see the information sheets at:
This website covers permission and copyright for Australian authors together with many other associated issues.
 To ensure that you acknowledge other people's work adequately and accurately:
1.  Acknowledge other people work, either with a reference (footnote/endnote) or if using a verbatim quote (more than 250/300 words) by obtaining permission.
2. Include sufficient and accurate information to enable other researchers/readers to find document.
********In addition, if I was quoting an aspect of a historical     debate or from a number of authors on a particular issue I would acknowledge their work whether their books/articles/newspaper reports were in copyright or a historian I feel obliged to acknowledge the writing of history that has preceded mine. Therefore I would add that the following is also important:
3. I acknowledge all works (in copyright or not)  so as to meet my obligations as an historian and ensure that following historians can make use of my research and find the information that I have relied on in my publication.
If a work is no longer in copyright you can use it without permission, however see the above websites and notes  as it may not be clear as to whether a work is out of copyright, has been reprinted and is now once again in copyright or has some other legal aspect attached to it so that it is in copyright.
My book Citing historical sources; a manual for family historians, is available from:


Monday, February 10, 2014

Copyright Laws and the family historian: dealing with all those images

There is a great article on Australian copyright and the photographer, see at:

NSW Photorights
by Andrew Nemeth a solicitor

see also  information sheets at the artslaw website:


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Who were our female immigrants (convict and free) and how do we write their stories once they step ashore?

Who were our female immigrants (convict and free) and how do we write their stories once they step ashore?

This is the topic of my first talk on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise (our first day at sea, hopefully after a good nights sleep Tuesday night)...on Wednesday at 3.30pm, check your program for the venue.  Here is a summary of my talk:

The forced and voluntary emigration of women to Australian began with the first fleet. Unassisted and assisted female emigrants arrived in Australia as wives, daughters and mothers, mostly within a family group. While still under sentence convict women can be traced via marriage applications, assignment registers, conditional pardon lists, convict indents, and tickets-of-leave. Immigration records can provide a starting point for researching women as they faced the rigours of living and working in a new land. It is when they were freed and able to marry, travel interstate and re-locate elsewhere, that research becomes more difficult. Using the sources and resources from her book Finding Florence, Maude, Matilda, Rose: Researching and Writing about women in family history (Unlock the Past) Noeline will provide insights, understandings, resources and some questions you might ask to better track the lives of women and children as they leave their place of origin, sail across the seas and then step ashore to disappear into the bush, the family and far flung communities.  Noeline will draw on her many years as a historian of women and the family history to outline some basic techniques for finding the stories of women in this very early period of Australian colonial history.

This is the first of two talks I will be presenting on researching and writing women into family history.  The second talk titled:

Haven in a heartless world! Researching and writing about the family, women and children
will be presented on the last day of our cruise, on Friday 12th at 4.30pm as we sail back up the coast towards Sydney after a glorious visit to Hobart and environs.

A summary of this talk:

The family has been called a ‘haven in a heartless world’ but it is also much more than that; it is the place where women and children are located, where we find them as we go about our family history research . Using the sources and resources from her book Finding Florence, Maude, Matilda, Rose: Researching and Writing about women in family history (Unlock the Past) Noeline will guide you through the range of strategies useful for researching and then writing about the women and children in your family. Thinking about and understanding relationships between men and women, husbands and wives, and parents and children  will help you research and write and place your female characters more precisely in their historical and social contexts. Many of you will want to write about one female ancestor, perhaps to highlight her story within the final family history. The primary aim of this talk is to help you do just that.

I know that many genies do want to research and write more fully about their female ancestors so come along and take part.

See you there.