Welcome to the GSV

Where to keep your family history?

Bill Barlow
28 June 2020
Printer-Friendly View


I hope you have been getting a lot of research done in these last four months of enforced solitude (more positive than 'isolation').

So what have you done with your family history? Where is it? Who has got it?


Recently in lockdown I wrote a prose summary of BDM facts of my Barnes ancestors in Lancashire. These eight A4 pages plus endnotes, cover, copyright page and family tree are all that I plan to do. Job done! Well not quite. Where does it go now?


I have sent a digital copy to my sons, my sister and to some interested family members. I will send a digital copy to my larger family group and I have offered it to others. So I have published it. 


Put it in a library

By law, as the publisher, I should lodge copies by Legal Deposit in our State and National libraries. 'If you publish a work in Victoria – that is, make material available to the public for sale, to registered members or free of charge – you are required to send one copy to the Library within 60 days of publication'(State Library of Vic (SLV) website).An ISBN number is not a prerequisite. That is only relevant for marketing and selling. Legal deposits will be catalogued by SLV and be recorded in TROVE, that wonderful database for researchers and my unknown future descendants.You can even deposit your published work online at the National edeposit website (NED). Read about State legal deposit HERE. I strongly support our Legal Deposit laws as the basis of our State and National collections. My taxes at work!


I could also offer my booklet to other libraries, particularly those in referenced locations. Check if a library shares its catalog with TROVE, so your work can be easily found - not all do.


Acceptance by libraries will depend on their Collecting Policies.The SLV does not generally collect individual family histories, either published or manuscript, nor pedigree charts (SLV Collections and Content Strategy 2020, p.16). But the GSV does.


Publish in a journal

You could submit a shorter family history for publication in a journal, such as the GSV's Ancestor. It would then be available at SLV and NLA and other libraries that subscribed. But the article itself would not be indexed in TROVE. Your work would have to be of interest to a journal's readership, and be subject to its editorial policy and editing. Most journals require that it has not been previously published. For publishing in Ancestor, see SUBMIT ARTICLE


Publication in GSV's journal Ancestorwould also ensure it is kept in the GSV Collection. Also the article itself would be listed in the GSV's searchable catalogue. Of even more value, family names in the article could be added to the GSV's Genealogical Index of Names(GIN) of about 4 million names, if you can also provide a suitable extract of names. Check with us about format. 


Another option may be to publish it on a blog or website. See 'Not Everyone Wants to Publish a Book' by Jenny Scammell in Ancestor34:8, Dec 2019 (on the website for members). Or it could be uploaded on to sites such as Ancestry.com, with appropriate settings for privacy and access. 


So where is the best place for safekeeping your story and how can it be found in future?


Lodge a copy in the GSV Collection


Even if you are only circulating copies of your history to the family, at the very least you should consider lodging your family history in the GSV Collection


The GSV Collection has many family histories (about 2,200, and 1,160 of these are unpublished typescripts or manuscript material.) This unpublished material has been scanned and even more importantly, indexed by volunteers and the family names included on the GSV's GIN database. Print copies are acceptable, but as all libraries have limited shelf space, a digital or electronic copy is preferred.


To lodge your family history in the GSV Collection, go to the website here DONATION FORM.. Even better, include an index of family names. If this index is digitally prepared, our volunteers can efficiently add those names to the GIN database. 


1. Complete the 'Donation to Library Collection' form and scan that.


2. Send PDF of family history with scan of the completed Donation Form by email to gsvlib2@gsv.org.au or email first to discuss your proposed donation.


3. If there is a name index, send a separate MS Word or similar file of that.


You researched, you wrote, you published* and now you have safeguarded it for posterity and made it findable. Your job is done - at least until new information is found.


Thank you for helping build the GSV Collectionof family histories for the future.




* By publishing, responsibility has been taken for copyright, as well as privacy and libel regarding living persons (just a reminder).




Expiry Date: 
Friday, 25 December, 2020 - 11:00
Mailing Id: