How do I source an unpublished autobiography?

+9 votes

My grandmother wrote an autobiography about 25 years ago in a spiral bound notebook, she has since passed away. While I am using mostly primary sources in immediate family members biographies such as her husband and parents, this work helps to fill out the biography a little more. It does not have a title. I have typed it into an electronic document, done some editing to the spelling and grammar but not changed any of her facts. One day I will probably self-publish it for the family. For now what is the best way to source it? Below is what I currently use:

Clark, Helen Harriet Whitney. Personal Recollections, autobiographical accounts written but never published, held in family archives.

in Policy and Style by Kim Clark G2G2 (2.7k points)

4 Answers

+14 votes
Best answer
I would record it something like this:

Surname, name, unpublished autobiography, year written, in the possession of Name, p. etc.

I would use that for an inline citation when you quote a fact that you haven't found a primary source for.
by Dawn Ellis G2G6 Mach 8 (84.0k points)
selected by Kim Clark
+10 votes
If you're comfortable with it in the state it is currently, you can always put it into a Free Space page on WikiTree and source to the Free Space page. That way you can edit it later if you have updates, or remove it if you decide later that you don't want to keep it in that spot.
by Scott Fulkerson G2G6 Pilot (947k points)
+5 votes
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
+3 votes

You can submit the unpublished document to the Internet Archive (  Most documents there were submitted by libraries or large institutions, but anyone can create a free account and upload a document. Their mission is the archival preservation of documents available to everyone. 

  • PDF is the preferred format.
  • Make sure the document is public domain, or you otherwise have rights to release it.
  • It's easy -- there are just a few keyword fields to fill out.

When you are done, you can link to the document from your Wiki Tree reference. Congratulations, your document has just gone from impossibly obscure, to easy for anyone to find and read for themselves.

by Jamie Cox G2G4 (4.4k points)
That's really cool. I've been using quite a bit recently but did not know you could contribute documents as well. Thanks!

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