Australia, Sources and Citation Examples

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Australian Sources and Citation Examples

State/Colony/Territory Sources and Citations


The purpose of this page is to:

  1. Develop a list of reliable Australian sources
  2. Provide citation information for the source to conform to Wikitree standards
  3. Promote the use of full and consistent citing

As well as referring to this page for source and citation information you can also use the example citations as they appear in edit mode to develop your own resource for the profiles you work on. You could do this by keeping a freespace page, document or spreadsheet with the sources you commonly use as templates and changing the specific details.

This is a select list of reliable sources with examples of citations and is not intended to cover all Australian sources. For more resources relating to Australia see Australia, Genealogy Resources

Overview of BDM records

FamilySearch has developed Australia - Civil Registration which covers the records available and over what time periods for the States and Territories. It's a really handy guide.



Australian National University, National Centre of Biography

  1. Australian Dictionary of Biography
  2. Indigenous Australia
  3. Labour Australia
  4. Obituaries Australia
  5. People Australia
  6. Women Australia

Articles on the above sites contain pre-formatted citations at the bottom of each entry. For example:

Jennifer MacCulloch, 'Levvy, Frances Deborah (1831–1924)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 September 2019.

This could also be more neatly displayed using the squared brackets for the URL link:

Jennifer MacCulloch, 'Levvy, Frances Deborah (1831–1924)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, Deborah Frances Levvy, accessed 13 September 2019.

National Archives of Australia (NAA)

The NAA holds extensive record collections with index entries that are often quite detailed, however it is quite simple to create a citation. The NAA has a fact sheet Citing archival records – Fact sheet 7 which describes the minimum requirements for a citation.

The most basic citation would be an abbreviated citation. This is also included in the item record. For example the abbreviated citation provided in the item record for the service record of a WWI volunteer is:

NAA: B2455, HEWETSON C C 808

This is sufficient to locate the record series but adding more elements gives a more precise citation:

National Archives of Australia: Australian Imperial Force, Base Records Office; B2455, First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920, HEWETSON Charles Cudlipp : Service Number - 808.

Links can also be added:

National Archives of Australia: Australian Imperial Force, Base Records Office; B2455, First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920, HEWETSON Charles Cudlipp : Service Number - 808. National Archives Australia: 5481470 Item image

An alternate option:

NAA: B2455, HEWETSON C C 808. National Archives Australia: 5481470 Item image
See Template:National Archives Australia



Australia is fortunate to have a comprehensive and free newspaper portal in the Trove's digitised newspapers. Not only can you search the text of newspapers from 1803 but citations are pre-formatted. Clicking on the 'bookmark icon' second from the top of the left column will give a number of citation formats. APA, MLA or Harvard/Australian are all suitable to copy and paste as a citation.

Ryerson Index

Ryerson Index Inc,. “The Ryerson Index to Death Notices and Obituaries in Australian Newspapers.” Ryerson search

It is not possible to create a link directly to a search result. An example of a source citation containing the search results and the Chicago Manual of Style format for the website:

Mary Brooker, died 17 Dec 1859 at Fairy Meadow aged 86. Death notice published in The Empire 24 Dec 1859, cited in: Ryerson Index Inc,. “The Ryerson Index to Death Notices and Obituaries in Australian Newspapers.” Accessed March 6, 2019. Ryerson Index search

Electoral Rolls

Historical electoral rolls are available from a number of repositories and some have been published on CDROM. See the National Library of Australia's research guide for Australian electoral roll for holdings for each state and territory.

Electoral Rolls on Ancestry

Example citation:

Australian Electoral Commission. [Electoral roll]. Sussex, Forrest, Western Australia, Australia 1963. Mary Rose Attwood p.4, 168. Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Ancestry au Record 1207 #103184605


An example of a citation for an entry on the Western Australian 1949 electoral roll CDROM published by Gould Genealogy:

Archive Digital Books Australasia. and Gould Genealogy & History. Commonwealth electoral roll Western Australia 1949 [electronic resource] : Canning, Curtin, Forrest, Freemantle, Kalgoorlie, Moore, Perth, Swan Archive Digital Books Australasia Modbury, S. Aust 2010

This citation is generated from the National Library of Australia (NLA) catalogue record which is here. If you click on the 'cite this' link a text a window will open with pre-formatted citations.

Archive Digital Books Australasia and Gould Genealogy & History Commonwealth electoral roll Western Australia 1949 : Canning, Curtin, Forrest, Freemantle, Kalgoorlie, Moore, Perth, Swan. Archive Digital Books Australasia, Modbury, S. Aust, 2010. Add name, page, number here.

If you want to be super helpful to future researchers you can also search Trove which will give the same results and include a link to the catalogue record listing the libraries that hold the resource:

Archive Digital Books Australasia and Gould Genealogy & History Commonwealth electoral roll Western Australia 1949 : Canning, Curtin, Forrest, Freemantle, Kalgoorlie, Moore, Perth, Swan. Archive Digital Books Australasia, Modbury, S. Aust, 2010. Add name, page, number here. Libraries that hold this resource


National Archives of Australia (NAA) for attestation documents.
Citation example

Australian Imperial Force, Base Records Office; B2455, First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920, HEWETSON Charles Cudlipp : Service Number - 808. National Archives Australia: 5481470 Item image 

Australian War Memorial for

Unit Histories, Diaries, Battles
Citation examples
Attack on Noreuil. (Australian War Memorial, : accessed 3 Nov 2020)
Australian Imperial Force unit war diaries, 1914-18 War. (Australian War Memorial, : accessed 3 Nov 2020) 13th Infantry Brigade. Item AWM4 23/13/5 - June 1916. Page 4. Diary entry for 19th June.
Person Search for Nominal Rolls, Embarkation Rolls, Roll of Honour, Awards, Australian Red Cross Wounded & Missing files and more.
Citation examples
First World War Nominal Roll. (Australian War Memorial, : accessed 3 Nov 2020) entry for Summers, Robert Chestnut. Service Number 1995. Unit: 50th Australian Infantry Battalion. Image
First World War Embarkation Rolls. (Australian War Memorial, : accessed 3 Nov 2020) entry for Summers, Robert Chestnut. Service Number 1995. Roll title: 50 Infantry Battalion - 2 to 9 Reinforcements (April 1916 - February 1917) , Embarkation Date: 13 July 1916, Embarkation Place: Adelaide, Ship: HMAT Seang Bee A48. Image
Roll of Honour. (Australian War Memorial, : accessed 3 Nov 2020) entry for Summers, Robert Chestnut. Service Number 1995. Unit: 50th Australian Infantry Battalion Image
Honours and Awards. (Australian War Memorial, : accessed 3 Nov 2020) entry for Healey, William Hamley. Service Number 4728. Unit: 43rd Australian Infantry Battalion. Award: Distinguished Conduct Medal. Publication Details
Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files. (Australian War Memorial, : accessed 3 Nov 2020) entry for Healey, William Hamley. Service Number 4728. Unit: 43rd Australian Infantry Battalion Document 
Places, photos, letters, diaries and more

Commonwealth War Graves Commission contains burial and commemoration details for Commonwealth war dead.

Cpl William Hamley Healey (Commonwealth War Graves Commission, : accessed 3 Nov 2020) Service Number 4728, Regiment: Australian Infantry, AIF, 43rd Bn, Date of Death: 1 June 1918, Burial: Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, Grave III.C.24, France.

Find A Grave is creating memorials of war graves, with photographs.

AIF Project at the University of NSW

Horace White, Regimental Number 4601 (AIF Project, : accessed 3 Nov 2020) 

Virtual War Memorial Australia

Herbert Henry Turk MC. (Virtual War Memorial Australia, :  accessed 3 Nov 2020]

The State Library in the person's home state may also have information. See links within the State sections above.

Dept of Veterans Affairs: Nominal Rolls World War Two Nominal Roll Search

Australian Honours Search Facility

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has a database of recipients of Australian honours here:

Citation Example:
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Government of Australia. (Australian Honours Search Facility, : accessed 25 Jan 2021) Companion of the Order of Australia award granted to Professor Donald Metcalf, AO, 13 Jun 1993.

Other Resources

  • Family Search - All online collections for Australia:
  • AIATSIS's Family History resource - a range of resources to assist you with your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family history research
  • Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters - This site, hosted by State Records of New South Wales, is indexing and transcribing unassisted passenger lists 1845-1922 held by SRNSW (NRS 13278). This ongoing project has the lists complete for 1845-1900, with many available for 1901-1922. This site is searchable by name, vessel name and date. The site also includes transcribed passenger lists and links to free scans of the original lists. Ship crew members are also listed on these records.
  • Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild - There are 12,000+ passenger list transcripts online. Most are to the USA but not all. The site includes lists of departures from the German ports of Altona, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Cuxhaven, Geestemunde, Hamburg, Stettin, Swinemunde (now Swinoujscie, Poland) plus unspecified ports. There is also a link to World War II Refugees to Australia by Tom Stiglmayer.

WikiTree Help pages

Citation Assistance

Good quality citations for the sources used in genealogical research are essential. These browser extensions help to obtain a good quality citation and save a lot of time and manual typing.

WikiTree Sourcer is free and developed by Rob Pavey. Rob has his own Discord server for users to obtain excellent technical help, provide feedback for beta testing and make suggestions for improvement. The WT Sourcer currently works with Ancestry, FindMyPast, England & Wales GRO and Family Search.

Online Repository Assistant (ORA) is a subscription-based extension, with a current cost of US$24 p.a. It works with several online repositories of genealogical data and has complete to partial success with many other sites. There is a growing list of templates for sites commonly used by Australian genealogists. ORA also works with a number of genealogy programs, such as Legacy and The Master Genealogist, where it can also perform auto typing. There is a Google group providing excellent technical support and other useful information can be found at Terry's ORA Tips.

Sources that are not reliable

User created trees - Ancestry, geni, MyHeritage, Familysearch trees etc
Genealogy websites, blogs
Find a Grave entries that have no headstone or memorial photo or a transcription should not be used as a source. Even with a headstone, the date of birth (or even the date of death) on a headstone is sometimes incorrect.
Unsourced family histories

An Australian example: This is good as a guide but should not be referenced as a source. If you find an entry with a source, seek and check that source and use it as your reference. If the entry is not sourced you can reference it in a 'Research Notes' section, noting that it is unsourced information.

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Cite Your Sources!
Cite Your Sources!

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Trove's citation is no longer found by "Clicking on the 'i' at the top of the left column". It is now found beneath the A, and looks more like a "flag thingy" (or maybe a bookmark?).
Find the citation
posted by Melanie Paul
Thanks Melanie, I updated the page.
Great! Smile smilie (black and white).
posted by Melanie Paul
Also, one thing I like to do is at the bottom of each reference is to also include the key information included in the reference. Many people who do not have access to an Ancestry account or cannot get to a library to access the source have thanked me for this. Perhaps it does not have to be compulsory, but there is certainly value in doing this!
posted by Simon Ross
I tend to only include the reference (including URL if online, title, work, reference number) in the citation, but put the information in the text associated with the inline reference. I'd agree with you if I wasn't writing a prose profile, but don't see the vale in repeating the information in the citation as well as the text.
posted by Scott Davis
I agree with Simon and try to do this myself (even for free sources sometimes), so would love the examples to provide some guidance how to format this.

Two benefIts are for quick validation, and also for the additional information that might that have been included in the prose (eg occupation or residence of a parent on a wedding certificate etc)

posted by Troy Phillips
I have seen a number of situations where the parents named in the bio are not correct, and the source only has numbers. It isn't until I look up the source again to obtain all the information that the discrepancy is found.
posted by [Living Ford]
Would you still have checked the source to find the discrepancy if the citation had included what looked like a copy of the key info in the source, but actually repeated the error that was in the text?

My family tree seems to have several cases where two different people were born in the same town/village and given the same name within a small number of years. They might be first cousins, or maybe more remote relatives. Does repeating the chosen information in the citation actually improve the confidence that the right relationships are shown, compared to a source reference that allows the verifier to notice the other child nearby in the source?

I fully support using all the relevant referenced information in the text, with inline citations to enable future readers and validators to verify the source. I just don’t find additional value in having the same information in both the prose and the footnote. There has also been a copyright question about copy/pasting the entire source records into Wikitree, and I doubt that concern cares whether the paste is to the main body or footnotes.

posted by Scott Davis
If the profile is for a member of my family and someone else did the research then yes, I do verify the original sources.

For all other profiles the only time I would look at them is when sourcing, connecting, or fixing a problem. If there is a discrepancy somewhere then I go back to original sources to verify that any sources currently on the profile are correct. A potential problem may be highlighted by a DD suggestion, a source cannot easily be found for a fact on the profile, or a difference in age. However that situation where the wrong source was quoted, if it is a full citation, is fairly rare. It is more common for facts to be wrong and not sourced. Had they been sourced well, I suspect a number of those errors would have been found by the original researcher. I regularly encounter the situation where the wrong parents are documented in the bio because I fix a lot of DD errors. Without trawling through the contributions log it is impossible to know whether the parents have been auto-placed in the bio when the profile was created, or whether the bio and sources were written by the same person. Without having some info in the citation to highlight an error, it is very easy for people to erroneously paste what they have on the clipboard and not notice that they have placed it on the wrong profile. They don't remember the numbers from one profile to the next.

The copyright concern has been discussed and answered. Facts cannot be copyrighted. Copyright applies to the layout/presentation of the information, or in the case of text, how it is worded as some of it is creative. If it isn't a direct copy and paste then it isn't breaching any copyright law. I have yet to encounter any genealogical or family history society that says sources should not be documented because it breaches copyright law.

If anyone is genuinely concerned that citing a source breaches copyright, why are they even documenting family history? One does not have to quote a source to be in breach of copyright.

posted by [Living Ford]
I would just like to mention that for the Australian Dictionary of Biography that often a lot of the articles in here need to be checked as they often contain inaccurate/unsourced information. They are on par with Australian Royalty but at least with Australian Royalty they have a clear link back to the original source they are basing the information on
posted by Simon Ross

Are there sources for: 1. Historical immigration records to Australia? Assisted and unassisted? Convicts? 2. Are there sources for Census records? kind regards.....Nigel Clark

posted by Nigel Clark
Immigration and census sources are listed by state.
posted by [Living Ford]

Thanks Leandra. Take care..............Nigel

posted by Nigel Clark
Using the example for electoral rolls, do we write the page number as displayed on the image of the page, or the page number of the ancestry index?
posted by Genevieve Weiland
If you're citing a page number, it's the page number from the roll. If you're citing Ancestry's image number then it would be image x of y.
posted by [Living Ford]
There is now a template for NAA search results (where there is no image to link to), to bypass the session timeout on the results.
posted by Melanie Paul
This template is still showing as under development and not to be added to profiles.
posted by [Living Ford]
That's pretty strange, as Aleš was the one who said it was ready to be used. I'll bump the original thread and ask -- because I know people were adding it.
posted by Melanie Paul
BDMs in South Australia need a district as well. The district records are available to view on microfiche at Genealogy SA, and some public libraries throughout SA will have the paper copy of the district record for their district only. So if you want to find and transcribe these records, they are filed by district.

I have commenced recording the names of all people mentioned in the index who are associated with the record, e.g. for a birth record include the parents and spell as it is in the index. I find that very helpful when trying to find that index record later, e.g. to check that correct parents and children are connected, to order a certificate, if I suspect a typo in the transcription. If searching on a common name, then one has search criteria to reduce the number of hits, and can find it easily even when the name has been written incorrectly. I recommend that as an improvement over what we generally accept as sourced.

posted by [Living Ford]

When citing State BDM indexes and BDM Certificates, may I suggest adding an accession date for the former and an issue date for the latter?

I mention this because Indexes sometimes contain transcription errors which can be corrected by contacting the registry and providing evidence. The NSW Registry will amend the Index if it is satisfied there is a transcription error from the original record to the Index. I have arranged for the NSW BDM Index to be corrected myself for some of my ancestors where the Registry had incorrectly transcribed a name from the original record.

Similarly, BDM Certificates issued at various times can contain different information for a range of reasons (eg transcription errors, subsequent amendments, possibly changes in law etc) . Again, I have evidence of this for members of my own tree.

On Wiki, I have used the following formats: "Marriage Certificate", New South Wales Marriage Registration: 449/1869, issued by New South Wales Government, Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, dated 8 May 2020 (In this case, I have omitted the names of the parties because the Groom's name is misspelt in the Index, I haven't sought to have it corrected yet and I don't want to perpetuate the error. In my own tree, I would include the true names of the parties...)

New South Wales Government. Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Marriage Index. Marriage Registration: 449/1869 BOUWINS CHARLES A J Bride: LAWRENCE KATE E District: SYDNEY. Accessed: 24 April 2020. (Showing the names as indexed at the accession date)

As an alternative, I prefer to use this format as the name is highlighted and the citation includes the original District Registration number and NSWBDM number... 'Edna Pearl Bathgate (nee Schipp)'. (1906). Certified copy of Birth Certificate for Edna Pearl Schipp, 1 April 1906, Maclean District, Registration Number 1153. NSWBDM #14847/1906, issued 14 May 2018.

Regards, Susan

posted by Susan Stopford
In South Australia one may transcribe the original records at Genealogy SA and selected public libraries. What should be included in the source for those records? The name of the person transcribing would be helpful. I'm not sure whether a date of transcription would be relevant. In any case, I haven't recorded the transcription date.
posted by [Living Ford]
Hello Leandra,

If I am relying on a transcription, I amend the "Source" to show it as a "transcription" and include the name of the transcriber and the date of the transcription. I think it is important to distinguish between original documents (which are primary sources) and transcriptions (which are only secondary sources). I always include the name the transcriber. First, I think it is important to acknowledge their work. Plus, I think it's worthwhile capturing their name as they may be willing to share the original or answer questions. Importantly, transcriptions may be subject to copyright protection etc. so there may be a requirement to do so. As for the date, I think the transcription date is important for context, and also as a form of "version control". There may be multiple versions of a transcription by the same transcriber... If I quote or publish my own transcription of a handwritten document, I definitely add ..."transcribed by Susan.... [transcription date]" to the Source. Regards, Susan

posted by Susan Stopford
I always use the full place name on profiles in data and biographies. The only reason it is abbreviated in the statement of responsibility/author on some of the citations is that it is the way the entity identifies itself in some instances.
posted by Vivienne Caldwell
A year or so ago, Data doctors had a thing on expanding / or writing the elongated state names, so I tend to do that now. It is good that you wrote something about it.
Created you an image if you want to use it:
Cite Your Sources.

Copyright is mine.

posted by Melanie Paul
I've been using NSW and QLD, but have recently started using Queensland instead as a nod to those who don't understand our abbreviations. (Don't think I've done any NSW profiles since I had the idea to expand.) It'd be the same for WA, too, especially as WA also means Washington State, USA.
posted by Melanie Paul
Thanks Vivienne. You've created an extremely useful reference page. Well Done!
posted by Steve Thomas
Thanks Melanie, I have added the links you have suggested. Still to do a citation example for assisted immigration Queensland. The reference to 'NSW Government' as the part of the statement of responsibility in the citation example is as it appears on the website. If you prefer to use New South Wales that is fine. These are suggestions based on Chicago Manual of Style, not rules. The most important thing is that full citations, independent of links are used, and to help understand that not all urls in search result can be used as links.
posted by Vivienne Caldwell
Better links for New South Wales (not NSW):

Births search:

Marriage search:

Deaths search:

I may not be part of this, but it's still my country.

posted by Melanie Paul