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Preparation Guide

This page tells how to format an article for publication. There is also discussion of optional GEDCOM files, and a checklist at the end.

For general content requirements and how to submit, see the Submissions page.


All articles are submitted as PDF (Portable Document Format) files, since this allows consistent appearance on screen and on paper. Typically the article will be edited in a word processor such as Microsoft Word or OpenOffice, and then either directly exported to PDF, or "printed" to a converter which produces the PDF file. See our PDF Conversion page for details.

The page size of the wordprocessor should be set up for either U.S. Letter (8½ x 11) or the international A4 size. If Letter size is used, the left and right margins should each be at least 1.0 inch. See Paper Margins for A4 or for more detail.

The first page of the article should have enough information for the reader to cite the paper. The best form for this is usually having the full text of the citation in a standard format at the top or the bottom of the first page. This citation text can be similar to what will appear on the abstract page of the Annals, for example:

Ann E. Authore, "One Johnson Line," Annals of Genealogical Research Vol. 5, No. 1 (2009) at
The full citation cannot be completed before the initial submission of an article because not all journal information is known at that point. In particular, the volume, issue number, date, and URL are not known. A later revision can put this information in.

Alternatively, one can stop partway through the submission process and make use of the preliminary citation that is presented in step 3. This requires your guessing the volume and issue numbers in which your article might appear, and so there is a chance a later submission would be required to revise these numbers anyway. After putting the preliminary citation into your document, you would generate the PDF file and upload it after continuing the same submission.

Optionally, you may want to include a copyright statement on the first page. (see below)

If you wish to include contact information for yourself, you will probably want to put that on the first page (or perhaps the last page) of your article. This could be a postal or email address, or both.

Article starter files are available on our article templates page.

About a Copyright Notice
You may wish to place a copyright notice on the first page of your article. A very good reason for doing so is that, no matter where a copy of your article ends up, it will make clear what copying behavior is acceptable. Depending only on the journal's statement is often not adequate for communicating the expectations since it may not even be available to the ultimate reader.

One possible copyright statement could go like this:

Copyright 2009 [Author's name]. Permission to reproduce is granted if not for profit or commercial advantage, and if the original work is properly cited.
The rights you grant to the public as described above are believed to be in essence the same as those which are granted by the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 license, so it is perfectly acceptable if you choose to use that license, or some more liberal one, on your article.


You may wish to submit a GEDCOM (Genealogical Data Communication standard) file as a supplementary file for your article. Some authors want to do this because it can spread correct data which has proper citations. Some may avoid supplying such a file, believing it tends to encourage uncritical name collecting, or is simply not worth the effort.

The Annals will not accept a GEDCOM file if it includes data for persons other than those covered in the associated article.

The file should also provide source references. The most appropriate source reference in this context is a reference to your article. The GEDCOM file will be used by readers of your article, and for them the data in the file is supported by your article, not by the sources cited within your article. Thus each individual (or each fact for each individual) should have a source reference to your article.

For Windows users, a utility program is available to add the source references to a GEDCOM file. See the GEDCOM Source Utility page for details.

Submission Preparation Checklist   

Your article is formatted for Letter or A4 paper, with appropriate margin settings.

No data on living persons is included.

The first page has the information needed to make a citation (unless you plan on resubmitting later with this).

If desired, a copyright statement is included.

If desired, your contact information is included.

The article file is in PDF format.

As author and copyright holder, you grant nonexclusive publication rights to the journal. You further agree that anyone can reproduce the work for noncommercial purposes if proper attribution is given.

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Annals of Genealogical Research - ISSN 1555-9904