Writing for The Record

The Record has published scholarly articles concerning New York families, their antecedents, and descen­dants since 1870.

You are advised to study recent issues of The Record to become familiar with the kind of manuscripts generally accepted for publication. Modeling the style of your submission after a similar recent article increases its chances for acceptance and streamlines the editorial process.

In general, your submission should be a unique manuscript that has not been published—and is not under consideration for publication—elsewhere. If any of the material in your article has been or will be published elsewhere, please consult with the editor before sending your work.



The primary focus of your article should be on residents of New York State and its colonial predecessors. Articles dealing with areas adjacent to New York or with countries of origin will be considered if there is significant migration to or from New York State. Articles may address families belonging to any ethnic or religious group and may cover any time period, but should not mention living people unless they have granted permission.

Several types of submissions are appropriate:

  • solutions to difficult problems such as identifying a spouse, parent, or place of residence
  • compiled genealogies beginning with either an immigrant or later generation
  • biographical sketches of immigrants documenting ancestral homes, immigration, settlement, occupation, spouse, children, and other details
  • origins of New York families in foreign countries or other colonies or states
  • corrections or additions to a prior article in The Record (with those shorter than article length included in October’s “Additions and Corrections” column)
  • transcriptions or abstracts of genealogically or historically relevant records


The Peer-Review Process

Your manuscripts will be initially evaluated by the editor. Promising articles are forwarded to additional reviewers.

The identities of the author and reviewers are hidden from one another, ensuring anonymity and objectivity. Your manuscript will be returned with comments and suggestions. Some submissions are immediately accepted for publication, but others may require modification and another round of review.

Authors of accepted articles are asked to sign a standard letter of agreement before the editorial process begins. Click here to see an example of a typical letter.


The Editorial Process

Manuscripts may undergo substantial revision and reorganization during editing; authors are included in each step.

During editing, all source citations are verified for accuracy. You can streamline that task by providing scanned copies of documents.

Depending on a number of factors, there could be a substantial delay before an accepted article appears in print.

General Considerations

  1. Articles should be submitted electronically to editor@nygbs.org or by mail on a CD or flash drive. Files must be in Microsoft Word.
  2. Generally speaking, shorter articles are processed more quickly than longer ones. Articles up to twelve pages in length (about 7200 words) can be published in a single issue; those longer than twelve pages may be published in two or more parts. In general, articles no longer than twenty-two pages (about 13,200 words) are preferred, but longer manuscripts will be considered.
  3. The Record uses Register format for presenting genealogies. See Joan Ferris Curran, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray, Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin, rev. ed., ed. Elizabeth Shown Mills (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2008).
  4. Every statement of fact other than those that are common knowledge must carry a source citation. Citations generally follow The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), and Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd ed. rev. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2017). 


Style and Citation Guidelines


  • Remove yourself as much as possible from the text. Avoid first-person point of view.
  • Use the most reliable sources. Original sources are always preferred. Confirm data found in indexes, abstracts, and transcriptions by examin­ing original records or their images.
  • Express uncertainty by using appropriate qualifiers. “Likely,” “possibly,” and “probably” are some examples.
  • Do not use relational or other qualifying wording in a way that implies it is in the document. Add such informational text in square brackets—for example, “John appears on the tax list with [his eldest son] William.”
  • The byline may reflect the author’s credentials from the Board for Certification of Genealogists or the International Commission for the Accreditation for Genealogists, advanced academic degrees, or designation as a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists or the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. The author’s biographical section—a footnote attached to the author’s name—should include the author’s connection to the subject family, if any (for example, “The author’s husband is a descendant of John3 through son Thomas4”). This section is also the appropriate place to acknowledge work commissioned by another person and to thank others for their assistance.
  • The Latin terms “et al.,” “verso,” and “sic” are acceptable.
  • Abbreviations are acceptable in footnotes, but not in the text.
  • Use old-style abbreviations (not postal abbreviations) for states.
  • Abbreviate the names of all months except May, June, and July.
  • Miscellaneous abbreviations: dist., dw., fam., Co., ED (for Enumeration District), Elec. Dist. (for Election District), Inc., fol., vol., p., #.
  • Include a precise source citation for every genealogical assertion. Every statement of fact should have an associated footnote. They may be combined during editing, but providing separate citations in the submitted article will help ensure that everything has been documented. To simplify editing, please do not use ibid, supra, op. cit., or infra.
  • Footnote numbers follow punctuation. Generation numbers precede punctuation.
  • Citations generally follow The Chicago Manual of Style and Elizabeth Shown Mills’s, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, both mentioned above. Use a full citation for the first reference to a source. Subsequent citations to the same source will use short citations. The editor will add cross-references using hyperlinks. General rules:
    • Separate multiple citations in the same footnote using periods.
    • When citing records found online, include URLs in parentheses. URLs should include the protocol (such as http://) as well “www” if that is part of the address. Individual access dates are not necessary.

Genealogies and Genealogical Summaries

Articles that are primarily genealogical compil­ations should include a few introductory paragraphs about the family or progenitor, followed by the genealogy. For articles focusing on solutions to difficult problems, genealogical summaries are suggested but not required. 

As mentioned above, in general, The Record uses Register format, but Record style does deviate from Register format in some ways.

  • Include all children, male and female, with equal treatment, even children who died young.
  • Discuss vital events in the order of birth, death, marriage.
  • Indicate place before date, and in the case of a marriage, list place and date before the spouse’s name.
  • Express unknown names using “[–?–],” surrounding the bracketed question mark with parentheses if a maiden name would appear that way.
  • For each child in a children’s list, include given name, generation code, and surname; use semicolons to separate life events for the child and use commas to separate life events for the spouse.
  • In main entries, format the individual’s and spouses’ names using small caps and bold.
  • In the children’s list, format children and children’s spouses’ names using small caps, but not bold.
  • In main entries, list the individual’s number, name (including generation number), and (in parentheses) the names and generation numbers (not italicized) of the ancestors in the line under discussion (for example: “18. John4 Smith (Robert3, William2, Richard1, JohnA).”)
  • Report multiple marriages as “married first” and “married second,” not “married (1).”
  • Present exact names without Anglicizing, and present exact places of residence.


  • List dates in the format day-month-year unless quoting a record.
  • Use bracketed text to explain months expressed as numbers, such as “27 of 1st month [January]” or “27 of 1st month [March]” (depending on the time period).
  • Express double dates using the format 2 February 1747/8.
  • Calculated dates should be flagged as such—for example, list the date followed by “(calculated).”
  • When estimating a date based on a stated age, such as on a census, use “about.” When estimating dates based on life events, use “say.” Include the basis for the estimate in parentheses. For example, “John Smith, born say 1750 (land purchase in 1775); married by say 1777 (baptism of child in 1778) Mary Jones.”
  • When estimating a marriage based on a child’s birth, assume the first child was born about one year after the date of marriage. Express such an estimated date as “married say 1834 (first-known child born 1835).”
  • When possible, give bracketing dates for events. For example, “She died between 6 July 1650 (birth of child) and 9 August 1651 (husband’s remarriage).”


  • During the Dutch period, New Amsterdam was a town in New Netherland (singular), which was a colony of the Netherlands (plural). [Dutch historians now call this political jurisdiction the Dutch Republic or the United Provinces, avoiding confusion with modern-day “The Netherlands,” which is not synonymous with “the Netherlands.”] During the English period, use New York City or New York.
  • Take care to identify stated locations as villages, towns, or cities.  
  • When discussing a geographic area, use “in” (for example, “in the Town of Canisteo,” “in the Mohawk Valley,” and “in New York State”). When discussing a place such as a street or a church, either “at” and “in” may be used, but not always interchangeably.


Contact the editor for more information: editor@nygbs.org

12 January 2018