Ongoing Value of Genealogy Conference Papers

5 October 2011

In my ‘spare’ time, I have been compiling a list of all the conference papers presented at VAFHO (Victorian Association of Family History Organisations) conferences between 1995 and 2010. Conferences are usually held every two years but there are exceptions especially if the AFFHO (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations) Congress is being held the same year.

I’m happy to say that I have finally completed the listing. Over the last few years I have managed to pick up copies of all of the proceedings except for two conferences. I had to borrow copies of those so that I could look at the papers as it is not always easy to work out what a paper is about simply from the title.

VAFHO index to conference papersI finally settled on the following headings: name of paper, presenter, subject, place of conference, year of conference and the conference theme. I then put it all in subject order but I must say the subjects are very broad and I tried not to have too many. Where necessary I did list some papers under two subjects.

Why did I do this? Well I find that conference papers often have information and resources listed in them that are not readily found elsewhere. Of course, some papers do date very quickly but others are still as relevant today as there were when first written. After a conference everyone goes away totally motivated and excited but after a while, the proceedings end up on a bookshelf and may never be looked at again.

I would like to see more use made of these resources hence my listing and placing it online here for everyone to look at. Of course once you see a paper you want to read, you need to then find a copy of the proceedings or arrange for a copy via inter library loan. Ideally it would be good to see the proceedings all digitised and available in a single volume for sale. Or perhaps even online so that the papers can be directly linked to the digital copy.

At the next VAFHO committee meeting I will be reporting on the completion of my listing and raising the issue of how others can also access the articles easily. Either way I’m glad to tick a major item off my to do list! As always, I am happy to receive any feedback.


Shauna has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society. In 2009 Shauna received the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Services to Family History Award for her achievements in Queensland, Canberra and Victoria.

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  1. Thank you Shauna for doing this. It is an excellent resource. There are many gems in conference papers.

  2. I totally agree about the value of conference papers. I’ve listed titles of papers from some other conferences, including AFFHO’s Australasian Congresses, on my Web site.

  3. Wow! A fantastic effort. I’m sure many of us will benefit from this work. Thanks

  4. I was able to finally read the paper you presented at ‘The Border and Beyond’ conference at Yarrawonga in 2010 on ‘Family History on the Cheap’. Unfortunately I missed your talk whilst on the trade stand for the genealogy program GenP. Fortunately the papers were all available on CD ROM.

  5. Great effort. As far as publishing the various papers, I would expect that permission would be needed from the authors/presenters. Perhaps this could be looked at for the upcoming AFFHO conference. Sites/companies such as could be considered to publish the papers in in various formats as well as print on demand. How do other professional organisations organise and make available their archives of conference papers?

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