Family History Essay

Family History Essay-35
Sharon is also a consulting editor for Newbury Street Press (the publishing imprint of the New England Historic Genealogical Society) and a contract advisor for the National Writers Union.Sharon is a former editor for the NGS News Magazine; Speak!I don't know who came up with the brilliant idea that a family history had to begin with, "Samuel Martin was born on 3 March 1849 in a log cabin in Illinois." Good grief. Instead, use the same writing technique that fiction writers use: start in the middle of a story, then flashback and tell the reader how we got to that point.

Sharon is also a consulting editor for Newbury Street Press (the publishing imprint of the New England Historic Genealogical Society) and a contract advisor for the National Writers Union.Sharon is a former editor for the NGS News Magazine; Speak!I don't know who came up with the brilliant idea that a family history had to begin with, "Samuel Martin was born on 3 March 1849 in a log cabin in Illinois." Good grief. Instead, use the same writing technique that fiction writers use: start in the middle of a story, then flashback and tell the reader how we got to that point.

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Now you can write a compelling family history, too.

Sharon De Bartolo Carmack is a Certified Genealogist, executive editor of Family Tree Books (formerly Betterway Books), contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine, and the author of eight books, including A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestors.

Make documents work for the story, so they become powerful openings, middles, or endings. In writing narrative, some facts might not conveniently work themselves into the story. Part One is the readable narrative family history; Part Two is the reference section of genealogical reports or summaries with all the bare bones facts.

So that's the secret to writing a compelling family history: crafting your facts into a nonfiction narrative, using fiction techniques.

Say you're writing about an immigrant family, begin the story aboard ship or the moment they step foot on American soil.

Or say you're writing about a family who made the overland journey from east to west; open with what it must have been like on the trail.Or who thought the story had to have a happy ending? You certainly don't have to kill off your ancestors if you don't want to, nor does everyone have to live happily ever after.You can end the story with your great-grandparents in their old age. After all, tragedies, throughout literary history, stick with us longer and have more of an impact on us.A simple photocopied booklet shared only with family members or a full-scale, hard-bound book to serve as a reference for other genealogists?Perhaps you'd rather produce a family newsletter, cookbook, or website.Reel the reader in with an exciting, happy, or tragic event, or a conflict.If you have letters, diaries, or an interesting record, you can open by quoting that source.In the paragraphs that follow this lead, I'll use a flashback technique to fill in the reader on how Hannah got to this point.All of the details in this paragraph came from the letter Hughes wrote to the pension office. All you need to do is leave something hanging, either within a chapter or at the end of a chapter.Writing your family history so people will want to read it is not all that difficult.You can write a completely factual account of your family, fully documented, yet as readable as a novel.

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