Writing family history narratives

I was recently asked to participate in a writers blog tour to showcase the blogs of writers from a variety of genres. I decided that the questions we were to answer as part of the tour were best featured on my personal blog, but it did inspire me to think about writing for this blog as well. We will be taking a short break from Levi Savage and Indian depredations claims to think about writing up our findings.

One relevant question from the blog tour is “Why do I write what I write?” From a genealogy/social history perspective, the answer to that question dictates how and what we will write. If it is to engage family members who may not be interested in genealogy, a narrative is a good choice. It is even better if pictures, memorabilia and relevant documents are included. And it is best if social history is included, including pictures of fashions of the time, pictures of the neighborhood, etc. if those can be found.

One of my friends epublished a book about her grandmother that was about 150 pages. She used digital scrapbooking software to create the book. Each page was split into two columns to help break up the text and to allow inclusion of pictures and documents. She included her grandmother’s personal history as well as family memories and stories as her text. She included census documents, pictures of her grandmother and her home and surroundings, and even a menu from the diner that her grandfather owned. It was chock full of information, but was fun to read and the pictures and documents were there for those who were interested.

What tools or techniques have you used when writing family history narratives?

About bridgingthepast

Welcome to Bridging the Past. We help genealogists connect to their colonial New England ancestors by sharing with them information about the lives of their ancestors. What did they eat? What did they wear? What was a typical day like? Did my ancestor fight in a war? What was life like for that ancestor, and for the loved ones he left at home? Why did they move? Was it part of a larger movement? By answering these questions, and many more, you can bring your ancestors to life and feel closer to them. We design lectures to answer these questions and give genealogists the tools and resources to personally connect with their ancestors by fleshing out the lives of their ancestors so they are more than names, dates and places on a piece of paper.
This entry was posted in Getting Started in Social History, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Writing family history narratives

  1. She used Scrapbook Max! (for the digital scrapbook) and viovio.com to publish.
    And for MyCanvas users: it is not really going away. It is being transferred from Ancestry.com to Alexander’s (who did the printing).
    See the news release for more details (http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/08/19/mycanvas-is-sticking-around/)

  2. She used viovio.com for the publishing. She also used a digital scrapbooking package (I am not sure which one).

    • Wendy Grant Walter says:

      If you get a chance to ask her, I would love to know which digital scrapbooking program she used. I hope to put together several genealogy based digital scrapbooks/memoirs of my family. I am only familiar with MyCanvas but know it is being discontinued next month.

  3. Wendy Grant Walter says:

    Social history is so important in making the genealogy interesting! What program did your friend use to write the book about her grandmother? Was it MyCanvas or something else?

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