You know you should do it. The relatives are nagging you to do it. You’ve probably attended a class or workshop on how to do it. You may have even bought or read other books telling you that you should do it and how you should do it. Write the family history? Sure. Sounds like a good idea. Maybe you’ve started, but for some reason your enthusiasm to keep going wanes. You keep getting writer’s block, or you can’t figure out how you’re going to cover all those generations in one book and make it interesting. Or you may be thinking, “I don’t even know where to begin!”
Most family historians agree that research is the fun part. For some, just entering their data into a computer software program is a sufficient and effective way to leave their genealogy for their descendants. But to actually sit down and write a family history is–OK–scary. And hard. And overwhelming at times. Besides, you’re just sure your family will be enthralled with all those names, dates, and places you’ve gathered, right? Unfortunately, I doubt it. If you don’t believe me, show your charts to a non-genealogist. Then time how long it takes before they politely smile and hand the chart back to you. Now put a narrative account of a family history in their hands, and I’m certain you’ll get a different reaction.
By narrative, I don’t mean magically converting your genealogy data in a computer software program to what the software calls “narrative reports.” I mean creatively writing your family history as a story. It should be one that grabs the reader’s attention from the opening paragraph; one that has a beginning, a middle, and an end; one that has suspense, humor, and maybe even some romance; one with real “characters” that readers love and hate; but, one that is completely nonfiction, with every fact cited and supported by what you’ve found in your research. A family history your family can’t put down. A page turner. Yep. That’s the kind of family history narrative I’m talking about. And you can write one just like that.
It’s time to get started. Don’t be nervous. I’ve midwifed several first-time authors, and I haven’t lost one yet. And they’ve given birth to some beautiful family histories. You can make this family history happen. You have the enthusiasm, the motivation, the research, and, once you’ve read this book, the know-how and guidance to write your family history. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get going!
Sharon Carmack shows you how to produce a genealogy you’ll be proud of in her book, YOU CAN WRITE YOUR FAMILY HISTORY. To view sample pages or to purchase a copy, please click the button below.