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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Published Family Histories

Have you wondered  how to write a genealogy report or family ancestry story?  I like to read published ancestry books.  Recently I purchased "The Ancestry of Mayor Harold Washington" by Curtis G. Brasfield, 1993, Heritage Books, Inc., Bowie, Maryland.

I thought that it would be a good read about the first African-American mayor of the City of Chicago.  After reviewing just the table of contents, I was very impressed with the author's organization  of documents, tables and genealogy summaries.  In the second half of the book, Mr. Brasfield explained the methodology that was used in his research of the Washington family.  In my opinion, this was a very well crafted genealogy and biographical publication.  Well done, Mr. Brasfield.

In my experience with writing my own research projects, and reviewing the writings of other researchers, I have found various styles of organization of the vital records and general family stories.  There are so many ways that an author can present his/her research results.  However, finding just the right words to keep the reader interested and involved can be a task in itself.  Learning to write with excitement and describing the picture of the history and lives in a family are so important for the author to achieve.

I suggest that before you try to write a family history, genealogy report or ancestry, take a trip to your local library and read several works that have been published.  Take note of how the information is presented.  Are there parts of the work  that keep you intrigued?  What made it grab your attention?  Are there parts of the book that seem to be uninteresting?  What would make those parts more interesting to you?  Take notes from reviewing the works of others.  There is really no right way or wrong way to write your family history.  Whatever way you choose to present your work, make sure that it still grabs your attention time after time that you read your own work.  Make changes and ask someone else to review your work, asking for suggestions.

When you are sure that what you have written is the best work that you can present, then get it published.  Even if it is just a few copies for family members to keep, at least it is written and can be passed onto others.  But do consider giving a copy of your work to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City for their collection.  There are also fine research libraries in other states that will accept your work for their special collections.  Allen County Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana and St. Louis County Public Library in Frontenac, Missouri hold many published family histories.  Ask others for their suggestions about where to send your book.  Reading published family histories can be so interesting, and just might get you in the mood to finish that writing project that you never finished.

Family History Library
Salt Lake City, Utah
St. Louis County Library
Frontenac, Missouri

I'm looking forward to reading your work!

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