Writing the Story

Writing your family history is more than a mere rearrangement of the family group sheet into a narrative paragraph, but you need not be a professional writer to complete the picture. If you have difficulty, write brief sections with the goal of piecing it all together. Try writing it as a letter to some other family member. Once you get started the words will tumble out because you are so eager to tell what you have found.

Never think that your writing must be polished and of publishing caliber to be worthwhile. Think of how excited you are to find anything written by your ancestors. What your reader wants are the details that perhaps only you can supply. A bonus of writing about your ancestors is that you will quickly see what you are missing and what events you want to investigate.

Your ancestors were ordinary people, making choices good and bad, raising wayward teenagers, caring for elderly parents. These stories are about them: real people coping with real problems and successes. They are as much a thread in the fabric of history as the important personages in the history books.

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