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Writing the Genealogist’s Memoir
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As a genealogy researcher for your family, you can enhance the results of your work, as well as realize personal satisfaction and value, by creating a memoir to enlighten those who read it. Your memoir can tell them about the story behind your research: your inspiration, motivation and/or interest in genealogy; your process; “aha” moments; roadblocks and disappointments; and successes. The professional genealogist or personal historian can also offer a service to help clients create such a companion piece for their family trees or histories.

This course will explore the importance and value of memoir, a method for accomplishing one, and special issues to consider. Exercises will offer practical application of the material and opportunities to work on writing your memoir. The course will focus on writing as a method but will explore other options, such as audio and video, as well.

Course Content

Module 1
The Value of Memoir for Individuals, Families and the Culture
• Note about Web Addresses
Course Overview
• Short Explanation of Course Value
Importance of Telling/Writing Your Story in General
Benefits to the Individual, Family and Culture
Historical Precedents
Memoir for the Genealogist

Module 2
Planning the Memoir
Types of Life Writing
Definition of Memoir For Purpose of This Course
What a Memoir is Not
What to Include
Who is Your Audience?
Reading Memoirs for Ideas and Inspiration
Media Available for Saving Your Story
An Aside on Commercial Publication
• Print/Books
• Audio
• Video
• Digital/Electronic Books

Module 3
Gathering Material for the Memoir
Journaling/Memoir Writing and the Difference
Mind Mapping
Timeline/Defining Moments
Freestyle Writing
Recording Into a Device (Audio or Video)
Use of Photographs and Other Prompts
Topics List for the Genealogist’s Memoir
• Starting in genealogy
• Learning
• Mentors/Inspiration
• Groups
• Searching my roots
• Starting points
• Curiosity
• Other Contributors
• Travel
• To resources
• To ancestral homes
• Challenges
• Roadblocks
• Brick Walls
• Inconsistencies
• Future plans
• Mentoring
• Sharing family history

Module 4
Developing the Narrative
• Narrative
• Suggestions for Better Writing
• Travel Writing
• The Writer’s Voice
• Writing Dialog
Organizing the Material
• Putting the Pieces Together
• Wrapping Up the Memoir
• Exercise
• The Manuscript Draft
Revision and Editing
• Exercise

Module 5
Issues in Memoir Writing
Truth In and Disagreement About Memories
Dealing with Uncomfortable Memories
Privacy Considerations
• Exercise
Copyright and Fair Use
Helping a Client to Write a Memoir

Module 6
Producing the Final Product
Methods of Book Production
• Desktop Publishing and Print Shop
• Commercial Printers
• Print-on-Demand
Formatting the Manuscript
Cover and Front Matter
Book Design and Page Layout
Incorporation of Images
File Submission and Maintenance
Distribution of Your Memoir
• Articles
• Books
• Interviews
• Lectures/Workshops
• Websites

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