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Life of Our Ancestors
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Creating interesting family history stories involves adding details of your ancestor’s life that go beyond just names and dates. What was their occupation? What religious and political beliefs did they hold? Did they serve in the military, and why did they do what they did? This is an interesting way to start fleshing out the bones of your genealogy and to make your family history come alive.

In this course we will explore how to find and incorporate information about your ancestor’s life to how to write and publish your family history story. Not sure how to go about writing the story of your ancestor? We cover the very beginning steps of writing to the final product.


Course Content

Module 1

The Basics of Writing
Introduction
• Who is My Reader?
• How will My Family Feel?
 
Why should we write family stories?
What about other stories outside of straight genealogy?
 
What is the FOCUS of the writing project?
• The Memoir
• The Individual Project
• The Family Project
 
What General Research Materials Can We Use?
Ethics and Copyright
 
A Brief Look at Ethics and Copyright
• Copyright on Oral Histories
 
Deed of Gift or Usage Agreements
 
Writing Assistance
• Books
• Websites
 
Next Steps
Suggested Reading and Resources
 

Module 2
Exploring the Individual or Family
How to Explore the Individual or Family
 
Memory and Story Lists
• Writing Exercise
 
Jog Your Memory
 
Incorporate Life Lessons
• Writing Exercise
 
First Ideas on Writing and Storytelling
• Writing Exercises
• The How
• Writing Exercise
• The Format
• Writing Exercise
 
Creating the Outline and Timeline for the Story
• Adding Meat on the Bones
• Writing Exercise
 
The Research
Country of Origin
Explore the Emigration and Migration
Ethnic Considerations
Newspaper Research
Military Research
Organizations
Photographs
Family Dynamics
Other Resources
Next Steps
Suggested Reading and Resources
 

Module 3
Many Facets of Historical Context
 
Thinking Outside of the Box
• Historical Context
• Writing Exercise
• Historical Events
• Cultural Resources and History
• Writing Exercise
• Geographical History
• Political History
• Economic History
• Religious History
• Social History
• Technological History
 
Historical Research Considerations
 
Conducting Historical Research
• Researching and Recording Information
 
Next Steps
Suggested Reading and Resources
 

Module 4
Telling the Story
 
Managing the Writing Project
• Project Management and Goals
• Time Management
 
Writing Tips
• Same time and place each day
• Follow the Muse and Inspiration
• Choose a Stopping Point
• Outlining
• Write To Find Errors
• Turn Off the Censor and Let it Flow
• Continue Researching
• Step Away For A While
 
Telling the Story
• What is the goal of the story or book project?
• Is there a theme?
• How do we handle rewrites?
• How do I plan to disburse this story?
 
Story Examples
 

Module 5
Publishing
 
Introduction
• Various components of publishing
 
Self-Publishing Examples
• Example 1: A Family History
• Example 2: Books of Military Stories
 
Writing and Editing
Beta Readers
Layout - Preparing the Text and Images
Cover Design
Proofreaders
Publishing Options - Print and Print On Demand
Final Thoughts on Publishing
Suggested Reading and Resources
 

Module 6
Getting Support for Writing
Introduction
 
Education
• Australian Writers’ Centre
• The National Institute for Genealogical Studies
• Oxford University Summer Writing Program
• University of St. Andrews in Scotland
• University of Toronto - Continuing Studies
• Writer’s Digest University
 
Writing Groups, Residencies, Retreats, and Studios
• Writing Groups
• Writing Residencies and Retreats
• Writing Studios
 
Writing Competitions
Special Topic Programs and Lectures
Books, Blogs, Journals, and Magazines
Find a Friend
Conclusion
Suggested Reading and Resources for Writing
 
 

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