If you have been researching genealogy for a long time, and you’ve now built up a mountain of notes, old records, and documents, you may be wondering what to do with it all. There are some individuals who like the idea of sharing their family history but aren’t sure what steps to take to deliver their findings.
If your goal is to have your family research live long after you have passed, you will need to do the hard work of putting it all into a shareable, engaging, and lasting form. To help get you started, here are 6 steps you’ll need to take.
Know Your Purpose
Before you start writing your family history, it’s important that you take time to establish what you want to accomplish from your project. Whether it’s to share your family legacy with others, pass down stories, share anecdotes of those you admire, or to celebrate your ethnic heritage, knowing your purpose from the beginning is crucial. Your audience is a major factor of your goal, so if you’re creating a project that only the family will see, you may prefer to write in a casual style. If your plan is to have your writing published, it’s advised to write in a more authoritative style.
Make a Plan
Being organized and creating a plan will give you a framework for building your family history project, especially if it will span a long time or involve several people. To begin, you should create a list of elements that you would like to include. Examples include information about the places your family came from with a map, immigration details, and names of all the immigrant ancestors in your family, as well as where your family settled.
You also need to establish where you want your family history to be displayed. While some individuals prefer to keep their information private and only amongst family members and friends, others like the idea of creating a blog and sharing their family history with the wider public. If you would like to create a blog, make sure that you pick a hosting provider that matches your needs. You can also head onto the internet and research family history blogs which should give you inspiration for your own.
Gather the Right Materials
So that you can be confident that you have all the information you need to begin writing your family history, it’s vital that you gather electronic and physical records of your ancestors. Whether it’s deeds, a census, wills, or military information, gathering important documents should be your first step. You should also look into your ancestors’Obituary Records, which can be obtained on websites like Public Records Reviews. Alongside Obituary Records, this site also provides birth records, death records, legal records, and address history, which can help you find out more about your family’s past.
To make readers take notice of your writing, it’s important that you include graphs and photographs. If there are any complicated linages, using imagery will help guide them and show what you are talking about. If you have found many documents and photos, it’s advised to narrow your selection down to the most notable key moments in your family history. If you have any foreign language or hard to read documents, you should consider adding transcriptions. When publishing your work online, make sure that you keep copyright in mind too.
Now that you are ready to start writing your family history, you may want to enlist help from a family member, friend, or someone who has experience in projects like yours. The process of getting everything down on paper can be time-consuming, so having someone by your side can help keep you motivated. From start to finish, it’s vital that you communicate effectively with whoever is working on the project with you. The last thing you want is for important details to be missed out or the project to not go the way you envisaged.
Take Your Time
Instead of giving yourself a deadline that can instill panic and anxiety, it’s better to take your time when starting a family history project. Your main aim is to add fulfillment, not stress, so if you have work and family commitments, starting now and working on your project once a week or when you have a couple of hours spare can help keep you on track.
Whether your aim is to share your family history findings with those closest to you, or you would like the information to be seen by as many people as possible, it’s crucial that your writing is visually engaging and informative. Many people like the idea of creating a legacy for their family, so following all the steps listed above can help you write your family history.