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AfriGeneas Writers Forum

Writing Family History Which Ancestor?

Dear Family HIstory Writers:

Congratulations: Your hard work in finding primary sources to document your American ancestral history has paid off. You can trace your family BEFORE the Civil War.

You now want to write your family history and share it with relatives or have it published for a larger audience. One of the most challenging tasks is to decide which generation or persons will become the centerpiece of your family story.

Should I include everyone's profile in my story? My answer is "Sure, if you want to put everyone asleep." How many family histories have you read that list the birth, marriage and death of family ancestors and walk away saying "So what?"

Selecting one of two persons, or a generation during an important era in American history will capture a reader's attention. Is there someone whose spirit, dedication to education, family or success that inspired future generations in your family?

The url below will link you to an article about choosing a family ancestor.

Please remember that EVERYONE's family history is important. Whether your target audience is your extended family or a national audience, making it a fascinating chronicle is key to a successful family chronicle. Including historical facts about the era in which they lived will pull your readers into your story and keep them there.

"Where do I find historical facts?" That's easy to answer. Start at for inspiration and direction. Its various Forums and dedicated family historians have shared incredible links and perspectives on the African American experience. Search the incredibly rich historical data in its Mailing List Archives. Visit the Afrigeneas Library.

And as always,

Write Away!

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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