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AfriGeneas Writers Forum

Family History Where Do We Start?

Hello All:

I received a question from Art Thomas about writing his family history.

"Would like to ask a favor of you, your opinion on how to attack writing/compiling a family(s) history/genealogy.

If you write/compile from yourself back through only direct ancestors you don't cover the siblings and collateral family relationships. Coming the other way from the Ancestors down and then adding your own descendants you bring into play the ancestral lines of your children & grandchildren. Do you compile a genealogy, or try and write a Family History, or both?" Art

FROM: Write Away

Hi Art:

Writing about the early origins of your family will set a stage for what is to come. It will capture the reader's attention and pull them into your story. Equally important is including history in the family's story.

For example:

"The story of the Thomas family begins in 18__. It was 15 years before the Civil War when Art Thomas and his wife were living in___. They moved to___ in 18__because Art joined the Union Army's 420 Colored Regiment.

Art's son John attended the Baptist Elementary school in 1872. He must have been very proud of his son since Baptist was the first ...school for African-Americans in Alabama."

Once again, you set a stage and weave history into why the family moved, or stayed etc.

When you write your family history, it's not necessary to add every one of your relatives in your family tree. Keep your direct line in focus and add relatives who have interesting profiles. Too much "Abel begat Rodney" can be deadly boring.

Include the formal family tree as a reference and resource.

Hope this helps!

Write Away


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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