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    « Family History and Memoir: Making Choices | Main | Use Photos to Tell Stories in Your Book »

    The Story of a Self-Published Family History

    Ralph Jensen’s family gets it. They tell their story about the rewards and challenges of writing and self publishing a family history in The Journal Times.

    Jensen, a resident of Racine, Wisconsin, who will be 85 years old this year, is the repository for stories passed on orally by his parents and grandparents dating back to the family’s arrival from Denmark in 1888. Jensen didn’t want those stories to get lost.

    "I talk to so many people who don't know their family history and seem to have no knowledge of who their grandparents were. I wanted to put some of the history that I know down in writing so that another generation from now, people would know what went on in our family," said Jensen.

    "My Dad's a story teller," said Jensen’s son Mark, in an in an interview with The Journal Times of Racine. "It seemed a shame to not have those stories captured somewhere."

    The process of getting the stories into print became a two-year family project involving Jensen's wife Carol and their four grown children. The result, My Memories: A Brief History of the R.L. Jensen Family From 1888 to the Present, was recently self-published by (Note: is a favorite on-demand printer we use frequently. Good choice, Jensens!)

    The Jensens learned why we always advise clients to work with a professional editor. "Seven of us proof read it and things still slipped through," Ralph said.

    That mattered little to Jensen’s daughter Heidi. "It's not just a book," she said. "It is an important part of my father's family history. I'm going to keep it in a special spot, so that I always know where it is and I hope that the grandchildren and even great grandchildren will some day have the same feeling about it."

    Mark Jensen is considering a second volume which will include his own memories as well as stories that didn’t make it into his father’s book. "This may be something we continue over a long period of time," he said.

    Click here to read the full article from The Journal Times.


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