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    « The Amazon Effect and First Time Authors | Main | Tell Your Family's Story »

    Put Yourself in Your Family History Book

    Putting yourself in your family history will make it more interesting. You’re the author. You belong there. Putting yourself into the book will add context and meaning to the facts and family stories.

    A lot of people setting out to write a family history think they must only recount the facts they have discovered in their genealogical research. That’s a legitimate way to write a family history. Unfortunately, it’s often not a very interesting way.

    Readers are looking for meaning. They are drawn in by emotions. Those are two ingredients you as an author can supply.

    Reflect upon the facts you have gathered. Are there themes or topics that recur in multiple generations of your family? Were your ancestors focused on seeking out opportunity? That the classic immigrant experience as well as that of the entrepreneur. Was acquiring an education important in your family? How did things change as they acquired it? Did religious values shape the actions of family members? Maybe it led them to a desire to serve others or their community. It is only through the interpretation that you provide for your readers that the significance of the facts you present becomes evident.

    Why are you interested in and excited about your family’s history? How do you feel as you did the research? What was it like to break through a brick wall to make a key discovery? Share that with your reader. You are the person most of your book’s readers know. The will be interested in what you thought and felt as you did created the book. By sharing why you were excited about a particular aspect of your ancestors’ past you will give the readers who know you a reason to be excited too.

    So rather than trying to distance yourself from the books contents make yourself a part of the story. It will give your readers a much more personal experience and help to draw them into the family stories you tell.

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