Are You Sitting Comfortably? Writing and Telling Your Family History (216)

Tutor: Janet Few

Writing your family history is the logical step after genealogical research, and sometimes while research is still in progress. To avoid gathering dust, a family story must be written to appeal to a broad spectrum of relatives and readers, to answer questions of relationships and to stimulate the sharing of knowledge. The history of a family blends a range of information: the ancestors and their stories, the places they knew, and the context of contemporary conditions and event. A good story, based on sound research, is a focal point of a family re-union, and it makes a great gift.

This five-week course begins with advice on making decisions about what to write about, and what to include, and how to make some order out of the potential chaos of information. It goes on to discover the historical context and how to add interest into your story with background about what was happening nationally and locally and how this might have affected your ancestors. It looks at how knowledge about occupations can bring an ancestor to life, and how and why social history helps you to make sense of it all and frame your story. Finally in week five, you will discover how to add photos and other illustrations as well as options for publishing. This course is about acquiring skills that will help you to present your family history in a coherent and interesting way. Please do not expect to complete a full family history by the end of five weeks. Note that, if you are hoping to put some of the ideas into practice within the time-frame of the course, this may significantly increase the study time that you will need to set aside.

The course is relevant to anyone who has researched a British or Irish family, with examples taken from English history and records but the techniques can be applied to families from elsewhere as well.

If you wish to receive feedback and assessment on your writing, there is the option to submit a piece of writing of up to 3,000 words for marking. You will have two months after the course finishes, before this needs to be sent to the tutor.

STUDENTS SAID: "The course has provided me with everything I could possibly need (and more) to sort out my main goals of prioritising family history, research, recording and writing up the stories during the coming year and beyond. I now know the way ahead and am very much looking forward to putting my plans into action."

Lesson Headings:
  • Lesson One: Making Decisions
  • Lesson Two: Finding Context Part 1
  • Lesson Three: Finding Context Part 2
  • Lesson Four: Social History
  • Lesson Five: Illustrating and Publishing

See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID: "I have been so inspired that you don't just have to write about family details but the whole area of family history. Since the course I have had letters and articles published in magazines. I am so grateful."

Relevant Countries: General

Course Length: 5 weeks
Start Date: 30 Apr 2019
Unassessed Cost: £49.99

Assessed Cost: £64.99

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