Online Learning Blog

Writing Your Family History – Where to Start?

Published on 11th July 2014

If you’re like me and you love to do a bit of nosy-ing in someone else’s life, then writing up your family history might be a great project for you to get started on. Not only will you get the chance to investigate other people’s lives, but you’ll also find some weird and wonderful stories about the kind of family you come from.

You’ll be amazed how easy it is to find long-lost relatives these days, and there are some great resources available online. For starters, why not try Genes Reuinted or Family Search You’ll be able to use them to find other people taking on a similar project, and you’ll almost always find someone whose family tree mixes in with yours.

One of the most interesting parts of putting together your family history is deciding how you’re going to structure it. You could work in a linear fashion and move forward from the earliest generation you can trace to the most recent, writing up everything you know about each person as you move along. That would leave you room to update your book as your family grows, and it is a very popular choice.

On the other hand, if you’re more of a story-teller, you might want to think of a more creative way to structure your work. You could try writing from different viewpoints, and letting each member of the family tell their own story. For example, you could have a chapter dedicated to school days, and let each member of the family tell some of their favourite stories from their time at school. If you’re feeling really brave, you could even add in a few other stories from parents or grandparents to give a well-rounded picture of what happened. See how many different accounts you can get of some of your family’s special occasions – it’ll make for some interesting reading and everyone will love the chance to re-tell some of their old stories.

Writing a family history is a fantastic way to feel connected to older generations, and you’ll also be able to find out what your ancestors were doing during some of the most pivotal moments in history. For all you know, you could be related to someone who helped to shape the world as we know it today!

Writing up your family history gives you something extra special to leave behind for your future children or grandchildren – and if you make it sound like a bit of detective work then you won’t be short of volunteers to help! A special book or document like this could become a family project, passed down through generations and updated as your family grows. Personally, I can’t think of a better gift to give to your family!

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