Why and how to write your family history

Essay by kzel81University, Master's September 2007

download word file, 1 pages 3.0

Why write a family history? More than where you've come from, any sort of history can help you define who you are. If done properly, it will also immortalize your family forever, so that future generations can see what and where they've come from.

Obviously, your starting choice for information should be your immediate family. Ask for details about your parents and grandparents lives, and any relevant documentation they might have. Good sources of information include birth, death and marriage certificates, journals, letters, cards and photographs. Also useful are newspaper clippingsFamily histories can take many shapes. Biographies, autobiographies, memoirs and family trees are all valid forms of recording a family history. A family journal, or 'bible' is another form, often combining several of the above aspects.

Different styles require you to record the information in different ways. An autobiography or memoir requires you to look back on your life and tell the reader what experiences have shaped your life and made you the person that you are.

This style normally utilizes facts and reminiscences.

A biography is an account of someone else's life, and depicts the events that have lead to the present moment in their life. Personal interviews and documents such as journals, newspaper clippings, birth, death and marriage certificates are all good sources of information.

A family tree will generally just record facts, though this of course can be expanded. However the format of a family tree limits the amount of details you can provide, and does not include reminiscences or memories.

A family bible with often incorporate several or all of the styles mentioned. A family tree is often placed at the beginning of the work, followed by documents, interesting information and personal thoughts.

Whatever route is taken, a family history is something that can...