Author to Share Tips on Writing a Family History – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News


On Wednesday, author, historian and genealogist Dina Carson will share tips for writing an interesting family history. Photo detail from his book “Publish Your Family History: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Ancestor’s Stories”

The online event is Wednesday afternoon

Borrowing tips from writing fiction can help you write a more interesting family history, while telling the truth, according to author, historian and genealogist Dina Carson.

“One of the important things to remember is to include description and details,” she said. “When they write from dry historical documents, people forget that there is a lot of information there. You can do additional research and flesh out the story while making sure it’s accurate.

Like fiction writers, family story writers should try to flesh out their characters and settings.

“If you didn’t leave a diary, check the records of where they settled or travelled. You’ll find information similar to what they went through,” Carson said. “What was it like being in a covered wagon for seven weeks?” What was it like practicing medicine during the Civil War?

Carson will share these and other tips on writing an engaging family history from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday during a Zoom presentation. To register, see

The event is $10 for Rogue Valley Genealogical Society members and $20 for non-members. Closing of registrations Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Based in Colorado, Carson is the author of a series of books on writing and self-publishing family histories. She noted that almost no one who takes on a family history project is a professional writer, and most have rusty writing skills.

“When people finally have the time, it’s usually been 50 years since their last high school English class,” she said.

Telling your family history in chronological order is usually easier. Jumping into the story and using flashbacks isn’t a natural writing style for most people who don’t write a lot, Carson said.

But be careful not to fall into the trap of providing a laborious account.

“Just telling what they did on that date and what they did on that date and what they did on that date is boring,” she said.

Telling the story from a character’s perspective can make a family story more engaging and personal. It also makes the story easier to follow and less confusing for readers, she said.

Carson said print-on-demand technology is so accessible these days that people shouldn’t feel pressured to put their entire family history into a book, or even write a book-length story. delivered. You can pick a nuclear family, then research, write, and publish that short story, then move on to your next project.

Focus on ancestors whose stories are meaningful and interesting to you.

Carson said one of her favorite ancestors is a woman who played professional golf at a time when there were few opportunities for women to be professional athletes.

“It’s better to make a story and do it well than to try to tell the story of every descendant of an immigrant family. You can’t tell the stories of 500 people well in one book,” she said.

Contact Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.


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