by Dawne

It’s been a mild winter – so far! – here in the Midwest. But if the mild weather doesn’t hold, or if it’s inclement where you are and you are hibernating inside until the days get longer, take advantage of the time at your computer to compile some family history from the contents of your files. If you are like most genealogists, you plan to write a book (or more than one) of your family history “someday.” But again, if you are like most of us, the task feels overwhelming! Why not get started on “someday” right now by writing just a little piece of that book that’s in your future? Even better, why not partner with another genealogist, or a whole society of them, and set some goals for family history writing? Then you cheer each other on and hold each other accountable! Maybe a family history writing interest group would be an appropriate arm of your local genealogical society.

Writing family history isn’t hard, just time consuming! And you don’t have to be finished researching to begin writing. For example, start like this with one ancestral couple: John Brown was born 14 November 1845 in Allen County, Indiana [insert a footnote or endnote here]. He married Mary Smith 29 October 1871 in Allen County [another note]. Mary was born 2 May 1847 in Noble County, Indiana [note], the daughter of James and Elizabeth (Green) Smith [note]. Tell what you know about John and Mary: Where they lived at the time of each census, whether they owned land, what John did for a living, whether they were affiliated with a church and which one. Finish with a list of their children: Children of John and Mary (Smith) Brown: [insert a note here explaining how you know each of these children belonged to John and Mary].

Once you complete this sketch, you have started your family history book! Now challenge yourself to write a certain number of words by the end of the month. By the time spring comes and you head back out to the cemeteries, your project will be well underway.