Creative Ideas and Tips
to Help You Start Your Family History
Below are a few ideas that are helpful to motivate your writers and book audience!
- Make a family “assignment” to send in 7-8 short “memories” of their youth or a of their relationship with a certain person. Make them short, but exact and detailed.
- Label your pictures with a CHAPTER-PHOTO number, i.e.: 1-1 (chapter 1, photo 1) or 3-5 (chapter 3, photo 5). Then build your list of photo captions using these numbers as reference, each caption on its own line.
- When asking a relative to contribute to the book, give them a succinct assignment. For example, have Grandpa write about his courtship and early marriage to Grandma. It’s always easier to give a subsequent assignment after the first is completed.
- Always ask for photos and captions! Having a photo without knowing who is shown is almost as bad as not having a photo!
- My Life Story makes it easy to get that special loved one to record their life’s experiences. It’s a great gift idea!
- When preselling your book to your family, give a final date that orders will be accepted for the quoted price. After that date (or a second printing), the price will be much higher.
- Remember that your family often does not know how much time and effort you have invested to make this book a reality! Don’t skimp on the binding and printing... it discounts all your work!
- When interviewing, ask open-ended questions that invite long answers. Avoid asking many “YES/NO” questions.
- Include personal items that help your family remembers their ancestors: recipes, anecdotes, jokes, family or ethnic traditions.
- Support documentation such as birth and death certificates, wills, marriage licenses, property deeds, immigration forms, school records, maps, etc., are wonderful to include and help the story come to life.
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