Writing Your Family History

The weekend of July 27 and 28 2012, I attended the “Write It Now Conference”
sponsored by Covenant Church in the Dallas area. It was filled with topics any aspiring author would want to know. However it was designed to help anyone interested in writing.

Many people are interested in writing to tell a story or to teach. Have you ever
thought of writing in an everyday way? You can make a positive impact on your community through either writing articles, novels or newsletters or you can encourage others to write.

We all have a story to tell that will help someone somewhere. Think about your life and the experiences you have had that taught you a lesson. Think of the stories you currently tell your children or friends to entertain or inform. Think of the history within your family that would be lost if it was not written or recorded in some fashion.

Many people believe they have no story to tell or that their life is not interesting or they can’t write. Let me share with you an example about writing about family.

On December 2, 1922, my Mother and her twin sister were born in a small sleepy southern town called Maxton, N. C. They were the youngest of the 9 children born to Bessie and James Gillis. James was a minister of a small church just outside of town and Bessie, well she had her hands full raising the children.

Not long after they were born, Mary the older of the two girls died from pneumonia. It was said that Martha would not live long because she lost the other half of her life through her sister. However, she lived long enough to produce my brother and I.

Martha’s father James was driving home from preaching in a town nearby when he had an automobile accident and was killed. This turned Martha’s life on it’s ear. With eight children to raise Bessie needed all the help she could get. Her sister Lula, living in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons, offered to take Martha with her and raise her as her own. So at the tender age of two Martha left her family
and moved to Rankin, Pennsylvania.

This is the beginning of a story about a family history. My family history because Martha was my mother. By telling the history as a story, your family can learn about their heritage and what their ancestors have accomplished in their lives. You personally may not think it is important however your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins may be totally fascinated about their history.

When I was young, I had no interest in the history of my family. My parents and grandparents are no longer on this planet and I regret not having them to tell me about their lives. I have bits and pieces of information from relatives. I am working to put together a story that my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will enjoy. My Mother, Father, Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents were amazing people who deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments.

Mark 16:15 from the Amplified Bible translation says “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news to every creature.” It is important to publish (write) to spread the word.

How would you begin to write? I have been asked this question many times. You can begin by writing every day for a few minutes. If you only have 15 minutes in the middle of the day or early in the morning, start writing. You can begin to journal in a small notebook. It doesn’t have to be fancy it could be a yellow note pad or a composition book. Write without worrying about spelling or punctuation or sentence structure. The purpose is to begin to put into words your story.

As you remember things about your family or childhood you can write about them. You could start a family newsletter. This newsletter could go to everyone in your immediate and extended family if you liked.

What would you write about in this newsletter? I learned in English class that who, what, when, where and how are the questions to be answered in an article. It is the key to making it interesting. An example would be:

Who – your child
What – played t-ball that week and scored 2 runs.
When – on Tuesday
Where – 5 Star Park in town
How – she did a fantastic job. She caught a ground ball to left field.

This can become a special weekly news flash for the entire family. Want to tell your spouse you love them for all to see? Talk about how he repaired the car, or fence or did the dishes or got a promotion or she helped a neighbor or cooked your favorite meal. Whatever you choose it will make you and your family feel special. It will also help you document history in your family.

Take the time to write about your life or record the information and have someone transcribe it into a story. Publish it any way you wish. The technology was not there many years ago however today you can have it put into an Adobe Publisher format to be emailed or send it as a newsletter or have it printed by a local printer or you can go to http://issuu.com and create your very own color magazine to share.

There are many ways you can preserve adventures and history of your family. Begin today by simply jotting down your thoughts and every day jot a few more. Before you know it you will have the makings of a great novel.

To learn more about writing your personal history go to “How to Write your Own Personal History”

Thank you for visiting with us today.

“Just as you have believed, let it be done to you” Matthew 9:29

And It is so!

In Gratitude,
Beverly Fells Jones
The Silver Fox of Consciousness

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