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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Your Family History Paperback – February 7, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha; 1 edition (February 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0028636449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0028636443
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,416,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Your Family History is a fun, easy-to-follow guide giving basic instruction to researching your past and writing it down in a way that present and future generations will enjoy reading over and over. The book gives you advice on not only finding those long-lost aunts and uncles, but how to ask them just the right questions to get the really good stories out of them. Learn how to ask questions like a journalist, write like a novelist, and research like a genealogist.

About the Author

Lynda Rutledge Stephenson is a professional writer who has collaborated on more than 14 books. Lynda lives with her husband in San Diego.

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Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RFDIII on February 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ms. Stephenson writes well in quite an array of fields (including fiction -- check out "Brave New Wanda"). "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Your Family History" is by far the best of the "The Complete Idiot's Guide..." series so far. She writes with genuine humor and insight. Whether you're planning on saving your genealogy for your grandchildren, or just hoping to learn out to talk to your parents better, this is the book for you. Very nicely done in every respect!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Oppenheim VINE VOICE on July 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the book is dated and of little help to a serious genealogist, it does have some helpful writing tips like:

1. We are our stories.

2. A memory is a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

3. It is helpful to provide some historical background when describing a family event.

4. Always remember the audience. Think of your book as a gift to the family.

5. Every writer has a style. Make sure it is appropriate for the audience.

6. The most important part of a book is the opening/beginning. Make sure you have a 'hook' in the beginning to keep the reader interested in reading more.

7.Go for a word 'picture', a vivid image.

8. Highlight the most interesting ancestral moment.

9. 'Media Res' - it is OK to begin in the middle, if that is where the best 'hook' is.

10. Model the ancestor - like being an immigrant.

11. End the beginning with a transition.

12. Tossing out stuff is important.

13. Rewriting is the secret of great writing.

14. Two reasons for a new paragraph: 1) new idea 2) give the reader a break.

15. Stay away from quotation marks, except when quoting a person. Also, avoid 'deflators' which reduce the impact of a sentence.

16. If a subject is important: 1) long, several sentences are OK. 2) position at the beginning of a paragraph and remember the end of the first sentence has the most impact and 3) repetition is OK, here.

17. Proofread a lot.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good text on beginning a family geneological history. An easy to follow text which will give the novice a great way to begin researching their family history.
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By gfjamie on November 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great way to get started on this seemingly daunting project
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