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Writing the Family Narrative Workbook Paperback – August 1, 1983

3.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

A companion to the best-selling book, this fun workbook takes you step-by-step through the family history writing process.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Ancestry.com; Workbook edition (August 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0916489418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0916489410
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,598,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Genealogy has been my hobby since I was in fourth grade. I have tried to tell the story of each of my ancestors. I am now a full-time genealogist writing a biographical sketch on each of the hundreds of descendants of one man. Writing the Family Narrative is just the book I need. I borrowed it, read it, bought it, read it four more times, and mailed it to my editor. I wrote, "I am trying to accomplish what this book does." I wish I had my book back. This is the best book among a dozen for a genealogist looking for the story line. The author helps the reader spy out more from a document and weave it into an overall story.
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Format: Paperback
I am not a 5 star person but once in a while, a book comes along with one sentence that makes it so worth it. I got to page 34 and realized that I had overlooked the obvious. I have been working on family history for a long time but was so involved in the letters and the photos I didn't see what was in front of my face. The sentence says the 1850 census had 8 columns and one of them had to do with the worth of the land. My family apparently didn't own the land as there was not amount posted. However, to the right is a column that says "Married within the year." I never looked at that column because my 3 great grandparents were in their 50's and I assumed they'd been married a long time. I have had problems finding my 3rd great grandmother but if they married late, the children had a different mother. Now I need to back and check the records again. So for the price of the book, I have new avenues to explore and the rest of the book to read. Definitely, 5 stars.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not for writing Joe was born on x and died on x. It's about a narrative. You're writing about the person(s) in depth, about their loves, likes, activities, beliefs, motivations. It gives you suggestions of angles. It discusses conflict and plot. It shows lots of examples of where writers go wrong. It goes through various methods of characterization. It reminds you how to analyze, not to take that agricultural report at face value but look at what it tells you about the person's life on the farm.

With Narrative, and really, who wants to read the stats sheet alone, you flesh out the person, sometimes utilizing educated guesses, such as evaluating a person's wealth and assuming their wardrobe from that. It encourages you to look for potential struggles and issues, such as how the person faced war or the great depression, if you can find enough information to put that together.

If you are looking for pointers on how to format or publish, this is not that kind of book. I have been planning by book for years so I was mostly ready to write, but this did give some new points to consider.
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Format: Paperback
Stodgy
,typical academic view of writing and life.
Good for the college student and for a rigid systematic view of family.
Very old-fashioned. So much so that I completely lost interest in the subject until I remembered who and what wrote it.
It is a pervasive flaw of academia but they teach by first telling you what you cannot do.You must understand that what they haven,t got the courage to say is that they cannot write the inspired and beautiful personal history,so they give you just enough to lumber through your project and no more.
As I began this commentary with this is a stodgy uninspiring little book,proving the old adage,There is only one sin you can commit in academia and that Is too be creative.
Look elsewhere for a more feminine ffriendly view and a more inclusive process.
Those who can do those who can't teach.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been struggling with the process of writing family history and after proudly producing a draft had the shocking realisation that unless I created a more readable narrative my precious research would almost certainly end up in a rubbish skip. Highly recommended for any genealogist or family historian facing this reality.
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