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You Can Write Your Family History Paperback – August, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Betterway Books; 1 edition (August 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558706410
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558706415
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Certified Genealogist Sharon DeBartolo Carmack is nationally recognized in her field and lectures to thousands of genealogists every year. She's authored five highly acclaimed family history narratives and a number of genealogy books, including Organizing Your Family History Search and Your Guide to Cemetery Research. She lives in Simla, Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
This book is very easy to read.
Gaby's mom
One of the best sources of genealogical information for future generations are the recorded family histories provided by our elders before they pass into history.
Midwest Book Review
It is a wonderful resource for any genealogist and anyone who wants to write family histories.
moonlightflower

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Dera R Williams VINE VOICE on April 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
This text is a blueprint for getting your family history on paper. I belong to a family history writing group that grew out of our local genealogy group in Oakland, California, The African American Genealogy Society of Northern California (AAGSNC). Our group, some writers, some not, wanted to get our families' stories and histories on paper and into print to hand down to future generations but was having a difficult time in how to go about doing it. The method used in this volume makes it simple; one step at a time, one story at a time.

Excellent tips on bringing characters to life, collecting social history, and organizing one's data is included. In chapter ten, there is an excellent example of showing vs. telling as we looked at Gay Talese's storytelling of his family, in particular in his description of his grandmother. You could see the lace collar and smell her perfume by his use of language. I also appreciated that the information applies to writers of family history no matter if one is writing a history, a memoir/bio or fictionalizing their family history. The methods are direct and painless and our group is producing some wonderful stories that will be handed down through generations.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Gaby's mom on January 27, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been wanting to write a family history on my family's deli for almost 12 years. School and other priorties have gotten in the way. After the passing of my grandmother last year (one of the founders of the deli) I figured that this is the year I would like to start. It is now or never.

This book is very easy to read. It has a step-by-step process to gathering data and unlocking your inner writer through a narrative non-fiction. She makes writing sound so easy and provides good, and not so good, examples of writing family history to get information across.

I didn't realize how time consuming this type of writing was going to be so a realistic time line is suggested so that everything is researched and not fictionalized.

I truly recommend this as your first guide to collecting data. She recommends others throughout the book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Country Girl on July 2, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another good book by this author. Clear presentation. Explanations regarding each written family history approach -- reasons why one would pick one over the other. If you want to read someone who explains succinctly but fully ... this book is a winner

But I've never read one of Sharon Debartolo Carmack's books that wasn't! You can depend on her.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michelle on January 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have purchased multiple books on the subject of writing a family history, from journalistic non-fiction to memoirs to writing fiction based on historical family facts. While they were all good in their own way and provided helpful insight into writing techniques, none of them was what I was looking for. This book, however, was as if I personally went to the author, told her my ideas and thoughts on what I wanted to accomplish and asked her to write me a book that would give me the confidence to do it and explain how to go about it. I was struggling with how to write an interesting narrative based on this heaping pile of facts I have collected, something that was actually worth reading and wouldn't sound like a textbook. How do you accomplish such a feat without fictionalizing, especially when writing about ancestors you never knew? I contemplated a fictional approach so I could get into the heads and hearts of my characters, but consciously I couldn't do it. I have no way of knowing if my ancestors were good or bad people, and I'm uncomfortable portraying them as either without proof. This book explained how to create the illusion of emotion and thought without actually committing to it as fact and thusly migrating into fictional waters. The book gives wonderful examples and clear ideas. I was having doubt about my ability to pull this project off, but after reading this book, I am filled with a renewed sense of confidence and ambition. Writing a family narrative is no easy task, but I can see the finished product in my mind's eye and I'm anxious to make it a reality.

I do wish, however, that the author would release a revised edition. The book was originally published in 2003 and my copy reprinted in 2008. I feel as though the internet has come a long way since this book was written and that some of the resources could be updated. But nonetheless, it's a fantastic book!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
One of the best sources of genealogical information for future generations are the recorded family histories provided by our elders before they pass into history. Recorded family histories are ideal sources for 'the story behind the story' of how people met, fell in love, came to be married, of their failures and successes, their losses and their gains, the anecdotal stories of living through 'interesting times'. But these family stories don't record themselves. That's why Sharon DeBartolo Carmack has written an instructive and thoroughly 'user friendly' guide to recording our family histories in the do-it-yourself instructional manual "You Can Write Your Family History". Every aspect of the process is covered, from selecting the bet type of family history to write; to deciding on a theme; to conducting efficient research with the goal of fleshing out a narrative; to putting subjects into the context of relevant social history; to the actual work of getting the words down on paper and preserved. Every aspiring and practicing genealogist, as well as non-specialist general readers wanting to preserve the stories of their parents and grandparents for the benefit of their children and grandchildren, should read "You Can Write Your Family History".
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