In the Barefoot Genealogist broadcast this morning, I shared a few ideas for publishing your family history. The two most important things I shared had nothing at all to do with the actual process of creating the chart or book.
Don’t wait until you are finished!
If you wait until you are “finished” with your genealogy, you will never have anything to share. Your genealogy will never be “done.” I inherited a lot of my family history and have been actively working on it for at least a couple of decades. After all that time, I’ve only identified 328 of the 1022 people responsible for my existence in the last 9 generations. (Here’s how that math works.)
My advice to you? Pick one grandparent or great-grandparent and focus on learning everything you can about them and two or three generations of their ancestors. Then share what you’ve learned with the rest of your family. The sooner, the better!
Less is best!
When you do share, do so in “bite-sized pieces.” Don’t overwhelm non-genealogists with too many charts and forms. Take the time to write a story or two about each ancestor based on what you’ve learned about their lives. Add pictures. Keep it to just four or five generations.
In the live chat afterwards and in my email box this afternoon there were lots of really great ideas shared about WHY you might want to create a family history chart or book. (And we all know that if we have a reason and a deadline we are more likely to get it done.) Here are just a few of those great reasons:
- Create a giant wall chart for a family reunion so everyone knows where they fit into the family.
- One book about a grandparents ancestors makes an easy Christmas gift for all the siblings and cousins.
- When there is a new baby born into the family create a chart to show their lineage.
- A chart showing three or four generations of the new couple makes a great wedding present.
- A military focused book honoring all those in the family who have served would make a great memorial.
- Having a goal to create a book is going to force me to focus on making one section of my family tree as complete and as well documented as possible.
- We should share more and more often. You never know when you are going to create another genealogist in the family.
What’s your reason?
Until next time – Have fun climbing your family tree!
About Crista Cowan
[...] June I did a Barefoot Genealogist episode and wrote a blog post about sharing your family history. I have two specific projects (with deadlines) in the works. [...]