Barry J. Ewell’s book, “Family Treasures: 15 Lessons, Tips and Tricks for Discovering Your Family History” (Plain Sight Publishing, $24.99), is a good resource for anyone with any amount of interest or experience in how to discover and document their roots. Ewell takes the mystery out of family history work by sharing personal stories along with a plethora of tips, ideas and lessons that he has learned through his writing and research.
The last section of the book, “Lesson 15: Write and Publish Your Story,” contains detailed guidelines for putting together a personal history. Here are a few of the tips Ewell shares.
• Begin with an outline, timeline or story map.
• Gather and organize your resource materials. He shares ideas for selecting and organizing resources in “Lesson 2: Start Organized and Stay Organized.”
• Write a first draft as quickly as you can, without concern for style and grammar.
• Revise the first draft. Usually a history will need several edits. Look at what you’ve written from an outsider’s point of view. Get feedback from others.
• Support the claims made in the history by citing sources as necessary.
• Include photos, images and artifacts such as maps, documents and letters.
• Organize the history — the main body and other sections such as a title page, copyright statement, table of contents, dedication, list of illustrations, acknowledgements, etc.
• Publish the history. This can be done on a blog, through a family newsletter, on a CD or DVD, or as a printed book.
• Share the history. Post it on the Internet or consider donating copies to libraries or the Salt Lake Family History Library.
Ewell began doing family history research in 1998; in 2008, he launched MyGenShare.com, a digital library of resources for genealogists. He lives in Utah with his wife, Colette.
Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.