Kinsearching April 13, 2008




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Have you been wanting to tell the story of your ancestors and relatives but you don't know how or where to begin? Help can be found in YOU CAN WRITE YOUR FAMILY HISTORY by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. This highly readable reprint provides novice authors with practical advice about creating a genealogical narrative from start to finish.

     Carmack launches into the writing process by aiding prospective authors in deciding whether their book will be fiction or nonfiction and whether it will cover only one branch of a family or all lines of a pedigree. After gaging how much genealogical research is plenty, she discusses common family history plots (for instance, immigration, pioneer saga, or the rise from slavery), structure (chronological or flashback/flashforward, for example), flow, and themes (perhaps associating the circumstances of people's lives in the past with well-known national events). Depicting the eras during which one's forefathers thrived or failed gives character to individuals and a better understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, loves, losses, successes, and struggles.

    Then she proceeds to methods of gathering. focusing, and organizing  research materials and making choices about writing the narrative, with emphasis on creative nonfiction. The author tells how to use family anecdotes in the manuscript and reminds writers to include humor, romance, and suspense to maintain the readers' attention.

     Particularly important is her chapter dealing with the use of citations, footnotes or endnotes, and a bibliography. She also discusses the utilization of illustrations, either family or public domain, to catch the readers' eye and give depth to the story line. In addition, the author demonstrates the different genealogical numbering systems, charts, appendices, and a thorough index--a "must" for any quality publication. Carmack's final chapters concern the steps (including revision and copyright) necessary to get your work ready to publish and methods of publishing and marketing your book.

     Combining the use of social history with facts and tales about individual families, Carmack's volume explains ways to research and compose a fascinating, informative, documented, and readable ancestral story that will be interesting to both present-day descendants and future generations. If you want to produce a worthwhile family narrative, you need a copy of YOU CAN WRITE YOUR FAMILY HISTORY.

     The 245-page paperback has a foreword, an introduction, charts, illustrations, an extensive bibliography, three appendices, and an index. To the book's price of $19.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4.00 for one book and $2.00 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $6.00 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

     Spring is usually the season when family reunions and genealogical seminars begin to proliferate. The first weekend in May, 2008, is no exception. On May 2-4, the Ansley Family Association will hold its 31st annual reunion in Thomson, GA. For more details, write to James (Jim) Ansley, Jr., RR 1, Box 229, Brevard, North Carolina 28712-9770.

     On May 3, the Pennsylvania Chapter of Palatines to America is sponsoring its spring conference in New Holland, PA. Annette Burgert and John Humphrey, experts in Pennsylvania German research, will be the featured speakers. They will discuss tracing the "Other" Germans--18th century immigrants from outside Germany's borders. Topics will pertain to whether your Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors were really German-speaking Swiss, how to research Alsatians, and a case study on tracking the Moravians. Pre-registration is required. For further details or a registration form, write to PA Chapter PalAm, P. O. Box 280, Strasburg, PA 17579-0280 or call Lois Byrem at 717-687-8234.

     Charles N. Ferguson, 811 South Market, Shawnee, OK 74801 is seeking information about James MCCRACKEN and Mrs. Lou MCCRACKEN, who married about 1889 in Springtown, TX. Lou was from Aurora, TX.

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