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Writing the family history

(17 Posts)
mrsmopp Sun 04-Apr-21 18:32:32

Have loved tracing my tree and found it fascinating. But my sons have shown little interest. How can I convert my info into a documentary/story to make it more interesting for them? Has anyone done this!
At the moment I can see that a string of BMDs might be a bit boring and I’d like to bring it to life for them if I can. I had the benefit of meeting lots of great aunts and uncles from large Victorian families and I was fascinated by their lives.

polomint Sun 04-Apr-21 19:01:57

I'm doing this at the moment. I'm writing what life would be like in certain years interspersed with the names of the family. I get info from history items on the Web. I've managed to get back to 1743 with some people. Would also be interested in what others are doing with their tree. It's a very absorbing hobby

tanith Sun 04-Apr-21 19:12:53

One of my brother in laws wrote a history of the matriarchal line of my family going back hundreds of years. My sister paid to publish it after he died and gave all the family a copy. He included family trees and to explain relationships copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates and some wills which actually brings the ancestors to life. He spent many days researching in parish records in churches he was obsessed a little.

polomint Sun 04-Apr-21 19:28:11

Your brother in law certainly put a lot of time and effort into researching your family tree tanith. I don't think I will go as far as to publish a book, would love to though , but it would be expensive I think
I was just trying to bring my family story to life a bit for my grandchildren
I do love the BBC programme " who do you think you are ". I find it fascinating

Treebee Sun 04-Apr-21 20:19:09

The idea of writing a book of my research is appealing but I can’t see me ever doing it. What I have done is write several blog posts, each one on a particular interesting ancestor. I happen to have a blog, but if you don’t already they are straightforward to set up. I use Wordpress. I’ve printed out the posts too and added them to my folders.
The younger generation may be more open to reading the information you’ve researched online.

Chestnut Sun 04-Apr-21 23:53:30

I have collected all the documents available (BMD certificates, census returns etc.) but for each ancestor I have written a little biography of their life. Just say who their parents are, where they were born, and then work through their life following the census returns. You can probably find out where they lived, worked and worshipped. It's amazing what you can put together about their lives but be careful not to judge them or make assumptions unless it's made clear 'it's assumed that'.
So really I have broken it all up into small chunks rather than writing as one book. Each person or couple has their own story. Sometimes you cannot write anything much about a woman as there may be little information, but everyone is individual and some women have a long and interesting story to tell.

Esspee Mon 05-Apr-21 07:31:12

There is a facility on Ancestry to convert your research into a story. It reads rather oddly in parts but you can go into it and correct and make it more interesting.
For example it might say “In 18xx Joe Bloggs was living in Glasgow” I altered it to “In the 18xx census we see that Joe Bloggs is living at 22 Blank Street, Glasgow with his wife Fanny, her 3 children by her first marriage and their 3 children making a total of eight people in a 2 bedroom flat plus a lodger.

keepingquiet Mon 05-Apr-21 08:21:59


keepingquiet Mon 05-Apr-21 08:28:13

Part of the fun of family history lies in the finding out. My sister took us all over the place before ever the internet was thought about and we went up lots of blind alleys before finding our roots in Derbyshire.
I think if someone else has done all the work and written it down that sense of discovery is no longer there and it would become boring for others to not have that finding out.
For the last few days I've been showing my grandkids my birthplace, old school and where I used to play. We had great fun and I think they enjoyed connecting with their family in a much more direct way.

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 05-Apr-21 08:41:10

Why don’t you print off some pictures of the kind of clothes they would be wearing, toys the children would have had, the type of housing they would have lived in?
From the Census returns you can see the employment they all had, print off pictures of the Factories or workshops that they would have worked in.
You could do this through the ages for each family, plenty of info online to help you.

Lexisgranny Mon 05-Apr-21 09:16:13

I should take it in small steps so that the project does not seem overwhelming. I have traced my family back to the 1700s so far, but I started with a scrapbook just going back to about 1850 as this was the easy bit. I had photographs of my great grandparents and I added two written sections, one talking about their lives and another about what was happening in the local area and the country at the time, adding old postcards showing the area where they lived. It was my first attempt at scrapbooking and retrospectively, that side could be better, but the whole seems to make it interesting for all those who have seen it. Using the scrapbook I could change the design of the pages to reflect the various periods.

I also used a roll of wallpaper lining to draw out the various branches for my own use so that I could see where everything fitted together - computers are useful, but limited it seeing the bigger picture.

It’s an absorbing hobby that also started my interest in scrapbooking, which I had previously though of as a hobby for Victorian ladies who just stuck pretty pictures into a book - how wrong was I!

Sarnia Mon 05-Apr-21 09:26:02

I have thoroughly researched my family history. I have written a potted version of it for my children to have at some time in the future. Alongside this I have also written down memories of my childhood and what life was like then. Wash day, for example, was a hard slog without the labour saving appliances we take for granted today.

polomint Mon 05-Apr-21 10:51:51

Yes all of thee above is what I am doing in fits and starts. It's getting the time to do it all and making sure I'm following the right people. The "john" and "william" example of naming the son after the father which was tradition in those days !

Chestnut Mon 05-Apr-21 13:45:17

polomint the repetition of names every generation makes it hard. I usually put their year of birth after the name, so John Smith1859 is the father of John Smith1886 for instance.

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 05-Apr-21 13:45:22

Polomint my Grt Grandfather was one of 13, 11 of them were boys, they each named a son after my Grt Grandfather, their sons also named a son after him! They all lived with 5 miles of each other and it’s been and still is a nightmare.

polomint Mon 05-Apr-21 14:56:39

I'm sure it must be oopsadaisy but it is a challenge isn't it to differenciate. Also years ago when babies died , the parents sometimes gave the same name to the next child born

JennyNotFromTheBlock Wed 07-Apr-21 10:57:10

Learning about family history is exciting, I absolutely agree, mrsmopp. I built a family tree and did some deeper researches on those members who I knew so little of. It was quite a challenge but I enjoyed the process. I also worked on restoring some old pictures (it all started with a Family tree article about keeping the pictures alive- and now I'm planning to make a photo album of every old photo that our family has. My DGC aren't excited about the whole research but they are willingly help me with digitizing the photos and fixing them which I'm happy to see.