Friday, February 1, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 1: Clemens

In preparing to do a complete update on all my written family histories during the February Writing Challenge, it occurred to me that I have exactly 28 of them to update. I have 29 in total but I recently updated one of them when I found some new information on that family. So I have just the right amount to update one a day, which should not be overwhelming. Thanks to The Family History Writing Challenge, I am finally getting this done and doing it in a way that won't be too much all at once.

I will share my family histories here on my blog in case it's of use to anyone else researching the same families or in case anyone wants ideas on how to structure a written family history (though I will be editing out info on living people for privacy reasons). My style might be dry but at the moment, my goal is just to convey the information as thoroughly as I can, not necessarily to embellish my ancestor's lives. Remember, you can take this as far as you want or do it however you want - if you want to do more or less than I have or in a completely different way, you're only doing it to please yourself. Mine is written like a book with a chapter for each family name. I work in chronological order, opening with a history of the family name (this became difficult with some of my Norwegian branches!), and typically finishing it up with either a reference to the chapter a daughter married into or with the deaths of her parents. I tend to put the first mention of my direct ancestor's names in bold, so I can follow my direct line more closely. This is because I often include a lot of information on siblings too.

I will go in alphabetical order which means my first family to update is Clemens (click to read!), a colonial Mennonite family who married into the Kratz family (who married into the Godshall family). It's fairly short since it only includes three generations and not much is known about the women going this far back. I am linking to my Google Docs because when I tried to copy and paste it into Blogger, all the formatting went haywire (despite both pieces of software being owned by the same company, apparently that does not ensure consistency). These are formatted to be compiled into an ebook, which is why the photos are just displayed at the end instead of interspersed throughout the article, like they were when I originally published my (now terribly outdated) family histories with My Canvas. Eventually, I plan to do another more creative and visual printed book. Someday.

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