Writing Your Family History as a Booklet

If you are a decent writer, and even if you are not, you may choose to record family memories on paper. Computer word processing makes this job easy. Type up all the information you have on your family member, place the stories in some sort of order either by approximate date or by subject (like school stories), and try to verify historic facts and dates mentioned. Word processing programs will help correct spelling, grammar, and incomplete sentences, but try to either edit the work yourself or have someone else do it. Also, have a couple other people read the complete story to get an outsider’s viewpoint for suggestions on how to make it completely understandable and easy to read.

Now you can head to the copy shop to discuss your project. Full size 8 ½ x 11 inch paper is most economical. You will have choices in binding and type of cover. Ask the clerk about cost for adding photos if you are unable to scan and insert photos into the text yourself. Copying photos in black and white is fine, costs less than color, and goes well with the theme of old memories.

If using photos, and I suggest you do because visuals really add to the story, allow some blank pages and either have the copy shop add the photos for you or scan them in yourself. It is preferable to add a caption for each photo stating date, persons included, and any explanations. Type captions on the blank photo pages, experimenting for correct placement. You may use a photo for the cover also, experimenting for correct placement of the title and author information.

When you have your pages printed out and photos arranged where they should go, head to the copy shop with your project. Determine number of copies needed and go over the project with the clerk to ensure he/she understands exactly what you want. Do not hesitate to charge your relatives a reasonable cost to purchase a copy of your final product; after all, you have expended time, effort, and expense.

I have a spiral-bound genealogy/family story booklet that a relative on my husband’s side produced. Although it is not a perfected piece of literary work, it is a fascinating and delightful journey into the history of people we love. We are grateful for the efforts of this relative who so obviously put her heart (and a lot of time) into that project.


About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
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