Saturday, November 1, 2014

Guide to Genealogical Writing : featured library resource for November 2014

On the recent bus trip to the New England Historic Genealogical Society I picked up a recently released volume for the Library.  Guide to genealogical writing : how to write and publish your family history should be helpful to members of the writing  SIG and the rest of us who are contemplating such a project.  Written by Penelope Stratton and Henry Hoff, it is aimed at someone who wants to create a printed product.

The books divides the process as follows:
  • preparing
  • writing
  • getting ready to publish
  • writing articles and other types of family histories
The short chapter on getting started might be one of the most useful, because that's one of the hardest parts of the process.  As we know well, the search for genealogical information is never-ending.  But the authors point out that it is necessary to suspend research and shift mental gears to concentrate on writing.

The writing chapter covers the two principal styles of writing genealogies: Register style (named after NEHGS's flagship journal), and Ahnentafel or ancestor table style.  The basic difference between these is the starting point, with the former beginning with the past (e.g. the immigrant) and the latter beginning with the present and working backward in time.

Making a manuscript ready for publication includes considerations of design and layout, illustrations and indexing.

Important resources are found in the Appendices.  One covers the features of Microsoft Word that make it especially useful for genealogical writing: styles, automatic numbering, and index tagging.  A sample questionnaire for relatives is included, and a list of resources for writing and publishing.  At the back is a 25-page Genealogical Manual of Style, with gray borders making it easy to find.  The Manual covers how to list names, dates, numbers, abbreviations, and more.  A thorough index completes the volume.

We hope to see you at the Library to use this volume, or anything else in our collection.

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