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How to Avoid Writing a Boring Family History

After reading numerous articles with tips for writing a family history, I have cringed as these articles make the process overly complex and the end result becomes cures for insomnia.


Many genealogists dream of writing โ€œThe Bookโ€ for family history, perhaps you’re one of them. Don’t destroy your admirable goal of turning your filing cabinets of facts into a bound book for your family to appreciate their heritage by printing the worst offender -- a Register Style genealogy book.

Example of NEHGS Register Style Family History
Ask yourself, do you really want to read this register style family history?

Apparently, a well-known genealogy society developed the Register Style Family History in the 1870s. (source) They format succeeds in organizing generations and facts in an economical way.

HOWEVER, we live in an age where you can inexpensively publish a book through or Amazon (among others). These on-demand single run publishers allow you the freedom to tell better stories without breaking the bank.

So, I must beseech you to implement tip #1 of writing better family histories -- don’t write register style books. Instead, follow these simple steps.

Tip for Writing an Enjoyable Family History

In this video, I’ll walk you through the simple steps to end the boring family history book curse. These easy steps will surprise you, even if you lack creating writing skills.

Stop Writing Boring Family Histories - Tips for Writing Family Histories
Watch this video on YouTube.

Nine minutes of writing tips you won’t want to ignore

The tough love writing advice in the above video explains the following tips:

  • Add Explanations
  • Describe the Locations
  • Move Genealogy Proofs
  • Add Context

If you’re a prickly genealogist who thinks there is only one way to write a family history, then don’t watch this video as I just might offend you. (Especially when I tell you the truth about your proof arguments and what to do with them)

If you want to share your family history without your family running for the hills to avoid you, then this video is for you.

Book cover for A Recipe for Writing Family History
For a step-by-step process that will help you write your ancestor’s story quickly, order our book from Amazon today.

Additional Family History Writing Tips and Examples

If you want even more tips on how to improve your family history writing, then you need to immerse yourself in these articles

Discover how you can improve the family histories you have inherited by critically reading each chapter to extract questions that you must answer. This blog post expands on the questions covered in the video.

After you transform facts into sentences, you must add historical context to your writing to add life to your dry details. This blog post explains the benefits of adding historical context to your family histories.

If you still think you have a dull ancestor and you can’t make their story more interesting, then you need to read this blog post entitled, “How to Write About a Boring Ancestor?”

If you have followed all of the above family history writing tips and you want to add more creativity, then watch this video entitled “Adding Drama to Your Family History Writing Projects

Additional Writing Tips:

Page from published family history book with text - Learn how to stop writing boring family histories

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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