Make Sharing Your Genealogy Research Exciting for Your Family

Trying to share our family histories with our family memories can be an exciting aspect of our work. However, sharing can be very frustrating if our approach is boring or filled with genealogical jargon. Whatever your first sharing attempts were, keep trying. Besides the feeling of fulfillment when you notice family members getting excited, sharing can also open doors to find more information.

Once you began researching your family history, did your family ignore you when you tried to tell them what you were doing? Did they avoid you by moving to another room? You were excited when you found records and wanted to tell everyone how you did it. Why did they ignore you? Are they genealogists?

My experience has been that non-genealogist wish to know about the family history but not how we found the information. I found genealogy forms, charts, and documents were boring and hard to understand by most non-genealogists. They wanted to see the stories of what’s in the documents.

When I began writing narratives that include photos and maps, the attitude of family members changed, and they started asking questions about my research. As a result, my research began to advance faster because my narratives helped me become organized, and relatives began offering photos, documents and told me stories.

There are several ways to share our family history narratives. Genealogists have used newsletters for many years, but the internet has introduced blogs and social media as additional avenues to share our stories. I have taken a more significant step by expanding my narratives into published books. I feel a bound book will be saved by my descendants, thus saving my hard work. Posting online could give my family instant access to my narratives, but I need to be cautious of privacy issues. Also, I believe my online posts may disappear in the future. Newsletters are easy to write and distribute, but they are easy to throw out when someone cleans off their desk. Some people save their newsletters by putting them in a ring binder, so this becomes almost like a book. These are some of the reasons why I use one of the online platforms to self-publish my family histories in bound books. Note, my research does not stop once I publish. I keep digging for more stories and trying to answer those nagging questions about why my ancestors did something or settled where they did. I update my narratives and use them as my primary research documents, so the book content is always up-to-date.

Start saving your research in a narrative format. Then, your genealogy work will be accepted and enjoyed by your family members and help your family remember your ancestors more.

Save their stories and honor them.

3 Responses to Make Sharing Your Genealogy Research Exciting for Your Family

  1. Stephens Elaine Mazurek says:

    Hello, Mr. Szabados. I read your article in the recent PAJ and am very interested in your story-based format. Is there a place I could see one of your narratives prepared as you described? Thank you for sharing this info. I will be following you from now on.

    • sszabados says:

      Two of my posts should be helpful:
      1. Short Passage from one of my Family Histories – Peter Whittinghill from September 26, 2019 at https://steveszabados.com/2019/09/26/short-passage-from-one-of-my-family-histories-peter-whittinghill/
      2. Tips on Writing Family History from March 5, 2021 at https://steveszabados.com/2021/03/05/tips-on-writing-family-history/
      You may also be able find one of the following books at a library near you:
      a. My Polish Grandmother: from Tragedy in Poland to her Rose Garden in America
      b. Memories of Dziadka
      c. Martin Szabados and Josephine Szerna: their ancestors and descendants
      d. Silas Howard and Betsey Carpenter: Their Ancestors and Descendants
      e. Origins of Peter Whittinghill and his Family
      Also, check local libraries for my book, Write Your Family History: Easy Steps to Organize, Save and Share, for a more detailed description of my methods.

      • Stephens Elaine says:

        Goodness! Thank you! This may be one of the most helpful genealogy tips I’ve received! I can’t wait to get started with this format. I have always noticed that my family also seems to trudge through the details so I believe this narrative format will be much more interesting. The timeline is a great place to start. Thanks for the examples. I just ordered one of your books, too.

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