How to Write Your Family History

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Choose a Format

Define the scope, set realistic deadlines.

  • Choose a Plot and Themes

Do Your Background Research

  • Don't Be Afraid to Use Records and Documents

Include an Index and Source Citations

  • Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University
  • B.A., Carnegie Mellon University

Writing a family history may seem like a daunting task, but when the relatives start nagging, you can follow these five easy steps to make your family history project a reality.

What do you envision for your family history project? A simple photocopied booklet shared only with family members or a full-scale, hard-bound book to serve as a reference for other genealogists? Perhaps you'd rather produce a family newsletter, cookbook, or website. Now is the time to be honest with yourself about the type of family history that meetings your needs and your schedule. Otherwise, you'll have a half-finished product nagging you for years to come.

Considering your interests, potential audience, and the types of materials you have to work with, here are some forms your family history can take:

  • Memoir/Narrative: A combination of story and personal experience, memoirs, and narratives do not need to be all-inclusive or objective. Memoirs usually focus on a specific episode or time period in the life of a single ancestor, while a narrative generally encompasses a group of ancestors.
  • Cookbook: Share your family's favorite recipes while writing about the people who created them. A fun project to assemble, cookbooks help carry on the family tradition of cooking and eating together.
  • Scrapbook or Album: If you're fortunate enough to have a large collection of family photos and memorabilia, a scrapbook or photo album can be a fun way to tell your family's story. Include your photos in chronological order and include stories, descriptions, and family trees to complement the pictures.

Most family histories are generally narrative in nature, with a combination of personal stories, photos, and family trees.

Do you intend to write mostly about just one particular relative, or everyone in your family tree ? As the author, you need to choose a focus for your family history book. Some possibilities include:

  • Single Line of Descent:  Begin with the earliest known ancestor for a particular surname and follows him/her through a single line of descent (to yourself, for example). Each chapter of your book would cover one ancestor or generation.
  • All Descendants Of...:  Begin with an individual or couple and cover all of their descendants, with chapters organized by generation. If you're focusing your family history on an immigrant ancestor, this is a good way to go.
  • Grandparents:  Include a section on each of your four grandparents, or eight great-grandparents, or sixteen great-great-grandparents if you are feeling ambitious. Each individual section should focus on one grandparent and work backward through their ancestry or forward from his/her earliest known ancestor.

Again, these suggestions can easily be adapted to fit your interests, time constraints, and creativity.

Even though you'll likely find yourself scrambling to meet them, deadlines force you to complete each stage of your project. The goal here is to get each piece done within a specified time frame. Revising and polishing can always be done later. The best way to meet these deadlines is to schedule writing time, just as you would a visit to the doctor or the hairdresser.

Choose a Plot and Themes

Thinking of your ancestors as characters in your family story, ask yourself: what problems and obstacles did they face? A plot gives your family history interest and focus. Popular family history plots and themes include:

  • Immigration/Migration
  • Rags to Riches
  • Pioneer or Farm Life
  • War Survival

If you want your family history to read more like a suspense novel than a dull, dry textbook, it is important to make the reader feel like an eyewitness to your family's life. Even when your ancestors didn't leave accounts of their daily lives, social histories can help you learn about the experiences of people in a given time and place. Read town and city histories to learn what life was life during certain periods of interest.  Research timelines  of wars, natural disasters, and epidemics to see if any might have influenced your ancestors. Read up on the fashions, art, transportation, and common foods of the time. If you haven't already, be sure to interview all of your living relatives. Family stories told in a relative's own words will add a personal touch to your book.

Don't Be Afraid to Use Records and Documents

Photos, pedigree charts, maps, and other illustrations can also add interest to family history and help break up the writing into manageable chunks for the reader. Be sure to include detailed captions for any photos or illustrations that you incorporate.

Source citations are an essential part of any family book, to both provide credibility to your research, and to leave a trail that others can follow to verify your findings.

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  • Creating a Digital Scrapbook on Your Computer
  • 10 Fabulous Sources for Family History Books Online
  • Publishing Your Family History Book
  • Filling out Genealogical Forms
  • Make Your Own Family Photo Calendar
  • Make a Memory Book for Your Family
  • Family Tree Lesson Plans
  • Researching Famous (or Infamous) Ancestors

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How to Write an Essay About My Family History

A family comprises of people living together that form a social group within a community. The people creating this group are subject to relationships either by birth or blood, and it comprises at least two adults as parents and grandparents, together with young children. The family members have a mutual connection between them. Therefore, an essay about family history is a synopsis of an individual's social identity and the reciprocal relationship(s) he/she shares with the people living together. Learning family history is vital to understand our social status, humanity, and diversity. History keeps our memories for generations to understand who they are and their geographic origin. Having a good knowledge of family background lets you appreciate the things or sacrifices made before by grandparents to experience better things in life. An individual's roots and origin bring a sense of self-discovery. Also, writing about your family history is one way of preserving its heritage for future generations.

how to start essay about family history

How to Start A Family History Essay

Outline writing, tips concerning writing a family history essay introduction, how to write body paragraphs, how to write a conclusion for a family history essay, essay revision, essay proofreading, make citations, catchy titles for an essay about family history, short example of a college essay about family history.

  • How to Get the Best Family History Essay

Buy Pre-written Essay Examples on The Topic

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When writing an essay, there is a logical structure you must follow in giving out your arguments. A proper outline will produce an exciting presentation of every section, and it will fascinate the reader. The standard structure of an essay has an introduction, body, and conclusion. Here is an excellent example of an outline for a family history essay:

  • Introduction
  • Short family background information
  • Importance of writing about the family
  • Body (paragraphs)
  • Family members; grandparents, parents, and children
  • The community in which family resides
  • Form of livelihood
  • Conclusion (a summarizing paragraph)
  • Restating your contention
  • Summarize your key ideas
  • Provide a final comment or reflection about the essay

When writing a presentation about family history, you need to provide a hook to the readers, to make them interested to know much about the family. You can start with facts or anecdotes about grandparents; for example, how they met on the first date and opted to make a family together, you can as well describe the circumstances. You can also provide an insight into a situation by your ancestors that impacted your life experience—the other thing to include in the short background information about your family. Remember to provide a clear and debatable thesis statement that will serve as the roadmap for your discussion in the paper.

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The body paragraphs contain the arguments one needs to discuss the subject topic. Every section includes the main idea or explanatory statement as the first sentence; the primary purpose is a debatable point that you need to prove. The length of a paragraph depends on the accurate measurement of ideas. In most cases, a section has about five sentences; but it can be as short or long as you want, depending on what you discuss. A paragraph has the main statement, supporting sentence(s) with evidence, and concluding sentences. When crafting the body, ensure a clear flow of ideas, connecting from one argument to the other. Transitional words, when used accordingly, can provide a nice transition and flow of ideas from one paragraph to the other. The commonly used transitional words or phrases include moreover, also, therefore, consequently, hence, thus, finally, etc.

A conclusion is as crucial as the introduction; it is the final recap of what your essay entails. The ending paragraph contains three main parts that form a full section. First, remind the audience of your thesis statement and show its relation to the essay topic. Second, provide a summary of the key arguments that you discussed in the body paragraphs. Third, it is advisable to add a final comment or general reflection about the essay. It's important to state that you should use different wording in the conclusion when restating statements and arguments. Also, remember to use signal words at the start of concluding paragraphs like in conclusion, finish, etc.

Revision is an opportunity for a student to review the content in his/her paper and identify parts that need improvement. Some students start revising as they begin drafting their essays. During revision, you need to restructure and rearrange sentences to enhance your work quality and ensure the message reaches your audience well. Revising gives you a chance to recheck whether the essay has a short main idea and a thesis statement, a specific purpose, whether the introduction is strong enough to hook the audience and organization of the article. Also, you check if there is a clear transition from one paragraph to another and ascertain if the conclusion is competent enough to emphasize the purpose of the paper.

Nothing is more frustrating than submitting an essay to earn dismal grade due to silly common mistakes. Proofreading is an essential stage in the editing process. It is an opportunity for reviewing the paper, identifying and correcting common mistakes such as typos, punctuation, grammatical errors, etc. Since proofreading is the final part of the editing, proofread only after finishing the other editing stages like revision. It is advisable to get help from another pair of eyes; you can send the paper to your friend to help you in the same process. There are online proofreading tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway, which you can use to proofread, but you should not only rely on grammar checkers. Remember to proofread the document at least three times.

Making citations is an essential way of keeping references for the sources of content you used. As you are editing, you may make several changes to the document. Do not forget to correctly provide citations for every fact or quote you obtained from other sources. There are different citation formats such as APA, MLA, etc.; therefore, you need to ensure correct usage of quotes depending on the requirement by your professor. The sources you cite present the list of references or bibliography at the end of your essay for easy reference.

  • Generation to Generation
  • The Origin of My Family
  • Our Circle and Family Heritage
  • A Lifetime of Love
  • Because of Two Lovebirds, I Am Here
  • The Family Archives
  • The Family Ties
  • Branches of The Family Tree
  • The Generational Genes
  • Forever as a Family
  • It All Started with a Date
  • Bits of Yesteryears

short essay about my family history

Would you want to know how it all started until here? My grandpa told me that he met my grandma at a concert where one of the greatest artists was performing during one of the summer holidays in New York City. As he was dancing alone, my grandpa approached a beautiful lady (who would become his soulmate) to ask her to dance together. They later agreed to meet for a dinner date. Our family lives in New York. Undoubtedly, this is the best family, and it's an honor to be part of it.

Every person has two sides within his/her family; my paternal side originates from Canada, while the maternal side is from America. Although my great grandfather comes from Canada, my grandpa and grandma live in New York. My grandfather is Afro-American who worked as a bartender, no wonder he loved concerts! My father works as a conservationist for aquatic fauna while my mother works in the bakery. My mother and father met in a supermarket when they were both doing shopping.

Although we live in the same city, my grandparents have their apartment, a distance from ours. We live as a family of five; dad, mum, and three children. As we all live in the same city, we (me and my two sisters) occasionally visit our grandparents during the weekends to spend some time with them; grandpa and I were doing some gardening while my sisters and grandma do cook and other house chores. The bond between our great parents and ours is very excellent.

At Christmas, all my children, mum, and dad travel to our grandparents for a whole week. During the new year, we get together at our house, my parent's house, to welcome the year as an entire family. Sometimes during the weekends, we usually spend most of our time on the beach swimming, except on church days. As a family, our favorite food is deep-fried fish, rice, and vegetables. However, my grandpa likes chicken hash.

In conclusion, the social co-existence between us is excellent, which has created a robust mutual bond for the family. From visiting each other, spending time on the beach, having to get together meals to usher the new year, and celebrating Christmas as a family, the bond keeps growing. I am privileged to be part of such a great family.

How to Get the Best Family History Essay?

Every student would want to produce the best essay possible to earn a better grade. One way of getting information is through previously written materials such as essay samples. Pre-written essay samples have become popular recently among college students due to the vital information they offer. There are several sites, such as Essay Kitchen, that provide pre-written essays on family history at affordable prices. Students can use the essay samples to obtain enough content and idea about paper outline the professor expect; thus, producing a quality article.

Essay writing is a daunting experience for most college students. The academic pressure, coupled with a lot of other activities, makes the whole experience an ordeal. Some students have a lot of responsibilities and find themselves with limited time to handle their academic essays. Consequently, the students use online essay writing service 12 hours at Edu Jungles to write my essay for me at an affordable rate.

how to start essay about family history

Knowing your family history is very important. It enables one to self-discover himself within the society and appreciate the lineage. When you learn about your family's past, you will understand the things you see and experience today. Writing an essay on family history requires a lot of understanding and attention to the aspects you need to describe. The critical factor being family background, then understanding how you need to structure and jot down your ideas.

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Genealogy Writing

how to start essay about family history

Have you been trying to find a way to share your family history research with others, but don’t know where to start?

Genealogy and writing go hand-in-hand, and there are many ways to express and organize your family tree discoveries on paper!

This article will introduce and compare several different types of genealogy writing projects, provide some important tips, and include a list of helpful references to learn how to write a family history.

Why you should start writing now

There are numerous benefits to organizing your research findings through a writing project. Writing allows you to share your discoveries with family and friends. Other genealogists and enthusiasts may enjoy reading your work, or find value for their own brick wall research.  Writing down your findings allows you to organize your thoughts and preserve your family history for future generations.

Writing is a natural part of the research process and is an excellent way to sharpen your skills.  It can help you notice unresolved conflicts- for example, a birth or death date for an ancestor not matching between two particular records. Writing can help reveal holes in your research- for example, you may realize that you never located a marriage record for a particular couple. It also helps pinpoint unsourced facts- pieces of information that have no source attached to them, or you cannot recall where you located that information. Logging your sources and citing facts are critical components of genealogical writing and analysis.  

When drawing a conclusion about an ancestor based on your research, writing down what you know can also reveal whether you have enough evidence to support that conclusion. Did you base your assumption on information found in one source, or by studying and comparing several sources? Genealogy writing projects can help hone your analysis skills and strengthen your research abilities.

Who is the audience?

When defining the “audience” for a writing project, consider who would be most likely to enjoy reading your work or find value in it. Many genealogists choose to write family history narratives to share with family members and friends, or to inform the larger genealogical community about their work. More experienced genealogists often create case studies or proof arguments for peer review, and to help teach others about their successful research methods. Writing options such as research logs and detailed reports are usually intended for the researcher’s use or for a more limited audience.

Make sure your writing is clear and understandable, so that the reader can follow your research process step-by-step. Your family narrative must has a linear flow so the reader can follow the story. Starting with an outline can help the writing process, and having a fellow family history peer (or two) proofread your work and offer feedback is highly encouraged.

It is important to use citations in any writing project. Citations help the writer keep track of their research sources, and they help the reader understand where and how the writer gathered their information. Citations lend credibility to your work. Creating citations and footnotes may seem like an overwhelming task, but once you learn the process for creating citations, they will soon become second nature. Family historians that are ready to create their own writing projects should obtain a copy of Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Evidence Explained is the go-to citation reference for professional genealogists, providing citation formats for dozens of different types of sources- from old, archived letters and manuscripts to websites and blogs. Another excellent guide is Mastering Genealogical Documentation by Tomas W. Jones. Dr. Jones breaks down the citation and documentation process in an easy-to-follow workbook that provides numerous skill-building exercises.

Types of genealogical writing projects

Next, we’ll compare several different types of family history writing projects, their uses, and how they can help your research.

First, a quick note about family tree software.

Although some family tree software programs can generate a report based on the information you input into your family tree, this type of automated data is not considered a written genealogical report. The software cannot compare evidence and draw informed conclusions; this “human” element of analysis is required to create a quality report. However, family tree software reports can be useful as a reference tool when compiling data and sources for a writing project.

Family histories and sketches

What are they – The most popular option for genealogical writing, family histories and sketches can be narrow, focusing on one ancestor’s life- or they can be broad, focusing on an entire branch of a family. Family histories can be very detailed, citing exact names and dates and tracking an ancestor’s appearance in records over a lifetime- or sketches can be a study of an ancestor or family during a particular event or period of time.

Audience – Family histories are intended to be shared with family members or other researchers. They can be published in genealogical publications and magazines as well.  Family historians love to hear interesting stories about others’ ancestors- don’t be afraid to submit your family story to your local genealogical society’s journal or magazine!

When and Why to write them- Family histories are a great option for newer family historians as they are easier to write, and can be expanded as you discover new facts. Family histories can be one of the more creative forms of genealogical writing, as you can include all of the interesting facts about an ancestor’s life. The researcher’s methodology and analysis is not usually included in a family history- the writing should only focus on the family/ancestor. Family histories are a great way to preserve your ancestor’s story and dive into the world of genealogical writing!

Research logs

What are they- Research logs are incredibly helpful, as they help keep track of where you have researched and what you found. Logs help you avoid duplicating research and aid in planning future searches, whether online or at a repository. Research logs are not intended to be a finished, polished product; they are used as a reference and tracking tool.

Audience- Usually only for the researcher, unless you are doing research for someone else- in which case you should be logging your work to include as part of a research report.

When and Why to write them- It is a good habit to utilize a research log anytime you are conducting research. Logs can help you make the most of your research time, and they are also valuable as a quick reference when creating citations. Logs can be as simple as a spreadsheet listing the date, where you went, and the results you found- or you can find links to many various and customizable research logs and forms on the FamilySearch Wiki .

Research reports

What are they- The goal of a research report is to answer a specific genealogical research question. Finished reports provide a summary of the research conducted, a list of sources used, and recommendations for additional research. Research reports are most often used by professional genealogists as a finished product for their clients, but they can be helpful for the genealogist’s own research goals as well.

Audience – Reports are usually intended for a select person or group, and they should be a neat, finished product. Sources should be presented in a bibliography, and facts stated in the summary should be cited. Reports created just for personal use should also be neatly written, to help you easily reference past research and gather thoughts and ideas for future research.

When and Why to write them – Reports are always a good option when conducting research for others who just want a particular question answered- for example, when and where a particular couple married. Research reports “stick to the facts” and do not usually provide a lot of narrative or speculative details. For those that are wary of taking on a broader family history narrative, a research report that focuses on a particular fact of an ancestor’s life may be a great option.

Proof arguments & proof summaries

What are they- Proof arguments and proof summaries are written by genealogists to help support their conclusions about a specific ancestral fact.Proofs focus on the analysis and methodology aspect of genealogical research, not on the ancestor’s life narrative. Proofs help to demonstrate that the genealogist conducted thorough and sound research, which is part of the Genealogical Proof Standard- the process followed by professional genealogists to reach a sound research conclusion.

A proof summary is used when there is no conflicting evidence- for example, all sources found state that James White was born on 9 September 1760 in Groton, Connecticut. The genealogist will create a summary about the type of sources they located, the information provided within, and how they analyzed the evidence to conclude that this birth date is correct.

A proof argument is used when a genealogist finds conflicting evidence for a particular fact, and they must then “prove” that their conclusion is correct. For example, some sources state that James White was born 9 September 1760 in Groton Connecticut, but other sources state that he was born 29 September 1768. The “conflicting” evidence must be resolved- for example, was there a typo repeated in several sources? Was handwriting mis-read by a transcriber? Was some of the information secondhand or not reliable? The genealogist must provide a detailed analysis to defend their conclusion.

Audience – Proof summaries and arguments are an advanced form of genealogical writing, and require a thorough understanding of genealogical research and analysis. Proof arguments are often published in scholarly magazines such as the National Genealogical Society Quarterly so that other professionals can review and learn from the work. Writing proofs can be excellent practice for family historians so that they can better understand the analysis process and learn how to look more closely at genealogical clues.

When and Why to write them- Proof arguments are an excellent option when you stumble upon conflicting evidence and need to break down the information for further study. When all sources agree, proof summaries can help you move through the evidence step-by-step to ensure that no important information was missed. An excellent reference to learn about genealogical analysis is Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones. Similar to Mastering Genealogical Documentation, this workbook provides work study examples and plenty of writing exercises, to help the reader grasp the components of the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Case studies

What are they- Think of them as a family sketch and proof summary/argument combined. Case studies are narratives with a purpose- they demonstrate how a genealogist overcame a brick wall. Case studies are very helpful as a learning tool for others who may be stuck in a similar situation with their own research.

Audience- Case studies are intended to be teaching articles for others to read and learn. As such, they should be well polished, well analyzed, and include citations. It is recommended that other genealogists proofread your work to make sure that the article is easy to follow and the research process is accurate- you want to make sure that readers can retrace your steps.

When and why to write them- Case studies are often written by seasoned professionals to demonstrate how a particularly difficult case was solved, and are often published in genealogical magazines and journals. Genealogical speakers often use case studies in their lectures as well. One thing most genealogists enjoy is sharing their discoveries to help others!

Further Reading

  • Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (Third Edition), published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015
  • Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Documentation , published by National Genealogical Society, 2017
  • Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof, published by National Genealogical Society, 2013
  • “How to Write a Genealogy Research Report,” Family Tree Magazine
  • The Board for Certification of Genealogists provides many excellent, professionally-written genealogical writing examples on their website, including research reports, case studies, and family histories.

Writing is a terrific option for genealogy professionals and hobbyists alike- and anyone can write! Don’t be afraid to start writing today to preserve your unique family story for future generations!

About the author

how to start essay about family history

how to start essay about family history

How to Go From Boring to Brilliant Family History Writing

So, you’ve done so much family history research that you’re drowning in facts and you’ve decided – that’s it – I’ve got to start writing some of this up!

how to start essay about family history

Only now you are stuck. Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Unless you’re a bit of a Marvin (from Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy) you are probably perfectly fine at telling stories. I mean, we tell snippets of stories all the time, whether it’s moaning to the postman about our encounter with a grumpy lady in Tesco’s. Or explaining our Great-Grandfather to our 3rd cousin twice removed. We tell stories daily.

Group of girls laughing at a story

It’s often only when we come to write these stories down that we struggle. We can’t find the “right” words. We lose our voice. We get bogged down in details. We forget about our core story. The thing that made us want to tell it in the first place. We either stare at a blank white page, unable to even start writing OR we write tons of words – read them back and decide we’d like to delete the lot.

Typewriter

In this article, I’ll share some tips that’ll transform your family history writing. I’m not saying you are going to become a world-renowned author. We’re not all JK Rowling. But, when you give your cousin Sue the story about your great-gran, you can be sure she’ll read it, enjoy it and therefore remember it.

Table of Contents

Before you start writing your family history, decide your audience.

Sometimes our audience is clear, such as I’m writing this for my children. But, we don’t always have a particular person in mind. You may be writing up your family history for fun, to check for gaps in your research, as ‘cousin bait’, as a blog for fellow genealogists or professional reasons.

That’s fine, but you need to try to imagine who might be reading. Let’s use my blog post on my Woodrow witch ancestor as an example. It could attract unknown cousins, fellow genealogists or person’s interested in family history. It might attract those that like reading true stories.

Spiderman reading a book

These readers all have some things in common. They are unlikely to be children. They are likely to enjoy history. Yet, some readers may have lots of family history knowledge, others none at all. I need to ensure I don’t alienate anyone. For example, I use language appropriate to their reading age but without jargon.

Envisioning your audience, their likes and dislikes will help inform your writing.

Decide On The Message For Each Piece of Family History Writing

Your writing doesn’t have to have a deep and meaningful message. But, it does have to have some sort of point. For example, my blog post ‘ Blue Blood ‘ explores my illegitimate ancestor. I wanted to make my research journey clear and to inform readers of the parentage of my ancestor. That was my message. Whereas, my blog post ‘A Hidden Victim of Ripper Mania ‘ had a statement at its heart. I wanted to use my ancestor’s story to explore the effect of constricted gender roles. I wanted to show her story of suicide as a possible consequence of Victorian rigidity.

Mfamily history writing needs a message

Regardless of whether your message is divisive, exploratory or informative, decide it before you start. Don’t let it get lost or diluted. Keep checking on your message. Are you getting to the point? Is it clear?

Set A Plan & Avoid Tangents

Before writing your family history make a plan. Exactly which ancestors are you going to cover? Over what time? Who will you start with? How will you break up their story? How does this plan work with your decided audience? Where will you show your message?

Plan your family history writing

Setting a plan will give your writing structure. It’ll ensure you cover all the points you want to explore. It’ll ensure your message comes through. It’ll help you weed out or avoid random tangents.

Odd pieces of off-topic text can be very distracting. It’s easy to fall into a trap of including things because they are ‘interesting’. This is an error. Adding random pieces of content dilutes your story. It starts to feel rambling and the message becomes lost.

Writing Your Family History

If you can't write it, say it.

One of my favourite writing styles, especially for short stories, is ‘conversational’. I like to feel like the writer is sat next to me, sharing their tale over a cuppa. That’s not always easy to emulate. So cheat! Record yourself whilst you explain the story.

Try telling your family history over writing your family history

You don’t need anything fancy to do this. Download the free app Otter ( Google Play or Apple Store ) onto your phone. This nifty programme will listen to you talk and convert your words into text. It’s not perfect but its accuracy is impressive.

Next, take that speech-to-text and edit it. Use it as a starting point and build upon it.

Pay special attention to the words you use or turns of phase. This is your real voice. Use those phases in your family history writing to make it feel more authentic.

Use Endnotes or Footnotes to separate your family history writing from sources

You don’t have to put all your details within the body of the text. I have read a lot of family histories that start like this:

“My ancestor, John Brown was born on 5th June 1857. He was christened on 10 June 1857 in St Michael’s Church, Basingstoke. His older brother, Thomas was christened on the same day. Thomas was born on 20th March 1855.”

Family history writing doesn't have to list facts

For an instant win, try putting some of those details in footnotes or endnotes, alongside any source information. Doing so transforms our sentence, to something like this:

“John and his older brother Thomas were both christened in the summer of 1857 at St Michael’s Church, Basingstoke.”

Bring Your Family History Writing To Life

Reading a list of facts is boring. We need details to help spark our imagination. Writing family history is challenging because we need both accuracy and imagination.

Let’s look at our 1857 christening example. It took place in the summer and it’d be easy to presume that the weather was hot. We need to check though! That June may have been infamous for its terrible weather.

Light up your family history writing with details

Our example took place in a church. We may look at a photo of that stone building and presume it looked the same way in 1857. Again we need to check. What if the church flooded that year? What if the building we see today is a replica?

Once we’ve got our confirmed details though, we can use them to create texts rich in detail:

“Summer 1857 was hot and the parishioners of St Michael’s Church must have felt relieved to sit within the cool of the church’s thick stone walls. On 10th June the Brown family filled the congregation. A generation of bottoms squashed into the tiny pews. I imagine the new Brown babies (Thomas and John) cried as the icy holy water splashed onto their foreheads. Three years before them, a daughter had been baptised using that same deep stone font. Her little bottom was missing from the row of Browns that watched the ceremony. Perhaps her mother, Elizabeth was thinking of her as she hushed her son’s bawl…”

Find The Right Words

Successful authors tend to have a fantastic vocabulary. Reading widely can help you to expand your own. But, you can also use a thesaurus to aid you – especially if you find you are using the same words repetitively. There are loads of free thesaurus’ online.

Read more to write more

It is also worth bearing in mind that old adage, “show not tell”. If you find your text is full of adjectives (describing words) then start pruning them! Replacing those adjectives with strong nouns can actually enhance your writing.

I recommend reading “ Kill Your Adjectives “. It really explains this concept in much more detail and gives some great examples.

Use Tech To Help With Grammar

Even the very best of writers make mistakes. That’s why they have proof readers and editors. Now, whilst using a real-life person is always best, that’s not always possible. So, use apps to try to fill the gap. Hemingway is a free editor. Type in your text and using various colours, it’ll highlight sections that use a passive voice or are hard to read. It’ll point out your use of adverbs too. Fixing these errors will lead to better writing. 

Other apps that can help include, Grammarly (a free app or chrome extension). It will point out all your spelling and grammatical errors. Underlined. In red. I hate it. I love it. It’s one of those kinds of relationships.

Editing and Proof-Reading

Apps aside, nothing beats a human eye on your work. In an ideal world, once completed, put your writing away. Leave it for at least a couple of weeks before you pick it up and start editing. Then finally hand it to someone else to read. Proof-reading is a talent. It’s why people get paid to do it! So, do what you can. Pass it to who you can. Don’t beat yourself up if 3 months later you look at it again and there’s an apostrophe in the wrong place.

Enhance Your Family History Writing

An image is worth 1000 words.

Those of us writing up our family history today have a huge advantage over our ancestors. We have the mighty power of the internet. Within seconds we can have access to quality photographs to add to our work.

Writing using typewriter

Use images to “back up” the detail you’ve written or to separate large pieces of writing. These don’t have to be images of your ancestors. Use photos of buildings, maps, artwork, newspapers. Mix it up!

On a practical note, ensure you are not breaking any copyright laws. On Google Images select Settings-Advanced Search and filter by ‘Usage Rights’ to find images marked as shareable. Read the different levels of copyright and attribute your images as appropriate. If in doubt, check with whoever owns the image before you use it. If you can’t find someone to ask and are still unsure, then don’t use it. And yes, I know exactly how frustrating that can be!

Geograph is great for free images of places and buildings within the UK. You can also utilise sites like Unsplash , Pixabay  and Pexels to find free pictures. Use Canva to curate your own images and text graphics.

Add Charts To Your Family History Writing

Make use of another advantage available to modern genealogists. Create and add family tree diagrams to your text. These not only break up long passages but make the text itself easier to follow. Use charts to explain genetic relationships. Create these either within your family tree package or using Microsoft PowerPoint or Excel, or your Mac or Google equivalent.

Break Up Your Family History Writing

Depending on the length of your family history writing, consider using tools to make it easier to navigate. Very long works benefit from contents pages and indexes. All easily created in Word.

Shorter pieces may benefit from section breaks and sub-headings.

Give It A Title

People make snap decisions about what to read. Give your text the very best chance by giving it a great title. Use the Headline Analyser to see which of your ideas is worth pursuing. Or browse these 100+ blog title ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Do You Enjoy Writing Your Family History Stories?

Writing up your family history should be enjoyable. Be honest with yourself. If writing your family history feels like a form of torture then don’t do it! It’ll come through in your writing anyway. Writing up your ancestors’ lives is not the only method of recording their histories. You could simply do some oral recordings. You could try making a presentation.

Or you could join my Curious Descendants Club! With regular workshops and challenges, this Club is designed to help you write your family history. You can find all the details here, including testimonials from existing members .

Stay in touch...

I send semi-regular emails packed with family history writing tips, ideas and stories. Plus you’ll never miss one of my articles (or an episode of #TwiceRemoved) ever again.

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how to start essay about family history

Family Essay: How to Write, Topics and Examples

how to start essay about family history

What is Family Essay and Why is It Important

Humans have a natural desire to belong to someone, to somewhere. Families provide the comfort of knowing that someone is always thinking about you. But it is a double-edged sword, as families often breed our insecurities and mental health issues.

The controversy around the family and the ambivalent emotions they cause make it a very interesting subject to write about. Researchers from different fields and backgrounds every year publish a new study of how family relationships and dynamics affect the brain's cognitive function, emotional development, etc.

What is family essay? A paper concerned with the importance of family, the Role they play in shaping individuals, its social significance, and so on is called a family essay. Family essays bring the missing insights, helping people realize how important families are and how much family dynamics could affect members' well-being.

what is family essay

In this article, you will learn how to write an essay about family. You can discover and get inspired by the list of family essay topics our dissertation service team has prepared, and later you can read the most outstanding example of all family essay examples.

What are Some Family Essay Topics

If we had to scale the types of essays from easiest to hardest to write about and choose topics for, we'd put family essays in the piece-of-cake department.

The more we know about the subject, the easier it is to know what you want to talk about. But if you are feeling uninspired, scroll through our list of distinctive family essay topics below and choose the one that hits home.

what is family essay

Family Values Essay Topic Ideas

If you were assigned to write an essay about family, but you are confused and don't know what to write about family values essay can make a great writing experience for a beginner.

Choose from the following topics suggested by our history essay writer :

  • The significance of supporting family members through life's hardships
  • The importance of maintaining close ties with extended family members
  • The Role of empathy and Compassion as family values for an average family
  • The significance of participating in a family event for strengthening family bonds
  • Is spending quality time with your family as important as they say?
  • The benefits and challenges of maintaining strong family relationships across different generations
  • Does a large family teach younger kids kindness and generosity?
  • The importance of open communication in maintaining healthy nuclear family relationships
  • The value of forgiveness in resolving conflicts between family members
  • The Role of trust in Maintaining a healthy relationship with extended family

Consider Writing a Definition Essay on Family

If you are more comfortable with descriptive essays, you can choose to write a definition essay on family. There are endless definition essay titles about family, and you can find some of the most relevant ones on the list below:

  • What makes a group of people a family in the modern world?
  • What nuclear family means: Different perspectives and cultural variations
  • Defining the family system: the complex relationships within a family unit
  • What makes a person a family member?
  • Redefining the Concept of the nuclear family in the 21st Century
  • Exploring the core beliefs that unite family members
  • How the concept of loving family has changed throughout the history
  • Analyzing the expectations within a family unite
  • How the modern standards redefined the understating of a perfect family
  • The Role of life experiences in Shaping the opinion about what family life should look like

Family Tree Essay Topic Ideas

Finding out about your family trees and ancestral backgrounds is the new trend of our century. The academic world is also keeping up with the trend, and more and more students write essays about family.

We recommend doing a research project on family ties and writing a compelling family tree essay. Leave the broad topics behind and choose one of the following:

  • The Role of Genetics in mapping your extended family tree
  • Using family trees to connect with ancestors and descendants
  • Defining the Role of a younger brother in the family dynamic
  • Learning about your family tree through oral history
  • Uncovering extended family mysteries through genealogy
  • Tracing principal family values through the branches of your family tree
  • Discovering the legacy of your elder sister in the family tree
  • How the habits of our daily life link up to our family trees
  • Understanding the importance of documenting and preserving your family legacy
  • Navigating the world of online records and DNA testing

Explore Family Tradition Essay Ideas

We all have that one family tradition; if told to anyone outside our family, they would think we are crazy. If you want to explore such customs, you should write a family tradition essay and give it a personal touch by including your family stories in a section called paragraph about my family.

For inspiration, below you will find the 10 hottest topics about family traditions:

  • How tradition can help families cope with challenges and change
  • The importance of including family members in everyday life to uphold family traditions
  • What are some new family traditions for a small and lovely family
  • Are traditions necessary for creating a happy family?
  • How family recipes for house parties connect the whole family
  • The secret tradition to a happy family: Spend quality time with your loved ones
  • We all love when cousins visit for Christmas, or do we?
  • Should birthday parties include family members?
  • Are some family traditions getting in the way of unconditional love?
  • Do traditions bring us closer to other members of our family?

Looking for Speedy Assistance With Your College Essays?

Reach out to our skilled writers, and they'll provide you with a top-notch paper that's sure to earn an A+ grade in record time!

FAQs on Writing an Essay about Family

Family essays seem like something school children could be assigned at elementary schools, but family is no less important than climate change for our society today, and therefore it is one of the most central research themes.

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions on family-related topics. Before you conduct research, scroll through them and find out how to write an essay about your family.

How to Write an Essay About the Importance of Family?

There are so many ways to think about the role family plays in every individual's life. Our immediate families shape our identities, negatively or positively affect our overall well-being, become our support systems, and so on. Start by choosing a fresh angle and draft an original thesis statement.

Brainstorm the arguments to support your ideas, reflect on your personal life experiences, and think of ways to include them in your writing to make it a more personal essay.

Create an outline within the academic standards. Include all the important elements of essay writing, such as an introduction, body paragraphs, and a captivating conclusion.

The introduction must include a statement. A body paragraph is where you elaborate on your chosen topic and angle. When speaking about the importance of the family, remember that every person's experience is different, and make sure to remain unbiased. Finish off your essay with a short but comprehensive conclusion, and don't forget to revise before submitting.

If you prefer college essay examples about family to a guide on how to write an essay about the importance of family, scroll down to check out an exceptional sample family essay from our research paper writer .

How to Write an Essay About Family and Roots?

This guide on how to write an essay about family and roots will help you reconnect with your family's background and understand who you are based on where you come from. You may find the origin of certain character traits, where your brown eyes come from, or maybe a history of eating disorders.

For starters, begin with mapping out your family tree. Ask your family members for help and go as back in time as possible. Essay writing is a time-consuming process, but for the best results, consult with the whole family. You may find people that know far more than you could imagine.

Once you've gone through all the archives and you are feeling positive about your own essay, choose the angel that will grab the reader's attention and organize your thoughts so the audience can follow the storyline. The family story essay is a little bit tricky to write. It might be a very well-known story for you, and you may feel the urge to skip some details but keep in mind that your readers need every detail to see the full picture.

Be bold when telling a story. Be original when writing introductions and body paragraphs. But stay old-fashioned when it comes to spell checking the text and revising grammar.

How to Write an Essay About Your Family History?

Our expert writers have prepared a guide on how to write an essay about your family history based on the frequently asked questions. Let's jump into it.

To write a personal essay, you will need to take a deep dive into your family's history. Before coming up with a certain topic, research the past well. You might find fascinating, less talked-about facts that are worth telling.

Research your family's history records, albums, and books, talk to people who were around to witness a certain story, and gather accurate information. There is no need for it to be a happy family story; just make sure it is authentic.

Once you are certain there are no more skeletons hiding in the closet, organize your thoughts. You can employ a compare and contrast essay outline to illustrate the variations and similarities within your family during various time periods. Even the personal essay needs a proper introduction. Use the body paragraphs to elucidate the main idea. Don't forget to write a conclusion. Look out for grammatical errors.

To gain a greater understanding, scroll down and take a look at our cogent example of essay about family.

How to Write an Essay About a Family Member?

If you have chosen a topic, now you need a guide on how to write an essay about a family member.

We suggest beginning by selecting a loved one who holds an important spot in your heart. This person may have had an impact on shaping you as an individual and with whom you share numerous memories.

Afterward, determine what aspect of this person you wish to showcase. Would it be narrating their story or demonstrating the connection they share with you and the kind of relationship that exists between both of you?

Once you are ready to tell the story, begin by crafting a strong introduction. Give a background introduction, who the person was, and how they relate to you. In the body paragraphs, tell it all. Not everyone dares to be bold and real in their personal essay. You can stand out by being authentic. Show the readers how this relative made you a better person or how they molded your identity.

If you are composing a my family essay in English as a non-native speaker, it's important to take extra precautions. Before submitting, edit and revise. Read the paper again to ensure that it is coherent and free of grammatical errors.

Example of Essay about Family

To provide a clearer understanding, our team of proficient writers has undertaken the task of creating a family essay example that delves deeper into the subject matter.

Through our meticulously crafted example, you can explore and grasp the nuances involved in crafting great family essays that are not only well-written but also thought-provoking and impactful.

Final Words

Family essays offer a plethora of opportunities to showcase students' academic ability or creativity by sharing poignant and sentimental stories. It is important, however, to adhere to the expected academic standards while writing on these topics.

Get inspired by the extensive list of topics our ' do my essay for me ' writers have offered and start an introspective journey. Following guidelines, as mentioned earlier, and meticulously revising all aspects are crucial components that cannot be overlooked in order to deliver an exceptional piece of work.

In case you find yourself struggling with inspiration or grappling with any aspect related to family essays, don't hesitate - Let our professional essay service team take care of your college essays and guide you towards becoming an exemplary student!

Having Trouble with Your Essay on the Family?

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how to start essay about family history

You might approach writing with a mixture of caution, excitement and dread. On one hand, you look forward to sharing sweeping tales about your ancestors, the journeys they have taken and the triumphs and trials they have faced.

On the other hand, though, writing can be downright hard. The saying goes that the pen is mightier than the sword (or, in our digital world, the laptop or other electronic device). But when you struggle to find the right words to describe a person who means a great deal to you, the pen might feel like little more than a blunt stick.

In fact, because family stories are so personal, writing about them can be harder than writing about something more scientific or technical. You may know more about Grandma Ethel and her childhood than anyone else—but you know so much that you fear you will gloss over something important. Every time you sit down to write about her, nagging thoughts arise: what if I’m not doing her story justice? What if I’m leaving out important details or homing in on the wrong details? What if I’m just not the writer for the job?

Fortunately, writing doesn’t have to feel like a long, uncertain battle. You can break the writing process down into manageable parts, turning it from stressful slog into an illuminating journey.

Creating a handy outline can help. Below are some strategies to guide you in creating an outline that covers all you want to share about your family history.

What is a Writing Outline?

A writing outline is a tangible plan in which you lay out:

  • what you are writing
  • about whom or what you are writing
  • the structure or organization of your work

Outlines take many different forms. Some may be linear, plotting out exactly what happens from the beginning to the end. For example, a story of your grandfather’s immigration to America may begin with the moment he left his homeland and end with him stepping foot on unfamiliar land.

Other outlines have a more stream-of-consciousness structure; you simply write whatever comes to mind as you brainstorm and use your notes as your guide. In this case, you might highlight specific descriptions or moments of your grandfather’s voyage, but don’t connect the dots,” at least right away.

This article focuses mostly on structured outlines. But the “right” outline is whichever feels the most useful to you.

And whatever outline you create, nothing in it has to be set in stone. Even if you map out Grandpa’s life perfectly from its humble start to its glorious conclusion, you may decide as you write to change some parts around, to add details, or to omit entire swaths of time and text altogether.

That’s okay. What makes the writing process so rewarding is uncovering old fond memories that you thought had turned to dust, or making new, startling epiphanies that enliven your story.

Every time I write something new, be it a story or article or essay, I end up writing something very different than what I had initially envisioned. Even the final draft of this article looks quite different from my outline. I embrace these differences, and I also embrace my outlines for carrying me to the end.

Types of Outlines

What does an outline look like? Below I highlight several common types and provide examples of each. Your outline might look entirely different, or blend elements from several varieties. What’s important is that you find an outlining strategy that helps you write your family history the way you want.

The Alphanumeric Outline

The alphanumeric outline is exactly what it sounds like: It uses a combination of letters (lowercase or uppercase) and numbers (Arabic or Roman numerals) to denote hierarchies in your thought process.

For example, you might identify three main topics you want to highlight in your family history and number them 1, 2, and 3. Then you can expand upon a main topic with supporting, more-specific “sub-topics” that you label a, b and c under the main idea. To put it another way, the main topic serves as an “umbrella” over those sub-topics.

You’ve probably used this outline to write structured essays in school—ones with a clear introduction and thesis statement, a cohesive body and a compelling conclusion. The alphanumeric outline is ideal if you’re looking to write a chronological family history that has a clear order to your thoughts.

Below is an example of an alphanumeric outline I drafted up to write a piece on my own family history:

how to start essay about family history

Note that my topics have different numbers of sub-topics beneath them. Your outline, too, might not look completely balanced. Some subjects might simply spur more inspiration or warrant a more-detailed discussion. I also gave my outline a temporary, working title to differentiate it from other outlines.

The Sentence Outline

Like the alphanumeric outline, the sentence outline sorts ideas and subjects into subject groups. However, each topic and sub-topic is written as a complete sentence. Sometimes, I’m so overflowing with ideas that I break the rules and end up creating a (short) paragraph outline.

While it may seem like extra work, this outline is useful. It forces you to engage with your ideas just as you would while writing your actual family history. As a result, you can potentially identify at the outline level what you need to expand upon and what you could possibly pare down. For instance, if you struggle to write even one sentence to sum up the topic, you may consider reworking the topic altogether.

Another thing I appreciate about the sentence outline is that it allows me to play with language and tone. Most sentences from the outline won’t survive to the actual written family history, but they do help me uncover sensory images and valuable details that I might otherwise overlook during the writing process.

I also may notice certain themes that emerge organically and tie my story together. For example, I found that the concept of myths and mythologizing the past threaded many of the topics in my outline together. This revelation helped guide my narrative throughout the entire piece.

Here’s a sentence outline for the first top I laid out in my alphanumerical outline:

how to start essay about family history

The Mind Map

If the outlines mentioned above feel too academic or rigid for you (or you just want something more visual), then the mind map may be right for you. The mind map usually begins with a single “seed” of a topic—something general, like “My Family History”—then branches off into many separate topics that intersect or sprout their own “sub-topics.” (It goes without saying, then, that a tree is an apt metaphor for the family history mind map!)

The mind map can help you visualize where your ideas are in relation to one another. As you add new ideas to your mind map, it grows, as does your understanding of what you are writing about.

Here’s a mind map outline that I created using a free version of Coggle:  

how to start essay about family history

Most mind-mapping tools allow you to create several free mind maps and use basic mapping capabilities. The paid versions of these tools offer unlimited maps and more complex features (for example, color-coding, more bubble shape options, etc).

Here’s a quick breakdown of five different mind-mapping tools: Coggle , GitMind , Microsoft Visio , MindMeister and Miro . You can review this chart for number of free maps, free features offered, paid features offers and price.

Beyond the Outline: Family History Writing Organization Strategies

You might want jump right into writing once you’ve got an outline. By all means, go ahead! But if you’re still apprehensive, here are tips that will help you ease into the writing process, both before and after you start drafting an outline.

Before the Outline

Determine the form and length of your project.

Few writers can accurately predict how many words a piece will be, so it’s okay if you’re unsure about the length of your family history. However, your outline will be more helpful if it reflects the scope of your project: how deep you plan to go into your family history and what kind of form it’s going to take.

For example, are you writing a book-length memoir that captures snapshots throughout an ancestor’s life? Or are you weaving a narrative that has a clear beginning, middle and end? Is your family history going to be a cohesive narrative, or (like mine) a collection of shorter essays or stories tied together by a theme?

Determine Who You are Going to Write About

This might go without saying, but you’ll need to know who is going to appear in your written family history before you start outlining it. With that decided, you can spend the outlining stage sketching an accurate portrait of the person(s).

Determine Where You Fit into the Story

When you read a book (especially a work of fiction), the narrative point of view is usually one of the first pieces of information you receive. Who is telling the story?

Your family history isn’t fiction, of course. But you’ll want to decide how personal your storytelling will be. Will you let readers get a closer look at who you (the author) are, through personal memories? Or will family stories be told from the point of view of an omniscient, impersonal narrator? There’s no right or wrong answer, but deciding on an approach will help you build your outline.

After the Outline

Organize and integrate research.

Once you have your outline in hand, you can start incorporating your research into it. This is more challenging than it first seems, since you probably have decades of research and plenty of facts that you want to share. It can be tempting to dump all of that information on the page during the outline stage, but I get less overwhelmed if I write my outline first , then match details and facts to specific topics mentioned in my outline.

Make sure that the research you include is relevant to the story and reflects your overall vision. You don’t want your narrative to be bogged down in unrelated details.

Identify Common Images and Narrative Threads

I mentioned above how, during the outlining process, I recognized and embraced the theme of mythology that had emerged from my outline. As you study your own, look out for those such motifs. They might not be broad (such as connections to mythology) or subtle (such as memories of the sky, sea or birds).

Of course, you shouldn’t force such imagery into your writing if it feels unnatural. But concrete images can enrich your story and provide an emotional connection that your readers will respond to.

Find Photos, Heirlooms and Other Items That Can Help Strengthen Your Story

Consider looking through your family photos and keepsakes to find any objects that will help bring your story to life. While colorful descriptions of Grandma’s kitchen at Christmas can help readers visualize the scene (a flour-covered counter, or the smell of freshly baked cookies), an actual photo can transport them there.

For example, my Yia Yia kept a journal that dates to when I was just a baby. In it, she recorded notable milestones, stowed away some fun projects we did together, and described some of our trips to church. I could describe this journal to you in great detail, but that probably wouldn’t be as interesting as seeing it for yourself!

how to start essay about family history

Final Thoughts

Outlines don’t force your family history into a prescribed, write-by-number template. Instead they guide your thoughts, spark memories and move you through years of joys and sorrows. You can always deviate from your outline—you don’t have to commit to a certain topic just because your outline says so. The outline is only a foundation that you can build higher or reshape as you see fit. Keeping that in mind will leave you open to your own treasured memories: how peaceful you felt when you walked with your grandpa through the woods; the touch of his weathered hand in your own; the sound of his wise, booming voice; how his shadow disappeared into those of the trees.

A version of this article appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of Family Tree Magazine .

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Tips for Writing Family History

When you find your family history, you should consider writing it down for others to read- especially your own family. Along with simply knowing about ancestors,  writing family history can be a gift to present and future gen e rations.

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Even more writing tips

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How to write up your family history

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how to start essay about family history

Family History Starter Guide: Writing your family history

  • Suggested reading
  • Writing your family history

Writing your family history?

how to start essay about family history

Man writing at a dressing table c. 1925 ( B 47672/49 )

Many people begin a family history because they want to ensure their family stories are preserved for future generations - whether or not they aim to write a book. The State Library attempts to collect all South Australian published family histories. We also try to collect family histories about South Australian families which have been published interstate, overseas. 

To find if the Library has a copy of a family history connected to your family: search our catalogue by subject, then enter the surname you are searching and the word 'family'. 

You could also try other libraries including Genealogy SA and the Society of Australian Genealogists.

Books about family history writing

how to start essay about family history

  • Writing a non-boring family history Publication Date: 2003 This book provides an outline for constructing research into a narrative, and how to dramatise the story.
  • Writing up your family history : a do-it-yourself guide Publication Date: 2003 This detailed guide addresses the essentials for writing and publishing your family history.

how to start essay about family history

Online family history writing resources

  • Ten steps to writing your family history by Kimberly Powell
  • Ten steps to writing and publishing your family history by Penny Stratton Webinar
  • Standards for writing

Copyright and writing your family history

When writing your family history it is likely that you will want to use photographs, newspaper articles, or other material which may be in copyright .  

The links below provide general information about family history and copyright.

  • "Copyright for Genealogists", Family Tree Magazine
  • "Who owns Genealogy? Cousins and Copyright" on Genealogy.com
  • "Standards For Sharing Information With Others" National Genealogical Soc., USA

Copying and publishing

If you decide to publish your family history and decided to use images from the State Library, or need to know more about copyright, publishing and ordering copies from our collections, read:

Acknowledging your State Library of South Australia Sources .

Legal deposit

  • Depositing a copy of your family history

To ensure books and other published works are preserved for future generations, the Australian Government has legislation which obliges publishers to provide one copy (free of charge) to the State Library of South Australia. ( Libraries Act , 1982, s. 35)

If you compile a book or other publication, post a copy to the library, or simply bring it to the Information Desk.

how to start essay about family history

Olive Talbot c. 1920 ( PRG 1555/7/1 )

Storing your information

  • Preserving digital memories This site gives tips for preserving digital information such as photos and emails.

Recording your family tree

Whether you plan to publish your family tree or not, you may like to record your information on a computer program or database capably of creating family trees and pedigree charts.  Gould Books at St Agnes (SA), who specialise in genealogy products, may be a good place to start looking. 

For basic charts and forms you can print out why not go to the Home tab above and check out the 'Forms and Charts' box.

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Composing a strong essay introduction about your family history

So, you’ve been assigned to write a family history essay. You have done your research and questioned your relatives about your ancestors, but now you do not know what to do with all that information, or how to put it all together. More importantly, you do not know how to write your introduction paragraph! You needn’t worry, read our guidelines and get prepared to rock your family culture essay!

  • Doing the right research Gathering information about your ancestors could seem daunting, but it is easier that you might think. True, it takes some time to get all the pieces glued together, but if you do it right it can be very interesting, and it will give you a better appreciation of things you take for granted. Try to understand how your family today has what it has, and what sacrifices were made back then for your family to live the life you have now. Be grateful for the work of your grandparents, and your great-grandparents. When gathering information about your family tree, try to focus on unique life stories rather than on dates, years, and just relations. Finding out details about your ancestors can be fun and writing about their life stories in your homework will make your paper more interesting to read. Start with your parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, etc. Hearing stories about themselves and their stories about your great grandparents is often much more engaging than finding a family tree online, or reading about them from your family diaries.
  • Structuring your paper The structure of the “essay on my family” is similar to any other. There should be an introduction paragraph in which you will grab your reader’s attention and make them want to continue reading your story. Then compose body paragraphs, which can be divided depending on how you choose to write about your family. For example, you can devote each paragraph to a member of your family, where you will write a short text about an interesting detail from their life and their impact on your family’s life today. Using graphs in your family culture essay is almost a must, so either ask someone to help you craft your family tree with the help of the internet. Using various data throughout your essay will make it more of a research assignment, than a story about your family. Decide which direction you want to take, and go ahead and write. In the end, write a conclusion paragraph.
  • The introduction paragraph And now, the most important tip. How to put together an amazing introduction paragraph? An introduction paragraph that will snatch your readers’ attention? Here are some of the best ways to do it properly: 1) Start with an anecdote from your grandma or grandpa. For example, write how they first met and decided to have a family together, describe the circumstances, etc. 2) Describe a situation in which you realized how much your ancestors affected your life and why. 3) If there is an interesting background (and there must be) to one of your ancestor’s story about starting his business, or building his first house, or moving from one country to another, write about that in a way that defines the tone of your paper. 4) If one of your relatives was a famous person, you could begin by telling the story about him/ her. 5) Maybe there is a forbidden love story about your great grandparents? One of them was poor and the other one rich, but they decided to get married despite their families’ differences? Begin with that!

Every homework demands attention and time to get finished and done properly. Approach this one with an open mind, and you won’t lack a terrific paper in the end!

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My Family History Essay Example

Family history is a journey that can take many different shapes. For some, it’s the story of how they became who they are today. For others, it might be simple curiosity about their roots or where their last name came from. It could also be an investigation into family secrets and mysteries for those with a more adventurous personality.

Writing an essay on family history is really challenging when it comes to describing every important aspect of it. That is why the essay sample serves an important purpose for the students here.

Essay Sample on My Family History

  • Thesis Statement of My Family History Essay
  • Introduction of My Family History Essay
  • How Did Our Family use to live under a Single Roof?
  • What are the Values that we learn by living in Joint Family?
  • Causes that Separated the Family into little pieces
Thesis Statement of My Family History Essay This essay talks about my joint family or family tree in which we used to have a lot of fun and enjoy being together. Various glimpses of this happiness of togetherness is described in the essay below. Introduction of My Family History Essay Like every other family, we have our own family history which is illustrated herein details to the readers. The essay talks about how we used to live under a single roof and we have no need to set appointments to ask our elders for dinner. These joys of togetherness bring certain values in us as well like how to be happy among the people of different nature and hope. What is the result of being in togetherness that could be found in this essay? Readers will come to know about the instances that separate us from a joint family to a nuclear family in recent times. Main Body of My Family History Essay Here a detailed description of the family history is given to let you know about the era of happiness that used to exist in our life. Each and every single detail is given in this essay for better clarity of things. How Did Our Family use to live under a Single Roof? It dates back to the days when we were small kids and our grandmother used to feed us with a variety of dishes. Every day was like a festival for us as we were not supposed to go out for school and used to sit in the vicinity of our grandmother to listen to the different stories from her. We used to dine together and no one was supposed to watch television at the time of food. This is how we were spending our days happily. My parents were also very melodious towards us and everyone who visits our home at that time was bringing some refreshments to us. Hire USA Experts for My Family History Essay Order Now What are the Values that we learn by living in Joint Family? The joint family not only gave us happiness but at the same time, we adopt many values from our elders as well. For instance, living happily and ignoring the mistakes of others is the most important feature of residing in a joint family. That is what happened to us. We never fight with each other our siblings and always used to abide by the instructions of the parents whatever they ask us to do. More patience, compromise for small things, and becoming happy in the joy of others are some important things that we gained from our family history. The roots of love between the family members could easily be traced in those days. Causes that Separated the Family into little pieces As well said by a great philosopher that every good thing comes to an end eventually similar happened in our case as well. My grandmother died of cholera and we remain behind with the parents. As our age was gradually increasing we were sent to a school where the boring routine makes us remind of the old days and then the pressure of study starts suppressing our joy of being with the grandmother. We used to miss her for the entire long day, be that in the school hours or in the evening. Even the parents fail to continue the same routine of dining together owing to their jobs and all that we find around us was chaos in life. Buy Customized Essay on My Family History At Cheapest Price Order Now Conclusion The above essay draws a conclusion that it is a very positive thing to live in a joint family as it teaches values to us. But at the same time due to time constraints and technology-driven lifestyle we cannot suppose to cope up our life in joint families. This is how the family history has been narrated and it gives us a lesson that we should do something to save the ancient culture of staying together happily.

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Nine Tips to Start Your Family History

If you are just beginning to research your family history, be sure to take advantage of the resources listed below. They will provide you with a solid foundation as you build your family tree.

  • Download and save a free NGS Pedigree Chart and NGS Family Group Sheet . These free charts will help you keep information organized. Get a notebook for written notes or preserve notes in Word or Google Docs, or use a mobile friendly app like Evernote. Back up everything as you work digitally.
  • Recommended guide book: NGS’s Paths To Your Past : A Guide to Finding Your Ancestors, 2018 Edition.  
  • Write down and keep track of all surname spelling variations (surname = last name).
  • Talk to your relatives. Start with the oldest ones first. Be sure to take written notes or record your interviews.
  • Ask family members for permission to see certificates and make a record of family birth, marriage, death, and burial records (known as vital records) in your free Pedigree chart and Family Group Sheet. Also ask if family histories, Bible records, and ancestors’ photographs exist.
  • Document your findings so you will know the exact sources later. NGS can help you: See our Family History Skills course and Mastering Genealogical Documentation .
  • Get to know your local library, reference librarian, and especially its collections and digital resources for genealogy research.
  • Network: Join a local genealogy and/or historical society.
  • Learn how to search the large primary databases— Ancestry , Family Search , Findmypast , and MyHeritage —and get to know their resources.

Welcome to the National Genealogical Society. Login or create a free account.

Home — Essay Samples — Life — Family History — An Overview Of My Family History

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An Overview of My Family History

  • Categories: About Myself Family History Who Am I

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Words: 723 |

Updated: 1 December, 2023

Words: 723 | Pages: 2 | 4 min read

Works Cited

  • The Holocaust Encyclopedia. (2022). United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved from https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/
  • Protestantism. (2023). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Protestantism
  • Janette Smith's Life Story: A Journey of Faith and Family. (n.d.). Personal memoir.
  • Assembly of God. (n.d.). ReligionFacts. Retrieved from https://www.religionfacts.com/assembly-god
  • The Woman's Hospital of Texas. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.texaschildrens.org/locations/womans-hospital-texas
  • NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster: STS-107. (2023). NASA. Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/columbia/home/STS-107.html
  • Hurricane Katrina. (n.d.). National Geographic. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.org/article/hurricane-katrina/

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  1. How to Write a Family History Project

    Kimberly Powell Updated on August 07, 2019 Writing a family history may seem like a daunting task, but when the relatives start nagging, you can follow these five easy steps to make your family history project a reality. Choose a Format What do you envision for your family history project?

  2. 9 Tips for Getting Started on Writing Your Family History

    9 Tips for Getting Started on Writing Your Family History By Editors of Family Tree Magazine Written by Diane Haddad, unless otherwise noted. Once you've been doing genealogy research for a while, and you have a family tree or a computer hard drive or a filing cabinet with a bunch of notes and old records, you might wonder what to do with it all.

  3. How to Write an Essay About My Family History

    Conclusion How to Start A Family History Essay Outline Writing When writing an essay, there is a logical structure you must follow in giving out your arguments. A proper outline will produce an exciting presentation of every section, and it will fascinate the reader. The standard structure of an essay has an introduction, body, and conclusion.

  4. Genealogy Writing

    Marc McDermott Last updated: December 4, 2023 Have you been trying to find a way to share your family history research with others, but don't know where to start? Genealogy and writing go hand-in-hand, and there are many ways to express and organize your family tree discoveries on paper!

  5. How to Go From Boring to Brilliant Family History Writing

    Next, take that speech-to-text and edit it. Use it as a starting point and build upon it. Pay special attention to the words you use or turns of phase. This is your real voice. Use those phases in your family history writing to make it feel more authentic.

  6. Family Essay: How to Write, Topics and Examples

    Family Values Essay Topic Ideas If you were assigned to write an essay about family, but you are confused and don't know what to write about family values essay can make a great writing experience for a beginner. Choose from the following topics suggested by our history essay writer:

  7. Writing Your Family and Personal History • FamilySearch

    Why write a family history? Evaluating our history reminds us of who we are. Evaluating major events in our lives helps us and our posterity become reacquainted with who we are. Take a good look at events in our past; tell those who read the history our strengths and weaknesses.

  8. How to Create an Outline for Writing an Interesting Family History

    For example, you might identify three main topics you want to highlight in your family history and number them 1, 2, and 3. Then you can expand upon a main topic with supporting, more-specific "sub-topics" that you label a, b and c under the main idea. To put it another way, the main topic serves as an "umbrella" over those sub-topics.

  9. Writing a Family History Biographical Essay, Part 1

    One way you can write a family member or ancestor to life is to write a biographical essay. The purpose of writing a biographical essay is to develop a main idea or a point about a person. Think of yourself as a journalist writing a feature piece on an interesting person rather than a family historian writing a biographical profile.

  10. How to Write the Best Family Histories

    Tips for Writing Family History. When you find your family history, you should consider writing it down for others to read- especially your own family. Along with simply knowing about ancestors, writing family history can be a gift to present and future gen e rations.

  11. How to Write? and 400 Words Essay on Family History

    Introduction (Outline): Write a short brief about your family background and why your family is important Body: Write about your family members, how you live together and who your neighbors Conclusion: Rehashing your conflict, Sum up your key thoughts, and Give a last remark or reflection about the paper Essay on Family History 400 Words in English

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    Family History Essay Topics. Instructor: Clio Stearns. Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction. Cite this lesson. Learning to write ...

  13. How to write up your family history

    01 February 2023 | How to write-up your family history Looking for a way to share your family history findings with family and friends? Our 3 step plan takes you from the planning stage through to a written family history you can be proud of! So, you've made a good start on tracing your family tree and found some fascinating ancestors, what next?

  14. Create a Family History • FamilySearch

    Introduction Happy Family.jpg This lesson will help you explore some of the ways to preserve your unique family heritage. What Is a Family History? A family history is a record of a family and of the lives of family members. It is usually written as a book, and this lesson will give ideas and instructions on writing a family history book.

  15. Getting Started with Family History (By Starting at the Beginning)

    1) Record What You Know If you're starting with yourself, you should start by recording your own information. The basics in family history are dates and places for births, marriages, and deaths. (Of course, you won't be recording death information on yourself.) Next, move to your immediate family.

  16. Family History Starter Guide: Writing your family history

    Many people begin a family history because they want to ensure their family stories are preserved for future generations - whether or not they aim to write a book. ... who specialise in genealogy products, may be a good place to start looking. For basic charts and forms you can print out why not go to the Home tab above and check out the 'Forms ...

  17. My Family Essay How to Write Essay About Family ️ Examples

    11 10.04.2022 It can be intimidating to write a paper about family. Essay writing is difficult enough on its own, but you may think, "When writing about my family, essay research and writing will feel so personal." Our family memories are some of the most personal we have; they shape how we see and interpret the world.

  18. Crafting a powerful essay introduction about family history

    1) Start with an anecdote from your grandma or grandpa. For example, write how they first met and decided to have a family together, describe the circumstances, etc. 2) Describe a situation in which you realized how much your ancestors affected your life and why. 3) If there is an interesting background (and there must be) to one of your ...

  19. My Family History Essay Example

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  21. Nine Tips to Start Your Family History

    Nine Tips to Start Your Family History Are you ready to start building your family tree? Here are nine tips to start your family tree with links to a free Pedigree Chart and Family Group Sheet, essential tools for your research.

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  23. 150 Creative Ideas for Writing An Essay About My Family

    December 18, 2023 A family essay is about understanding all the ins and outs of what makes families tick, and you've got a ton of room to explore some dope topics. So, get ready to dive in and break down what family really means in today's world! What Is A Family Essay? Alright, listen up, mate.