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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

From Book to Blog - Writing Up Research

What do you do with all the information you gather on your family history?  Magazines are full of articles on research advice, archive sources and new websites, but it is far more difficult finding guidelines on writing up your research.   The challenge, of course, is when to stop researching and start writing - it is always a case of "I'll wait until I have found out that vital missing bit of information". 

My inspiration came from a book I came across some time ago "William and Christina:  One Woman's Search For Her Ancestors" by Hilary Wallace Forrester.  I was immediately attracted by its format of linking local and family history and giving an emphasis to sources. The author traces the story of her great grandparents - their ancestors and descendants, the background to their lives and the places (Scottish and English Border country) and the times in which they lived.   My own story of "James and Maria - A Fylde Story of their Ancestors and Descendants" owes much to her style.

Progress is slow and I have only completed Part 1- The Rawliffe Story, based around my great grandmother Maria, wife of James Danson. There is something special about seeing my work in a printed and bound format, rather than loose-leaf in a file.

One feature I introduced  in each chapter was a timeline text box  to show what was happening in the  lifetime of my ancestors on the local, national and internationlal scene,  whether it was the opening of the railway, the invention of the sewing machine, the Irish Potato Famine,  or the Crimean War. People seem to like this and I have used it a lot when writing up family histories for friends. 

Now I have become a blogging enthusiast, my "magnum opus" has come to a halt and my deadline for a Christmas finish for "Part 2 - The Danson Story"  looks increasingly unlikely.  Compiling short articles for the blog and using my collection of family photographs has taken over and is giving me huge pleasure.  It is a great, quick and satisfying way of writing up research! 

Look out for my next two articles to commemorate Remembrance Day:
The Danson Family at War
William Danson - Postcards from Flanders.


  1. How great that you've written up part 1!! That's certainly farther ahead than many of us. I love the picture you show on the front cover. Good luck on getting part 2 finished :-)

  2. Welcome to Geneabloggers! Good to have another UK genealogist on board. I am also writing my own family history book - but I often seem to be a "one day novelist" as in "I'll write it one day"!

  3. Hello and welcome Geneblogger. I joined last week. You have a really interesting blog and I am impressed that you are writing you family history book - I've never got round to starting it. I am another UK genealogist living in Leeds. Here's a link to my blog if you're interested - http://mikeydawson.wordpress.com/
    I will link to you in my blog list.

  4. I'm glad you switched to a blog so that the rest of us can learn about your family, fun, and research. I haven't done it but other bloggers have written about using blurb.com to turn blog posts into a book. You might like to try that after part 2 is finished. Welcome.
    Nancy from My Ancestors and Me at http://nancysfamilyhistoryblog.blogspot.com

  5. Many thanks to everyone for their kind comments on my recent posting "From Book to Blog". I am still finding my feet in making contact this way, with fellow family history enthusiasts. It is encouraging to find out others are looking at my writings, and I am also gathering lots of ideas from seeing other blogs. Keep looking! ScotSue


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