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Hints on Gathering Information For a Family History

What do you want from your book?

A family history serves many valuable purposes. But your family may want to emphasize a particular area. Some families are most interested in educating and mentoring future generations. Others want the book closely tied to the family business, and use it as a management tool for younger family members, managers and other employees. It is a good idea to sit down with other family members and discuss your objectives for the book, and what you expect the book to do for your family and perhaps the family company.

Personal Interviews

Discuss who in the family should be interviewed for the family history. The oldest living members of the family certainly should be included. Most families have one or two members who have made it their business to learn about past generations, and they will be a valuable source of information.

Papers, letters, diaries

The family should name a group within the family whose responsibility it is to gather relevant written material, and duplicate it. The writer of the history will want to dive in to this material, and having it collected will save a great deal of time. It will also be valuable if the material can be catalogued by year or decade.

Photography

Photography plays an important role. Photos jog memories and so are often used by the writer during the interview process. A good way to organize photos is to write a number on the back of each photo, and then create an index of photos by number with a brief description of each photo. Greenwich Publishing can also create a digital library for all your photos and videos.

Friends, Business Associates

If you are willing to go outside the family for information, close friends and business associates of family members can offer another perspective on a major family event. Some might even have photos that could be of interest.