Telling stories

Family stories can be fascinating – who doesn’t remember as a child hanging around hoping the adults would forget about you so you could hear all the things you didn’t completely understand but which you just knew were really interesting. It seems a shame then that family histories can be such dull, plodding affairs.

All that work on the research, all the secrets and intriguing facts uncovered and they can end up a mere welter of dates and names and places; a catalogue that may be useful and informative but that no-one really wants to read.

Future generations will be grateful to those genealogists who take the trouble to transform their family history into a readable narrative but it can be a daunting task for those who feel their writing skills are a little lacking. Wanting to know how to give shape and meaning to the results of all that slaving over a hot microfiche must be a trend if there are books on how to do it and so there are.

Writing family history: a very easy guide and Writing your family history: a New zealand guide should both be useful but for true hands on help with getting all that research down in a compelling manner come along to South Library in Colombo Street on Wednesday 17th September at 10 a.m.

As part of New Zealand Book Month Joan Currie of the New Zealand Society of Authors will be running a Writing  Family History Workshop offering tips on organising the material, bringing people to life, and setting them in place and time.