Sunday, 6 May 2018

Writing Family History Course starts in June

From genealogist Gill Blanchard, a forthcoming creative writing course for family historians:

Writing Family History Course
Tutor: Gill Blanchard
Author and Professional Family Historian
MA. Biography and Creative Non Fiction (UEA)

Module One: 10 Weeks
Start: 16 June 2018

This is a practical writing course spread over a ten week period that guides participants through the process of bringing their ancestors to life. The aim is on producing an entertaining family history that other people want to read. The lessons will focus on enabling students to choose the most suitable format for them, decide what to include and how, and find and add relevant context. The tutor will provide personalised and in-depth feedback on students writing throughout the course.

Students will be encouraged to move beyond a basic ‘John begat William and Jane begat Mary’ chronicle; learn how to integrate relevant social and local history materials and to deal with repetitions, missing pieces and anomalies in their writing.

The course lasts for ten weeks with two weeks between each of the five sets of course materials to allow time for reading, writing, critiquing and feedback. The lessons include writing exercises, focussed guidance, useful tips, writing examples, links to useful resources and background reading. There will be regular live online discussions with the tutor and other students. A dedicated learning hub can be used at any time throughout the course to share work, ask questions and post news.

This course is aimed at those who have completed a body of research into their family history and are ready to start writing.

Week One: Starting Out

When to stop researching.
Format and what to include.
Introduction to the Writing Craft.
Introduction to Adding Context.
Writing exercises and feedback.

Week Two: Expanding a Family History Biography

Structuring a family history continued.
Dealing with repetition and anomalies.
Adding background context.
Writing exercises and feedback.

Week Three: Bringing your Family History to Life – Building Background Material

Social and local history context continued.
Creating authenticity.

Week Four: Developing a Family History Further

Focussed work using local histories, biographies, autobiographies, letters, memoirs and oral histories to build context.
Writing exercises and feedback.

Week Five: Introduction to Publishing, Layout and Production and Review

Editing and layout.
Printing and publishing.
Reviewing progress.
Writing exercises and feedback.

To sign up visit

(With thanks to Gill)


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

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