So where do you go from here? You have a pile of certificates, photographs and notes, but how do you turn all your hard work into something more tangible and something that your friends and family would love to read? It’s not easy, but here’s a little helping hand.
Writing a family history biography, or your families story, isn’t for everyone and I always say to anyone that I speak to, ‘it’s your family history, how you choose to present your work is your own personal choice’. It could take the form of a visual representation, pictures, collages, framed images, or it could take the form of a book, or you could choose like I did, to create your own blog. Whatever you decide to do, it has to be right for you and only you. You have to feel comfortable with what you are doing otherwise you will fall at the first hurdle and give up too easily, the key thing in all this, is to enjoy it!
But writing about your ancestors isn’t easy, it doesn’t come natural to all of us. I am neither a scholar or a natural writer, but as the saying goes, the hardest step is the first step. So how and where do you start writing a family history story or biography? You could do what I did and stumble along in the first few months, learning by discovery, but there is an alternative to this and something that I wish was around when I first started writing my family history stories, look no further than Natalie Pithers Curious Descendants Club!
So what is the Curious Descendants Club I hear you ask?
In a nutshell it is a fun and friendly place for all levels of experience, where people can come together to learn and grow their writing skills, somewhere to share your writing with each other and work together on various projects and workshops. But it’s a whole lot more than just that. Writing can feel like a ‘chore’, especially if you’re new to writing your family history. Here at the Curious Descendants Club, Natalie is able to carefully change the fear and dread of writing and make it a complete pleasure! Natalie is an extremely experienced professional genealogist and family history lover who brings her enormous enthusiasm and experience in such a way that guides you through the whole writing process, no matter what your previous experience is. The important bit to remember is that we have all been in your shoes and tentatively taken our first steps.
The Club doesn’t just offer lessons on how to write, it offers the perfect balance of writing help and family history tailored advice. Here you will also find lots of wonderful practical advice, the emphasis on “learning by doing”, rather than just being ‘told’ what you should do, by experienced experts. The beauty of being a member of the Curious Descendants Club is that you can learn at your own pace, there are no “Curious Descendants Club Police” chasing you for missing a deadline! Our personal lives have the habit of changing quickly, so there is no pressure to complete exercises and workshops in a set time frame, you can pick up where you left off and revisit workshops and tutorials as many times as you need.
So what exactly do you get when you subscribe to the Curious Descendants Club?
For me one of the most enjoyable parts of being a member of the Club is the members forum. Sometimes when you are researching or writing your family history, you can feel ‘alone’. Not with the Curious Descendants Club, the online forum is full of help, tips, ideas and prompts to help you every step of the way. You can also share your work with others and receive a peer review of your work from fellow members. You can also make new connections with like minded family history researchers in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. I really enjoy that aspect to being a member. There are of course live workshops and interactive challenges that you can work through, either individually, or you might decide to collaborate with a fellow member and work on a project together. There are so many wonderful challenge handouts to download that will help you every step of the way to embed the new skills that you have learnt, as you work through the various workshops and challenges. Add to this the beautifully created workbooks that walk you through each step in the process and act as a reference book that you will be able to constantly refer to.
Creative writing isn’t easy, it’s like any other aspect of learning, it’s a skill that has to be learnt over time. At the Curious Descendants Club you learn to write confidently and effortlessly and you get to enjoy the whole experience rather than fear it. Here you get the opportunity to compare different writing styles and techniques and learn to develop your own unique style. The beauty of being a club member is of course that you are not alone, help is provided every step of the way. We all need to feel inspired and inspiration comes in many shapes and forms and sometimes when you least expect it! Sometimes it’s our own fear of failing that holds us back and prevents us from taking those first nervous steps. The Curious Descendants Club provides that helping hand both as you take those first tentative steps and as your skills develop.
The only way to truly understand the lives of your ancestors is to add social and historical context to the nuts and bolts of your family tree BMD’s and census returns. It’s only by gaining a deeper understanding of the world in which they lived that we can get a really true insight or glimpse into the lives of our ancestors. The Curious Descendants Club can help you with the hardest part in all of this, the narrative.
Like I said at the very start, it’s your family story and you can take it in whatever direction you want, don’t be put off by trying to be the greatest ever story teller, but instead, try to tell your families story in the best way possible, after all, whatever you write is more than you have today, and the most important part of all is try to enjoy it!
You can sign up to become a Curious Descendants Club member here:
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6 thoughts on “The Curious Descendants Club”
So important to write down what we’ve learned about our family tree and the lives of our ancestors! Natalie Pithers has a great idea here, to provide tools and support as we put the stories together.
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I agree Marian Natalie offers a wealth of different ideas to help us capture and tell our ancestors stories
Awesome idea for a club! I wrote a biography about my grandfather’s immigration to Canada. It was cathartic for me as a poetic yet pragmatic project. Certainly something everyone should do for themselves!
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I agree Devin writing about these experiences can certainly be helpful and give you a much deeper understanding of who you are and where you come from