WYFH Module One

Writing Your Family History – Module One – Spring 2022


Tutor: Gill Blanchard
Author and Professional Family Historian
MA. Biography and Creative Non Fiction (UEA)
Module One: 12 Weeks comprised of five lessons and weekly group discussions
Start: April 2022
End: July 2022

Categories: ,

This is a practical writing course spread over a twelve 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 twelve weeks and is comprised of five lessons. The first four lessons are posted online at fortnightly intervals, with an extra week after lessons four and five to allow additional 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.

Starting Out

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

Expanding a Family History Biography

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

Bringing your Family History to Life – Building Background Material

  • Social and local history context continued.
  • Creating authenticity.

Developing a Family History Further

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

Introduction to Publishing, Layout and Production and Review

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