Friday, April 5, 2013

13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories ~ A Review

Have you ever been within earshot of an elder member of your family who is regaling days gone by, or wistfully reminiscing about "the good 'ole days?" Were you one of those kids, like me, who liked to "draw the old folks out," perhaps testing their memories, and smiling as they enjoyed sharing their tales with you?

Perhaps you are the glad recipient of a precious family heirloom or two, or, like me, find yourselves digging through boxes of loose pictures and scrapbooks, knowing there is a story behind each one.

If you have enjoyed reading about my family history here, and have said to yourself, "Someday, I really need to find the time to ask Mom or Dad about our family," then I have the perfect resource for you!

After four years, Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith has updated his original how-to book, 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories, and has released the second edition.

Do you have family history and ancestor stories collected and researched? Do you want to share them and tell your stories, but don't know how or what venue to use? This book has your answer.

Preservation and interpretation of your ancestor stories will occur most effectively if you use multiple approaches to telling your ancestor stories to your family and interested others. Showing you how to do this is the purpose of this book.

The content of you telling of ancestor stories includes your life as well as the lives of your two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great grandparents, etc., and their siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. Ancestor stories include the social context in which these folks lived, their clothes, their farms or ranches, their religion (or not), their occupations, their loves and antagonisms, their education (or not), their friends and neighbors, and the mundane details of their daily lives.

13 sections suggest a variety of ways to tell your ancestor stories; each section has a Planning Worksheet to assist you in doing it most effectively.

Dr. Bill describes in clear language the 13 most effective tools for telling your stories, some of which you may have some familiarity with, like a blog, website, or wiki, as well as others which may be new to you, like podcasts, videos, and oral performance.

While the currency of his tools is unquestionable, it is only matched by his imaginative suggestions on how to utilize these tools to the best advantage. In addition, he promotes "mixing it up", varying your presentation style/tool, as a way of aiming for different audiences.  At the same, he doesn't tell you how to accomplish your goal of preserving and interpreting your stories; he simply points you in a wide variety of directions, prompts you to think about each approach's strengths and weaknesses, and gives you plenty of space to clear the cobwebs, and create your own product.

13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories is available at both Amazon and Lulu.

13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories. By Dr. Bill (William L. Smith). Published by Lulu, 2013. ISBN 978-1-300-79789-0.  77 pp.  Appendix, worksheets. Paperback.

About Dr. Bill: Dr. Bill enjoys telling and sharing ancestor stories and related family history social context. He has published four family histories to date, with more in progress. For the latest on Dr. Bill, his writings and stories, see his blog
Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories.


Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary PDF version of this book as part of my participation in his Book Blog Tour.

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