Course Detail

Writing Family History Narratives and Other Genealogical Works GEN221

Course Description

Class runs from July 28 - August 1, 2014.

Taught by Dr. John Philip Colletta and Pamela Sayre, CG, This course explores a broad range of genealogical writing, including genealogies and family histories, scholarly articles, reports and summaries, and guides and manuals; however, it focuses heavily on the principles and mechanics of writing and publishing narrative family history. Elements of grammar, syntax and vocabulary, forms of documentation, kinship numbering systems, indexing, illustrations, layout and other aesthetic considerations are all discussed and demonstrated with examples. Ways to organize materials, establish historical context and create vivid and engaging real-life stories are addressed. Hands-on computer lab training in the use of MicroSoft Word 2010 includes features for citations, numbering, layouts and editing. The mechanics of self-, subsidized and commercial publishing are explained, whether publishing on paper or electronically. Two in-class exercises involving writing and editing allow students to apply the concepts taught. Reading assignments culminate in a class discussion of a broad sampling of non-fiction family history narratives. Genealogists at all stages of the research process will benefit from this course.

Who Should Attend

Genealogists at all stages of the research process will benefit from this course.


* Students should have completed the BU Genealogical Research Certificate Program or have comparable experience.
* Familiarity with Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills and Professional Genealogy manual
* Prior to the course, students should read the Writing and Compiling and Editing and Publishing sections of Professional Genealogy manual

Scheduling Details

  • * Four and a half days of instruction, approximately seven hours each day with a break morning and afternoon and an hour for lunch.
    * Limited on-campus summer housing is also available on a first come, first serve basis for $66.00 per night. Students will be able to check in on Sunday, July 27th and check out will be Friday, August 1st. Please call 617-353-4497 for details and to reserve your room. *This course is also available for students to attend remotely if they wish to. Students must have a high speed internet connection and minimum system requirements to use the Adobe Connect tool to log in daily and participate in the course during course hours. *This course is limited to 8 remote students and 24 registrations total.

Textbooks and Class Materials

  • Numbering Your Genealogy, Curran, 2008, ISBN: 97809151566970 required

    Producing a Quality Family History, 1996, Hatcher, Turner Publishing, ISBN: 9780916489649 recommended

    Evidence Explained, 2nd Ed. 2009, Shown, Genealogy Publishing, ISBN: 9780806318066 required

For more information, please call 1-866-633-9370.