google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Armchair Genealogist


One More Reason You Should be Writing with Scrivener

Buy Scrivener 2.x for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)

Here at The Armchair Genealogist, we are pretty big fans of the writing software Scrivener. Recently the makers of Scrivener, Literature and Latte, released their long-awaited iOS app for Scrivener. You can now use Scrivener on your iPhone,  iPad, and iPod. Previously, you could sync your Scrivener projects across your Windows and Mac desktops, laptops and netbooks using Dropbox. Now you can add your iPhone, iPad and iPod to the list.  You will still require Dropbox to make this happen.

iPhone App for Notes

To be perfectly honest I don’t see using the iPhone app for writing. However, I can see using it to make notes. Do you have those moments when you finish writing but your brain hasn’t quite finished writing? I do!  An idea, phrase or word comes to you that you just have to write down?  Now I can quickly open Scrivener on my iPhone and make a note. Also, if you’re familiar with how I use Scrivener for writing a family history, then you know that I also keep an ongoing research list in Scrivener. Now I can quickly access that list from my iPhone. I’m sure as I continue to use the app I will find new ways to use it for my writing and I will be sure to share them with you.

Scrivener on the iPad

I do know many of you love using the iPad for writing. The fact that it has a long battery life makes it a great writing tool, especially for travelling. With the new iOS app, you can sync your Scrivener to your iPad. Handy! It might actually be the tipping point for me to buy an iPad.

The iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch app costs $19.99 and provides the full range of features that your desktop version offers except the corkboard on the iPhone.

Here’s a screenshot of the next workbook I’m working in our series Writing a Family History from my laptop and my iPhone. By the way, my computer is a PC, my phone is an iPhone, and there seems no problem syncing from one to the other.

If you’re like me and like to make the most of your day, and find small chunks of time in your day to be writing, this new app is going to improve your opportunities. Just one more reason Scrivener continues to be the best writing software on the market and why it continues to make sense for the family historian.

Not familiar with Scrivener?

Scrivener provides writers with the ability to customize their writing environment, keep their research close at hand when writing their family history stories, and its unbelievable power to publish a family history into whatever format you would like is the icing on the cake.

Not sure if Scrivener is for you, check out our video catalogue.  We help you see Scrivener from a family historian’s perspective.

                                                                     Still Struggling to Learn Scrivener?

Have you bought Scrivener but still struggling to figure it out?  Our guide, Scrivener for the Family Historian breaks it down for you in simple, uncomplicated terms. It's available as a download here or on Amazon in paperback.

When you combine our guide with our free videos and free family history templates, we take all the work out of learning to use Scrivener. 

Writing Your Family History: Keeping it Short

Have you been putting off writing your family history because you're just not up to the task of writing a long epic narrative? Is the thought too overwhelming, too large a project to even begin? Many family historians think there is only one-way to write a family history?  As one long narrative, that intertwines all their ancestor’s lives into one gigantic story. A collection of research structured into paragraph format that meanders from the beginning of their research to the end resulting in some pretty dry and dull narrative.

Some 8 years ago, it was certified genealogist and author Sharon DeBartolo Carmack that first turned You Can Write Your Family History.  I was trying to figure out how I wanted to write my family history stories.  I was excited to hear Sharon had written a new book, Tell It Short, A Guide to Writing Your Family History in Brief. 
me onto using creative nonfiction to write my stories with her book,

Tell It Short is a fantastic guide for getting acquainted with the idea of creative nonfiction and the short essay format as a form of family history writing. In Tell It Short, Sharon acquaints us with the three essay forms that our family history writing can take. 

The Literary Journalism Essay – telling a story that puts your reader into your ancestor’s experience.  This is the type I prefer and teach at The Family History Writing Studio.

The Memoir Essay – telling your own life experiences

The Personal Essay – taking your family history knowledge and experience and relating it to today and your own personal views on a topic or theme, relating the past to the present.

Sharon expands on all three of these, each with their own chapter, as well, she covers humour, travel, and food essays.

Sharon breaks down the genre of creative nonfiction in simple, uncomplicated terms and will help family historians to understand and embrace creative nonfiction in their family history writing. She covers the key elements of creative nonfiction and how to put your ancestors into historical context.  Easily digested in a few hours of reading, it won’t take you long to realize this is the approach to consider in writing your family history.

Tell It Short is divided into two parts. Part 1 introduces the family historian to writing the family history essay and Part 2 reading the family history essay. She also touches on ethical issues and overcoming writer’s block. As an editor, I knew Sharon wouldn’t leave out revision and editing.  She lends her expertise in revising, editing and proofreading.

However, the jewel of this book is Part 2, Reading Family History Essays, where she has gathered 10 examples of family history essays for you to read.  Of course, there is no better way to learn writing then reading the works of others.

If you’re tired of writing a boring family history narrative, if you are new to the idea of writing creative nonfiction and want to get a sense of what it’s all about. If you’re overwhelmed and want to learn to write in a short format than Sharon’s book Tell It Short, A Guide to Writing Your Family History in Brief is a great place to start.

 Sharon DeBartolo Carmack is a certified genealogist with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing and is the author of twenty-two books. Sharon can be reached through her website

Learn to Create a Legacy Family History Book

While there is still a great deal of summer left it won't be long before September will be here and that means our classes at The Family History Writing Studio will be starting up again. We have three courses coming your way this fall. Our first course is brand new and we are excited to be delivering it - Creating a Legacy Family History Book. Take a look at our video, I tell you all a Legacy Family History Book, what's it all about and how to become part of this exciting new class.

Our other two classes this fall, our popular Writing a Family History Scene and then another brand new class Plotting Your Story.

My Interview at the Genealogy Professional Podcast

Early this summer, I was honoured to be interviewed by Marian Pierre-Louis of The Genealogy Professional Podcast.

If you're not familiar with The Genealogy Professional Podcast, then I encourage you to check it out. If you're considering a career in the genealogy industry Marian offers a collection of interviews with genealogy professionals. These professionals bring a variety of skills and experiences to the airwaves in their conversations with Marian.

Our conversation is now live, and I hope you'll tune in for a listen. We had an excellent discussion. We covered a lot of ground in this interview, and I hope you enjoy it. In fact, it went by so fast, we could have talked for hours. 

You can listen at  The Genealogy Professional

Canada Day Discount for Family Historians!

This Friday is Canada Day and that means, well, besides, backyard and cottage parties, hot dogs and hamburgers and gathering with friends and family which is a great all unto itself, it also means some great access to some online databases as well as some nice discounts.

This weekend two of the leading online databases are offering some free research time in honour of the Canada Day holiday.

Free Acess to Ancestry is offering free access from now until July 2nd, 2016.

Free Access to FindMyPast

Findmypast also will be celebrating both Canada Day and July 4th with free access to their record collections. Their offer extends from June 29th until July 6th, 2016.

As a nice added bonus, a special webinar will be hosted by expert genealogist, Jen Baldwin, at 11:00 MDT, July 1st, in which she will be sharing essential tips and tricks for getting the most out of naturalization records. Over 2 million US Passport Applications & Indexes (1795-1925), and over 7 million US Naturalization Petitions have just been released in the initial phases of two brand new collections at FindMyPast. This will allow family historians to learn more about the first members of their family to become US citizens.

Great Canadian Genealogy Summit Discount

I was also informed of a Canada Day discount for the upcoming Great Canadian Genealogy Summit. Receive 10% off your weekend Registration. The code is CanGen 10.

Getting Ready to Write 1/2 Price Sale

And finally, The Family History Writing Studio is also offering a Canada Day weekend discount. If you're thinking about starting some family history writing and you just don't know where to begin, I encourage you to start with the workbook and webinar, Getting Ready to Write. Three hours of video along with a workbook to help get you, your research and your ancestor organized so you can start writing those stories. This weekend you get both downloads for 1/2 price, only $15.00 until Tuesday, July 5th.

Don't forget about the current promotion at The Family History Writing Studio, the 3 workbook set for $17.00.

Have a great weekend everyone, Happy Canada Day, and Happy 4th of July!