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

#GenealogySelfie Day

ConferenceKeeper & Geneabloggers proclaim February 1 as #GenealogySelfie Day

Here's something fun that I think we can all join in and show our love of genealogy. 

Press Release:

The genealogy community is a friendly and rather social bunch.  They share knowledge, information, documents, research triumphs and struggles, joys, sorrows – even pictures of cats. So why not selfies? Chances are good that if you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you have a hefty number of “genealogy” friends – many that you probably have never met in person, but regularly interact with through Likes, Shares, and Comments on one another’s posts.  Peruse your list of “genealogy’ friends and you’ll most likely find that many use a photo of an ancestor, or a baby picture, as their profile pic.  It adds quite the variety to your friends list, but you wouldn’t know them if you ran into them in the vendor hall at a conference, or sat next to them at a workshop. And with RootsTech just around the corner, there’s an opportunity to possibly run into thousands of them in person!

ConferenceKeeper and Geneabloggers are delighted to offer a solution. They are officially proclaiming February 1st as #GenealogySelfie Day – a day for social folks who love genealogy to snap a picture of themselves and share it on Facebook and/or Twitter with the hashtag #GenealogySelfie.  It will be fun to put faces to names, and increase the chances of recognizing one another at RootsTech and other upcoming events and conferences.

Join in the fun for the first ever #GenealogySelfie Day on February 1. 

February 1st also marks the start of The Family History Writing Challenge. I can't think of a better way to kick off this year's challenge than with a genealogy selfie. If you're joining us in the challenge, then let's show our group support for our love of genealogy and writing our stories. If you're a challenge member than mark your first day of writing with a selfie, show the genealogy community what you will be doing today. Add the hashtag #FHWC along with #GenealogySelfie so we can find challenge members. 

About Conference Keeper: Growing since 2012, is a website dedicated to curating and calendaring genealogy and family history conference details. Events are posted on the Calendar tab, as well as under the specific page of their location. Along with a listing of events, those pages also include links to useful research websites specific to each location, including genealogical and historical societies, archives, and other helpful information.  See:

GeneaBloggers is an online community resource listing over 3,000 genealogy and family history blogs all over the world. Blogs are listed when they are submitted by the owner of the blog or by one of their readers. The only qualification is that the blog have current articles and that it be focused on genealogy and family history. See:

Find Your Ancestor's Life in The Rural Diary Archive

Maybe you weren’t one of the lucky ones, you know, one of those genealogists you are envious of because their ancestor left them a diary. Well, if your ancestor is from the Ontario area, then you may be able to peek into the lives of your their neighbours.

This morning I spent some time on The Rural Diary Archive, a new website and initiate by The University of Guelph, here in Ontario, Canada.

If you have an ancestor from the Ontario area then this is a project you will not want to miss.

But even if your ancestors did not pass through Ontario, you'll love reading the stories and taking a step back into the past.

About the Project

The website will archive over 10 Ontario diarists from 1800 to 1960. You can read transcribed pages, a great way to see how your ancestors and their neighbours lived. You can search through the diaries if you're looking for a reference for something specific. Diarist are organized in a nice chart by time period, county, town, ethnicity, religion, and occupation. You can search using filters of county, occupation, ethnicity and religion.

This is a fabulous resource not only for your family history research but for social history and local history to help you write your family history stories.

Help Transcribe

If you want to help transcribe, no experience is necessary, and plenty of directions are found on the website to get you started.

Here is a list of diaries currently being transcribed that need your help.

The short video below gives you an idea of what you'll find in the Rural Diary Archive. This is quickly becoming one of my new favourites websites.

10 Posts to Jumpstart Your Family History Stories

Sometimes getting ready to write can be overwhelming.  Knowing how to organize your research and ideas and deciding what to write about can be a real battle.  Here’s a collection of articles from the past five years of The Family History Writing Studio. 
They have been hand-picked to help you get ready to write your family history stories.  They also represent the kind of information you'll receive daily in your inbox when you join us in February for The Family History Writing Challenge. 
When you register for the Challenge you gain access to all our articles from the past five years. 

We also have other tools to help you start,  like our Getting Ready to Write workbook and webinar,  and our newest workbook Finding the Story
Make 2016 the year you write your first family history story. 

One Month to a First Draft

Have you ever wondered how writers do it? How they write a book in one month?

Would you like to complete a family history story in 30 days?

Would you like to complete a family history story in our upcoming Family History Writing Challenge in February?  

Over the last five years of leading the Family History Writing Challenge, participants have come to me looking for help. They show up every year, they write, but they never seem to get a story completed.

Is this you?

This year, I’m going to help you achieve your goal of completing a first draft. There is great value in taking a story idea from conception to finished product, it’s imperative in developing your writing skills. Spending years writing a story is crazy. It’s time to complete your first draft of a family history story, to learn and understand what it takes to create a story and take it from beginning to end in a reasonable amount of time.

Regardless of what kind of story you are writing or the length of the story, you can use our plan in One Month to a First Draft to write a story draft from beginning to end.

A writer who accomplishes a draft in 30 days knows one important secret – it’s all about the planning!

It’s really about a little bit of pre-planning before we begin to write. We can’t just sit down on February 1st without a plan, without knowing what you are going to write each and every day. The best way to do find success is to take a little time upfront and create that plan.

In One Month to a Story Draft, we show you how to build that plan before you begin to write.

Here are some of the steps we cover.

1.  Understand what you want to write, a short story, a novel?

2. Determine how much time you are prepared to dedicate to this task and schedule it on your calendar.

3. Choose your story from your research, with all the ingredients of a good story, characters, conflict and ending.

4. Know your ancestors, you can’t bring them to life unless you truly know them.

5. Have plenty of social history research to bring your setting to life on the page.

6. Be prepared to identify the inner journey and theme of your story as you write your first draft.

7. Plot the major scenes on a story map. Know where your story starts and where it ends.

8. Outline your scenes for the four weeks you’ve dedicated to writing your story.

In our newest webinar, One Month to a Story Draft, we take you through theses steps of preparing to write a family history story draft in one month. We explain how each step is necessary to achieving your finished first draft at the end of our one month challenge.

Also, if you are joining us this year for the challenge, The Daily Dose posts that you receive in your email each day will coincide with our One Month to a Draft plan. The posts will support what you are writing during that week. This webinar is going to set you up for success. You just have to create the plan, and you’ll be ready to go in February.

This year, finish what you started! Because once you finish that first story, there are so many more waiting for you to write.

Purchase your copy of One Month to a Story Draft here

Writing Family History: Top Posts of 2015

It's that time of year when it's time to reflect on the accomplishments of the past and begin making a plan for the coming year. This past year, I dedicated a great deal of my time to developing tools to help family historians write their stories at The Family History Writing Studio. Here are some of the things we’ve accomplished in 2015 followed by our top posts of the year. We look forward to more great tools coming in 2016 as well as some new initiatives at The Armchair Genealogist.

Highlights from 2015

  • We launched the Family History Writing Studio
  • I gave the keynote address at Kitchener Genealogy Fair about the power of storytelling in family history
  • We now have three workbooks to help family historians write their stories. Workbook Number 3, Finding the Story, is our most recent release.
  • Taught our first online course in the fall of 2015. Three classes are scheduled for 2016.
  • First on-demand webinar is complete and available. It contains over 2 hours of information on Getting Ready to Write. The second on-demand webinar will be available in early January, One Month to a First Draft. It is available for pre-order now.
  • In 2015, we celebrated five years of The Family History Writing Challenge with over 1000 attendees.  We will be back again for 2016.
  • We opened our doors to personal coaching and critiques to help family historians improve their writing in a one-on-one environment.

Top Writing Family History Blog Posts       
Who Do You Think You Are? – What it Teaches Us About Story

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.