Reflecting, Sharing, Learning

There's nothing like starting out on a long and complex project such as gathering your family's history with some tried and true help. A librarian and a graphic designer teamed up to do just that.

Beth Whitlock, a research and genealogy librarian at the Athens Clarke County Library, advised to begin simply with what you and other family members can remember about your family history. "Remember that everyone has a unique story to tell and there are skeletons in every closet."  She suggested not ignoring the "skeletons" but simply to think of them as part of your family's story.

"When you've gathered this unique part of your family's story, the Heritage Room at the library can help you find birth, death, and marriage certificates, newspaper stories and a wealth of other information." The Heritage Room will be reopening in February, 2013. Beth provided the audience with home sources, interview questions and ancestral charts in a very helpful handout available on request. (see below)

"Once you've gathered your information, you'll want to find a way to present it to other family members in an interesting format that won't end up on a shelf unread,"  explained Van Burns, a graphic designer and principal in Burns Studio. "I started on second base," he explained, "because my father was an amateur genealogist and had collected most of the information already. But it was all in a stack of documents and papers," so Burns put that information in a book people would enjoy reading.  He used an upcoming family reunion as his goal for finishing.

Burns gave ideas for organizing and editing the large volume of information and photos one typically collects, and reviewed software that helps get information into prose form. The next step, he advised, is editing and collecting photos to help tell the story. People who are not graphic designers will appreciate his step by step instructions.

CLICK HERE for the link to the program "Create a Book to Share Your Family Tree."

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