Monday, June 26, 2017

Montreal Area Workshop Fall 2017: Writing Your Family History

Wedding pic. Margaret McLeod and Norman Nicholson 1883, Richmond, Quebec.

Are you part of a Montreal-area community group?

Are some of your members researching their genealogy or otherwise interested in family history? 

Would some of them like to write their unique family stories for a blog, for a book, or for their grandchildren, but don’t know where to begin?

If so, a Genealogy Ensemble presentation about Writing Family History might be just the boost they need.

Genealogy Ensemble groups nine women who have been meeting monthly over the past several years to share stories about their families. The support and feedback they give each other has helped them improve and develop their passion for writing compelling family history. They take turns posting stories to They have just collected a selection of their favourite stories into a book that they can use to inspire others to explore genealogy.  

This one/ two-hour presentation could be given in the daytime or evening between November 2017 and May 2018. Such a seminar would attract about a dozen people.  

Genealogy Ensemble would provide a promotional poster to enhance the library’s efforts in publicizing the event. The presenter would bring a laptop or a USB key with a PowerPoint for use on a projector provided by the library. The presenter will also bring a few copies of Beads in a Necklace: Family Stories from Genealogy Ensemble (Montreal, self-published, 2017) to sell.

Some of the topics to be covered in this presentation:

·         Why write your family history? Stories are the best way to connect family members to their ancestors.
·         Using fiction techniques to tell non-fiction stories.
·         Separating myth and reality and the importance of citing sources.
·         The benefits of forming a writing group: meeting deadlines; limiting stories to 500 words; feedback from the group; polish and publish.

There will be handouts, including writing tips and suggested online resources.

The presenters include:  

Barb Angus, a career educator, is well known among teachers for her workshop presentations on innovative instructional practice. She has travelled extensively and has a passion for people, place, and story. Her natural curiosity ultimately led her to research her ancestors and write about significant events in their lives.

Tracey Arial profiles Montrealers in newspapers, magazines and books. Her work includes I Volunteered: Canadian Vietnam Veterans Remember, Behave Your Way to Project Success and an upcoming book about economic expansion and social wounds caused by World War II. Read her blog at

Janice Hamilton was a journalist and freelance writer for more than 40 years. She is author of numerous non-fiction books, including The St. Lawrence River: History, Highway and Habitat (Redlader, 2006). Her family history blog is

Dorothy Nixon has worked in radio, television news, and as a freelance writer for small and major market magazines and newspapers. Her specialty was education and women’s issues. Her passion, today, is exploring Canadian social history through family stories.