Writing Family History Stories SIG

Welcome and Meeting Guidelines

Welcome to your Writing Family History Stories SIG (Special Interest Group). As a self-directed group we work together to help each member to attain their individual goals and our goal as a group, which is just that. To best achieve these goals and foster your enjoyment of this process a few guidelines should be helpful. Your suggestions are always welcome. You are an important participant in this group.

Using the format that is popular in autobiography workshops across the country, the participants put a narrative to genealogy facts and family events to create stories of their family history. You are welcome to join at any session.

Schedule: This group meets monthly from 10:00 a.m. to noon on the second Wednesday, in the Bill Price Room in the Mission Viejo Library.

Attendance: Please attend regularly and advise the group leader if you anticipate being absent. Your participation is important, even though you may have chosen to not present a paper. Tell the group leader if you need to leave early so we can hear your paper in the first hour. Arriving on time is a courtesy to the participants.

Presentation: The group leader will determine the order of presentation with preference to anyone who did not have an opportunity to read during the last session they attended.

Participation/Critique/criticism: Feedback is an integral part of this workshop’s process. When someone is reading please pay attention. Making notes will facilitate your comments. Your critique should be phrased positive to strengthen, or clarify — to assist as versus to criticize. Everyone is invited to present their reaction and suggestions. When YOU are reading the rest of the class will listen.

Our memories and thoughts will be triggered. We all have a tendency to add or compare our own experience to that of the writer. To assure the most readers can be heard in our scheduled time, these exchanges should be limited. Consider writing your story for presentation “next time.”

Questions may suggest that the writer should add something to expand or clarify their story. One outcome may be a complete new, additional paper.

Privilege/limits of papers: Members are sharing their personal information and trusting you with confidence that it remains privileged to the session in which it was presented. No life experience is excluded from presentation. However, please be sensitive to the other members’ feelings. Personal agendas (e.g.: religious or political) presented as a “platform” are prohibited. Life events defining how you arrived at your position is okay.

Time constraints: Normally the length of presentations should be no more than 10-12 minutes in order to allow for maximum participation. This could be about 800 to 1000 words. If your story exceeds this, choose a break point and continue the “next time” or later, if time permits.

Contact: Christianne Rottenberg