Genealogy Writing: Start by Getting Inspired!

Filed in On The Hunt, Skill Building by on 4 June 2014 3 Comments

Though I enjoy it immensely, genealogy writing has never been something that comes naturally to me; genealogy reporting yes, but writing? Well, not so much. And there is a distinction. The technical writing I do for clients detailing where I looked, what I found and what it means is not at all the same as a really good family history narrative.

I’m working on it. Being “On The Clock” for certification through BCG and a member of ProGen study group has pushed me to write more, and more seriously, in the realm of my own family history narrative. I’ve learned so much in the last two years it’s time to share with you. For the month of June, I’ll be focused on the reasons, tools and strategies for taking your genealogy out of your database or physical files and getting it on the page.

To kick off the topic, I thought I’d introduce you to a few people whose writing I find inspiring!

Zola Troutman Noble

Zola, is a member of my ProGen 19 family. Her critiques of our writing have been incredibly instructive. With prose that is quite lovely, she is one of those people for whom writing seems effortless. If you’re in the market for a written family history or just need editorial assistance for your own masterpiece, get to know Zola! (In addition to Zola’s website above, check out her prose here.)

Stephanie Pitcher Fishman

Stephanie put client genealogy on hold to write a book. Not a family history book – a fiction book with genealogy as one of its thematic elements. I’m struggling when my characters and their story are right there for the taking in the form of my own family history! I couldn’t even fathom creating something as wonderful as Stephanie’s book has turned out to be! Look for “Finding Eliza” to be released this month.

Mariann Regan

Mariann hasn’t added anything new to her blog in a long while, and the organization can be a challenge, but reading her posts on tracing, and attempting to communicated with, her South Carolina cousins descended from a Slave-holding ancestor are not to be missed. The quickest way to get into some of her best writing is to search “Barbados”.

These three ladies inspire me with their obvious love of writing and genealogy, as well as their skill. Who is on your “Man, I wish I could write like that!” list?

Rorey Cathcart

Copyright (c) 4 June 2014

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Citation for this post is: Rorey Cathcart, “Genealogy Writing: Get Started by Getting Inspired!” posted 4 June 2014, The Who Hunter ( : accessed [XX Month XXXX]).

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About the Author ()

Professional genealogist and lecturer. Located in Charleston County, SC. Special research interests in South Carolina, Southern States, Irish Heritage and Migratory Patterns. Researcher for Genealogy Roadshow on PBS seasons two and three.

Comments (3)

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  1. Thank you so much for including me, Rorey. I’m honored and touched. You’ve been a great supporter of mine, and I appreciate every single kind word. YOU inspired ME! I can’t wait to see what the second half of 2014 looks like for you. Rock the BCG! ~ Stephanie

  2. Wow! A friend just sent me a link to this, Rory. She “stumbled onto it.” she said. I had no idea. Thank you for including me, too. I also feel honored and touched. You’ve inspired me, as well, with your professionalism and work ethic. Blessings to you.

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