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The Project for Writing and Recording Family History

Writing and Recording Family History Workshops

ASU dean helps others connect to their past

Contact

Duane Roen

Professor of English, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

Santa Catalina Hall 240H
7271 E. Sonoran Arroyo Mall
Arizona State University
Mesa, AZ 85212

Phone: 480-727-1190
Fax: 480-727-6344
Email: duane.roen@asu.edu 

Life writing workshops

Below you'll find descriptions of the many workshops that affiliates of ASU's Project for Writing and Recording Family History offer. Whether you're just starting genealogy research, want to improve your researching skills, or are looking for writing practice and inspirational ideas for capturing family stories and memories, you'll find support here.

For those interested in doing family history- or memoir-writing, attending a number of workshops and using the writing prompts to generate memories and reflections or structure your ideas can help you make a good start in telling your story.

To discuss scheduling a workshop presentation for your community group, contact individual workshop facilitators directly by phone or email. 

As facilitators schedule on-campus offerings and community offerings open to the public, we will announce them on this page and on the ASU Events calendar.

2022-2023 Events

The Pandemic Experience (not your personal health)
Saturday, September 3, 10:30-11:59 a.m.https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcudOmqrjIjHd3QQ10RWsHvtue-pvwiGCzC 

Tuesday, September 6, 6:30-8:00 p.m. https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYld-mvqzsiH91TgNQSq-7m3hLHbxRQFcKC

In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, September 7, 1:00-2:30 p.m

 

Skills Learned from Family and Friends
Tuesday, October 4, 6:30-8:00 p.m. https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYkcOivpzgtEtdVaD2T13gg8MUTdNarKcF1 Saturday,

October 8, 10:30-11:59 a.m. https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIvcOusqT4tG9Ck4wQ6hsFSHRA-AjBfpr8e

In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, October 12, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Getting Started with Family History Research: Tips for Beginners

Thursday, October 6, 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Where: 9330 E. Riggs Rd, Sun Lakes, AZ 85248
Web site: https://mcldaz.org/en-US/locations/edrobson/

Technology Across Generations                                                                                          Tuesday, November 1, 6:30-8:00 p.m. https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwrdeqpqDgoGNOVRgqQTtOLta-4A-5i-0rT 

In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, November 2, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 5, 10:30-11:59 a.m. 
https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMtc-GurTMtG9x9s4YgK1X9wsRbQZzKewtG 

Writing about Family and Food

Thursday, November 17, 10:00-11:30

Where: 9330 E. Riggs Rd, Sun Lakes, AZ 85248
Web site: https://mcldaz.org/en-US/locations/edrobson/

I Was a Perfect Child, But There Was That One Time

Saturday, December 3, 10:30-11:59 a.m. 
https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0rd-CqrDosHNRBqobUuVhxAtHJrMhu9ddA

Tuesday, December 6, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwtfu2qqD0uH9JvUJjG7pvGw1A2x3LgBgZ- 

In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, December 7, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

 

Favorite Memories about School Days
Tuesday, January 3, 6:30-8:00 p.m. 
https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZArc-msrjkqGdEH1IAw3c6XMp97bXeK6ZcL 

In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, January 4, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 7, 10:30-11:59 a.m.   https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0pceGtqjwiGd1ripgM9qE1IgafPObTUA-X

Leadership Every Day of  Lives

In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, February 1, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 4, 10:30-11:59 a.m. 
https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYsc-uqrToqE9O5vmP9OU8R3V7ER1JsmfOz 

Tuesday, February 7, 6:30-8:00 p.m.  https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEldO2qqzMuH9HoOKyIYgvyfgFUzkpHTume 

Names in My Family

In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, March 1, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 4, 10:30-11:59 a.m. 
https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0ud-Gurj0uE9zK2_HSajcqGlj9PfDZhksy

Tuesday, March 7, 6:30-8:00 p.m. https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZApdOuhpzkuHtSxwrEZvzOJDgupxpYbrONF 

 

The Role of Play in Our Lives

Saturday, April 1, 10:30-11:59 a.m. 
https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZApd-Copj8rE9Jxodb1RpKcMFu4Mv74Dfj2  Tuesday,

Tuesday, April 4, 6:30-8:00 p.m. https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMtcuyqrj8iHtfdoW2bvhdeiRL4ckM4Jn82 

In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, April 12, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Your Hero’s Journey

Tuesday, May 2, 6:30-8:00 p.m. 
https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYscu2uqjktH9E585e9WY-QLgJHKu_huGtG 

In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, May 3, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 6, 10:30-11:59 a.m. https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrdOisrDsjHNyi7Ha1AeJFNbbfjme0RRbr


Writing about Family Members:

Saturday, June 3, 10:30-11:59 a.m. 
https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwud-uorz8jGNXw0w9ewzy7A_LCpXrl2DTk 

Tuesday, June 6, 6:30-8:00 p.m. https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwodu6upjkvEtNPmscsHjfU8JNfxaAjrH65 

In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, June 7, 1:00-2:30 p.m.


Writing about Family Events

Saturday, July 8, 10:30-11:59 a.m. https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYtfu2grzgpG9A1pKrzWtfUAQYW6wbBLClO 

Tuesday, July 11, 6:30-8:00 p.m. 
https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUucuyhqTMrGtAgI-K54jtZFxdzI-1dLjE4

In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, July 12, 1:00-2:30 p.m.


Writing about Family Places

Tuesday, August 1, 6:30-8:00 p.m. 
https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpc-2trTguGdTR4aGxy4Lodok-WyyBXaE1 

In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, August 2, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 5, 10:30-11:59 a.m. https://asu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwvcemhrT0sGN2lOaw3ohokO9xOXfo9Fsun 

 

Community Workshop Descriptions

Below are descriptions of the workshops that current affiliates of the Project for Writing and Recording Family History offer in the community. Contact facilitators individually to discuss presentations for your community group.

Duane Roen’s Biography: Duane Roen has been tracing his roots since his teenage years, building a database with more than 32,000 ancestors. He and his wife, Maureen Roen, have also been recording their family history since 1978 by writing more than 19,000 daily journal entries about their children and other family members. Combining his professional and personal interests, Duane worked with colleagues at Arizona State University to establish courses on writing and recording family history in the College of Integrative Sciences. He also is founding coordinator of the Project for Writing and Recording Family History in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts.  

The Pandemic Experience (not your personal health): Winston Churchill is credited with saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste” at the end of World War II. That is, when something bad happens, what can we learn from it? In this workshop, you are not expected to reveal details about your personal health or the personal health of anyone who has confided in you. Instead, this workshop is an opportunity to write about how the pandemic has changed the world in which we live. It has affected how we work, how we learn, how we play, how we navigate life. What observations and insights about the pandemic can you share with future generations?
In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, September 7, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Online: Tuesday, September 6, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Saturday, September 3, 10:30-11:59 a.m.

Skills Learned from Family and Friends: Although we have acquired some of our skills in school and in the workplace, we have also learned some of them from family and friends. For example, our parents, uncles and aunts, grandparents, and siblings may have helped us develop skills in cooking, sewing, gardening, home maintenance, driving, and many more. Family and friends may also have taught us—either directly or through example--how to interact with others.  In this workshop, we will write about some of these skills and how they have served us throughout our lives.
In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, October 12, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Online: Tuesday, October 4, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Saturday, October 8, 10:30-11:59 a.m.

Getting Started with Family History Research: Tips for Beginners: Have you thought about
tracing your family’s history but don’t know where to begin? Duane Roen will share some readily-
available resources, tools, and strategies for getting started with researching your roots. This
workshop is designed for those who have little or no experience in researching family history.

Technology across Generations: Technology changes from one generation to another, and these days it changes rapidly within a single generation. For example, in the United States farmers were still using workhorses into the 1940s, but tractors had pretty much replaced them by the 1950s. In the home and workplace, many forms of technology have changed in our lifetime—e.g., crank phones were still used in the 1950s. In this workshop we will write about technologies that have changed during our lifetime and how those changes have altered our lives in ways that our parents or grandparents could not have imagined.
In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, November 2, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Online: Tuesday, November 1, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Saturday, November 5, 10:30-11:59 a.m.

Writing about Family and Food: In this workshop, we will consider the roles of food in our family
experiences. How has food helped to define family events and places? How do we associate certain foods with specific family members? What special roles do certain foods play in holidays and rituals? How have our relationships with specific foods changed over time? Participants will respond to some questions to write about food (so please bring paper and pen or a laptop).

I Was a Perfect Child, But There Was That One Time: Of course, all of us were perfect children. However, there may have been a time or two—no more than that—when we fell short of angelic behavior and fell into the depths of naughty behavior. Perhaps we weren’t quite truthful when we explained that the dog ate our homework. Or maybe it was not accurate to say that a passerby threw a rock through the window. Or maybe it wasn’t by accident that dish soap was added to a sibling’s orange juice. Or maybe the baby sister did not give herself a buzz cut.  We will begin this session by sharing a few childhood stories about that one time when we were not perfect children. After that, we will each write about one moment—hopefully humorous—in childhood when we fell short of being perfect.
In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, December 7, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Online: Tuesday, December 6, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Saturday, December 3, 10:30-11:59 a.m.

Favorite Memories about School Days: We have a wide range of memories about our days in school, covering our experiences with the physical spaces of schools, the technologies for learning (e.g., pens, pencils, paper, books, projectors, whiteboards, blackboards, videos), the clothes we wore, many classroom discussions, projects, classmates, teachers, extra-curricular activities, and more.  In this workshop, we will first discuss questions about a robust range of memory categories. Then each of us will write a favorite memory, and everyone will be invited to share a memory with the group.
In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, January 4, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Online: Tuesday, January 3, 6:30-8:00 p.m.; Saturday, January 7, 10:30-11:59 a.m.

Leadership Every Day of  Lives: Sometimes people think that leadership is associated with a job title. However, for organizations and communities and families to function as well as possible, each of us needs to act as a leader every day of our lives.  In this workshop, we will discuss a few dozen leadership qualities, as well as family members (including ourselves) and friends who consistently demonstrate these qualities. Then each of us will write about a family member or friend who exhibits leadership every day.
In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, February 1, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Online: Tuesday, February 7, 6:30-8:00 p.m.; Saturday, February 4, 10:30-11:59 a.m.

Names in My Family: Family members have first names (given names), middle names, and last names. Each of those names has an origin and a meaning. For example, “Duane” is a Gaelic name meaning “dark one,” and “Roen” is a Norwegian farm name (“Raaen”) meaning “rapidly running water.” Throughout history, naming practices have varied around the world, and in recent history, some names have gone in and out of favor. For example, “Duane” was pretty common in the United States in the middle of the twentieth century; now it is pretty rare. Besides naming practices and the historical means of names, each of us has emotions that we associate with our names.  In this workshop, we will write about our own names or the names of family members to explore what we know about them and how we feel about them.
In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, March 1, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Online: Tuesday, March 7, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Saturday, March 4, 10:30-11:59 a.m.
 

 

The Role of Play in Our Lives: When we think of play, our first inclination is to see it as recreation—activity that diverts our attention from more serious matters, something that is voluntary and pleasurable. However, psychologists who study the nature and roles of play tell us that it helps children learn about the world and to develop skills for interacting with others. It is important for cognitive and social development. Play also helps adults with creativity and relationships. In this workshop, we will consider some of the roles of play in our own lives and the lives of family members.  We will write about our earliest memories of engaging in play.
In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, April 12, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Online: Tuesday, Tuesday, April 4, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Saturday, April 1, 10:30-11:59 a.m.

Your Hero’s Journey: In a hero’s journey, the protagonist goes on a journey, overcomes adversity, and is changed by the experience. Literature is filled with such journeys, but all of us have experienced such journeys in our own lives. In this workshop we will discuss the features of a hero’s journey, write about one of our own hero’s journeys (or a family member’s), and share that story with other participants.
In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, May 3, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Online: Tuesday, May 2, 6:30-8:00 p.m.; Saturday, May 6, 10:30-11:59 a.m.

Writing about Family Members: How can we get started writing about family members? Duane Roen will discuss the family experiences that offer rich material for writing and will share strategies for beginning the process, including an easy hands-on activity that will get participants writing about a memorable family member.  Participants will respond in writing to a series of questions designed to generate concrete details about family stories. After recording these details, participants will be invited to share their writing with the group. In turn, the group will be encouraged to offer constructive feedback that will help writers develop their writing further.
In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, June 7, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Online: Tuesday, June 6, 6:30-8:00 p.m.; Saturday, June 3, 10:30-11:59 a.m.

Writing about Family Events: Family events such as holiday gatherings, weddings, birthday parties, vacations, and others often loom large in our memories. In this workshop each participant will respond to a series of questions to write about a memorable family event.
In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, July 12, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Online: Tuesday, July 11, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Saturday, July 8, 10:30-11:59 a.m.

Writing about Family Places: Some places are special to families—our childhood homes, other family members’ homes, places of worship, favorite vacation destinations, and others. In this workshop, each participant will respond to a series of questions to write about a memorable family place.
In-Person at Tempe Public Library: Wednesday, August 2, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Online: Tuesday, August 1, 6:30-8:00 p.m.; Saturday, August 5, 10:30-11:59 a.m.