The Project for Writing and Recording Family History

Events

Project for Writing and Recording Family History

Family history writing workshops

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

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.

2018-2019

Writing Obituaries
Sat, May 5, 2018, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library, Room B
Wed, May 16, 2018, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library, Room B

Publishing Your Family History
Wed, June 6, 2018, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library, Room B
Sat, June 16, 2018, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library, Room B

Using Cemetery Records for Family History Research
Wed, July 25, 2018, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library, Room B
Sat, Aug. 4, 2018, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library, Room B

Why Do Family History?
Wed, Aug. 15, 2018, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library, Room B
Sat, Aug. 18, 2018, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library, Room B

Getting Started with Family History Research: Tips for Beginners
Sat., Sept. 15, 2018, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library
Wed., Sept. 19, 2018, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library

Writing about Family Members, Places, and Events
Sat., Oct. 6, 2018, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library
Wed., Oct. 17, 2018, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library

Writing Family History for Special Occasions
Wed., Nov. 7, 2018, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library
Sat., Nov. 10, 2018, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library

Writing about Family Photographs and Heirlooms
Sat., Dec. 8, 2018, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library
Wed., Dec. 19, 2018, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library

Making Your Own Family History: Keeping a Journal
Sat., Jan. 12, 2019, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library
Wed., Jan. 16, 2019, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library

Weaving Cultural History into Our Family History Writing
Sat., Feb. 9, 2019, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library
Wed., Feb. 20, 2019, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library

Writing Autobiographies and Memoirs
Sat., March 9, 2019, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library
Wed., March 20, 2019, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library

Using the Techniques of Creative Nonfiction in Writing About Family History
Sat., April 6, 2019, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library
Wed., April 10, 2019, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library

Writing Obituaries
Sat., May 4, 2019, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library
Wed., May 22, 2019, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library

Publishing Your Family History
Sat., June 8, 2019, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m, Tempe Public Library
Wed., June 12, 2019, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library

Using Cemetery Records for Family History Research
Sat., July 13, 2019, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library
Wed., July 17, 2019, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library

Why Do Family History?
Sat., Aug. 3, 2019, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library
Wed., Aug. 7, 2019, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Tempe Public Library

COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS

Below is the portfolio of 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.

Enhancing Our Oral History Interviews

This workshop discusses practical ideas for improved productivity through preparation, interview techniques, and publishing ideas. We discuss the historian's reservations in oral history, the oral tradition, preparing for the interview, getting started, preparing questions and research, interviewing techniques, technical requirements, preparing the written manuscript, and preserving the interview for the family and the historical record.  Dr. Godfrey has conducted hundreds of oral history interviews and while teaching, mentored his students who would often rather conduct a family history interview than write a term paper.

Facilitator: Donald G. Godfrey

 

Family History and Sense of Place
". . . landscapes tell us much about the values we hold and at the same time affect the quality of the lives that we lead . . . a well-cultivated sense of place is an important dimension of human well-being." --D.W. Meinig, The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes

In this workshop, we will explore family history by writing about a specific place connected to our lives. Was there a specific place connected to your family history? Did you have a secret hiding place? Where did you grow up? Can you describe your house? Your town? Your region? What role did your family’s culture, ethnicity, history, and/or religion play in shaping your sense of place? We will begin the workshop by drawing a “map.” These “maps” do not have be geographically correct or drawn to scale. They do not have to accurately represent the landscape, or your homeplace, although they might. Our maps will represent a special place as we remember it or as it was experienced by your forebearerss. What landmarks were important to your grandparents, to your parents, to you? What were the important paths and routes of travel? What were your special places and hideouts? Did any imaginary people inhabit your landscape? We will draw our maps on a large sheet of paper, then share it with the class. Then, we will discuss how we might use our maps as a starting point for a genre of writing that is developing as an important and popular nonfiction prose genre in America: the essay which focuses on human relation to place. We will explore the ways in which family histories become deeper and richer when they are set in specific places and when the writer understands the relationship between writing, history and place. We will also examine how our perceptions of place are shaped by inherited cultural and literary paradigms and how "discovery" of place is related to discovery of the self, the family, and our culture.

Facilitator: Joni Adamson

 

Food Stories
Many of us have fond memories of preparing food with our family members and wonder why we never wrote down the recipes and stories that emerge from these food spaces. In this oral storytelling space, recipes are more of a learning process rather than a strict adherence to a recipe card. In this same space, we hear stories that reflect generational knowledge about food preparation and even the history of our favorite family recipes. In this workshop, we’ll look more closely at the opportunities for storytelling in food spaces and think about the stories that come from our time spent with relatives and friends. We’ll share our favorite recipes and think about how food narratives function as an important part of our family history. 

Facilitator: Vanessa Fonseca


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 describe 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.

Facilitator: Duane Roen

 

Getting Started with Intergenerational Writing
How would one get started on writing that would highlight family histories for generations to come? In this workshop we will encourage writers to cull stories from family members of older generations — through interviews, photographs, and research into historical events. Members of younger generations will get ideas about how to tap into the memories of members of older generations, gathering details of stories that may otherwise be lost.

Facilitator: Patricia Murphy

It’s All About the Details!
In this workshop, Vanessa Fonseca will talk about oral history interview strategies that help us to get a more detailed perspective of one’s life. We’ll start with thinking about our reasons for conducting the oral history interview and come up with some questions to guide us. Next, we will talk about the best methods for conducting oral histories (pen and paper, video recorder, audio recorder, etc.). How do we practice active listening in an oral history interview and find balance between what we want to know and what the interviewee wants to share? Finally, we will talk about how best to store your interviews to make them accessible to future generations. What details are most important when embarking on this journey? Join us to find out!

Facilitator: Vanessa Fonseca

Making Your Own Family History: Keeping a Journal
How are you making history? Duane Roen discusses keeping a diary or journal to record and reflect on our daily activities. Duane will begin the session by talking about the daily journal that he has kept with his wife, Maureen. Together they have written more than 15,000 pages as they have captured family stories to pass down to future generations. Participants will write a journal entry (so please bring paper and pen or laptop). 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.

Facilitator: Duane Roen

 

Multilingual Strategies for Writing
Many ethnic communities note the essential connection between language and culture. In the Southwest United States, there is a long history of language suppression in families that often is reflected in our own family history. Do you come from a bilingual family? Do you find yourself switching between one language and another when you interact with others? Are there words that carry more meaning for you when spoken in one language or the other? Have you thought about how language is reflected in your family history? In this workshop, we’ll talk about the importance of language in the preservation of our own culture, share stories on language, and develop strategies to incorporate your bilingualism into your own family history.  

Facilitator: Vanessa Fonseca

 

Organizing Your Family History Writing
There are many ways to write a family history, and we will consider a range of possibilities in this workshop—reference histories, family narratives, biographies, autobiographies, edited diaries and letters, fictional family sagas, memoirs, and others. We will also consider a  range of organizational approaches—e.g., chronological, thematic, associative, metaphorical. 

Facilitator: Duane Roen

 

Publishing Your Family History
Although many people automatically consider books to be the best media for publishing family histories, there are many other ways to make your family history writing available to interested readers. In this workshop we will spend some time discussing book publishing, but we will also consider a range of digital media and venues that are more cost effective than printed books and that can more easily reach a larger audience.

Facilitator: Duane Roen

 

Storyography for Family History
Length of time: 4 sessions - 90 minutes per session

To be a person is to have a story to tell…Within each of us there is a tribe with a complete cycle of legends and dances, songs to be sung (Sam Keen).

Through story circles and a variety of activity prompts participants in this workshop will discover and explore the many songs of story that lie dormant within us. Through these stories, participants will discover our wonderful, multicultural - historical diversity and our common bonds of unity.

  • Activity based methods for researching & constructing family histories & personal history into oral storytelling.
  • The Body Speaks – Stories embedded in our corporeal selves.
  • Connecting to the times & places of your family’s history.
  • Exploring the Occasions for soliciting family oral history.
  • You are a living part of your family’s history. What is your legacy?
  • “Thinking” and “Feeling backwards” – Two methodologies in reviving & exploring memory.
  • Collecting future family history from your children now.

Facilitator: Angela Giron

 

Storytelling Time for Seniors
Length of time: 4 sessions - 90 minutes per session

Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door (Saul Bellow). In this workshop the participants will explore and discover the ongoing significance of their life as revealed in the past and in the present. Through the music of times past and present, and other activity prompts, participants will creatively be jogged into memory cycles. This workshop will focus on using the means of memory triggers for story crafting and preservation.

  • All that Jazz
  • Cross-roads activity
  • Story Trunk – Meaningful Memorabilia
  • Connecting with others/Partnered Work – Discovering your neighbor through Story
  • Connecting with others/Group of 4 Work – Discovering your community through Story
  • The wars we’ve lived through

Facilitator: Angela Giron 

 

Using Cemetery Records for Family History Research
Family historians can access a wide range of sources for conducting research, including cemetery records. In this workshop we will talk about how to find cemetery records and how to make good use of them. Even though these records contain limited information, they can lead us to other sources that can unlock the mysteries of our ancestors’ lives.

Facilitator: Duane Roen

 

Using the Techniques of Creative Nonfiction in Writing about Family History
Would you like to jazz up your family history writing?  In this session, Duane Roen shares a range of simple techniques that creative nonfiction writers use.  

Facilitator: Duane Roen

 

Veterans History Project (VHP) Workshop
The Veterans History Project (VHP) utilizes the combined and coordinated efforts of the American Folklore Society and the Oral History Association to collect the oral histories of veterans of American wars. Learn how you and your group members can effectively interview and collect oral histories of veterans of all wars, in the proper format for submission of this work to the project/Library of Congress to be preserved for future generations. What you can learn:

  • An overview of the VHP
  • How to find veterans to interview
  • How to effectively conduct interviews (interview techniques and sample questions)
  • Properly recording your interviews
  • Correctly submitting interviews to the Veterans History Project
  • And more!

Facilitator: Larry Edmonds

 

Weaving Cultural History Into Our Family History Writing
Sometimes family historians have only names, dates, and places for ancestors. But the more we gather names, dates, and other genealogical facts, the more we yearn for more personal connections to and understanding of those who came before us, found in stories about their lives and accounts of their daily struggles, hopes, and dreams. How can we enrich the stories that we write about our ancestors if we have relatively few details about their lives? Duane Roen will talk about using cultural/social history to flesh out the stories that we write about ancestors. Such history can give us a better understanding of what our ancestors experienced.

Facilitator: Duane Roen

Why Do Family History?
Duane Roen will describe some of his experiences with family history research, sharing his favorite stories.

Facilitator: Duane Roen

Writing About Family Members, Places, and Events
How to get started writing about family members, events, and places. 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, place, or event (so please bring paper and pen or laptop). 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.

Facilitator: Duane Roen

Writing About Family Memories
Family research possibilities have exploded with the development of the Internet, as have the number of people now going back to learn more about the generations who came before them. But the more we gather names, dates, and cold genealogical facts, the more we yearn for more personal connections to ancestors, found in stories about their lives. But how to get started?

Facilitator: Duane Roen

Writing About Family Photographs and Heirlooms
Family photographs offer rich opportunities for writing about family history. Workshop participants bring one or more family photos. Duane Roen introduces several writing activities for seeing the descriptive and narrative details found in those photos.

Facilitator: Duane Roen

Writing and Publishing Family History
This session involves the combined disciplines of  oral history with writing, publishing and preserving family history.  The focus of this writing seminar simplifies the research, writing and publication process, discussing: how to approach research, assessing and preservation of materials, the different approaches to narrative, anthology and documentary preservation publications, and self publication versus electronic and traditional publication.  “History is context,” Dr. Godfrey declares; “remember, every jewel needs a setting.” Professor Donald G. Godfrey will talk about the historian's reservations in oral history and the oral tradition, preparing for the interview, getting started, preparing questions and research, interviewing techniques, technical requirements of audio and video recordings, preparing the  written manuscript and preserving the interview for the family and the historical record.

Facilitator: Donald G. Godfrey

Writing Autobiographies and Memoirs
Learn about strategies and resources for writing autobiography and memoir to tell your family’s story.

 

Facilitator: Duane Roen

 

Writing Obituaries
Many obituaries are helpful to family historians and genealogists, but many are not. Duane Roen will facilitate an activity that will help participants write obituaries that serve a range of audiences, including friends, family, and genealogists. He will share strategies for writing tributes that are interesting, engaging, and perhaps even humorous.

Facilitator: Duane Roen

Writing Family History for Special Occasions
This workshop focuses on how to write family history for special occasions. Duane Roen will discuss ideas for sharing your stories with family members and friends to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and holidays.  He will discuss the experiences that offer rich material for writing about cherished moments in our lives. The workshop will include an easy hands-on activity that will get participants writing (so please bring paper and pen or laptop).  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.

Facilitator: Duane Roen

 

Writing Querencia
How does one establish a connection to homeland through writing? Querencia, or sense of place, is evoked through cultural traditions, our environment, and the sensorial experiences of home – the sights of the mountains, the smell of food cooking on the stove, the sounds of children playing nearby, etc. How does our sense of place change when we move from home to other cities, states, or even countries? Do we try to replicate querencia in our new environment or do we create a new definition of home? In this workshop, we will look at how best to write about home, using our five senses to guide us. Additionally, we will talk about how our querencia might change over time and what elements of home are important to keep close.  

Facilitator: Vanessa Fonseca

 

Contact

Duane Roen

Vice Provost, ASU's Polytechnic campus
Dean, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts; Dean, University College

Santa Catalina Hall, Room 233Y
7271 E. Sonoran Arroyo Mall
Arizona State University
Mesa, AZ 85212

Phone: 480-727-6513
Fax: 480-727-6344
Email: duane.roen@asu.edu