How can I help with a personal history?

originally posted September 18, 2013
May 2021: reformatted; text revised as noted

My father and I have different talents, preferences, and passions when it comes to researching and recording family history:  he does genealogy;  I do personal history and family history.  In other words, in my mind, at least, he does the bones (or the branches and limbs of the family tree, to say it as he might prefer) and I do the meat and flesh (or the leaves and blooms)—I like to dig out and research and add in the stories.

Both parts are necessary steps and both parts are difficult. But here are the ways I can help with your personal history, your family history, or your business history:

I can assist you with

  • categorizing family notes and genealogical research;
  • organizing information into a logical flow and deciding what sidebars and types and pieces of artwork are appropriate;
  • planning and discussing objectives with appropriate parties;
  • applying consistent use of colloquialisms, regional speech patterns and vocabulary terms, and era-appropriate slang;
  • researching partial memories and questionable “stories” (as well as fact-checking where needed); and . . .

of course, getting your information into some sort of printable format, whether you decide to end up with a collection of stories on paper, a story that has more of a continuous run to it, or a script you can use later to create a video program or audio presentation.

Once we have your personal or family story to this point, the difficult work is done!  And the options are many. At this point, for instance, you can decide to photocopy your manuscript, to seek out a small press or self-publisher, or to post your creation online.

If you decide to actually print the manuscript that we create, I can help you work with your print shop or publisher by

  • proofing for text alignment, word division, line breaks and page breaks, page citations, header and footer formatting, and general page appearance and by
  • creating acknowledgments, tables of contents, indexes, and reference lists.

If you decide to go online, I can help you with that, as well—through posts to a private blog site or creation of a public website. 

You and your family decide, and I will help guide you through the variety of possiblilties . . .  Just think about what you might like and ask!

e-mail: editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
text: 832-233-0041

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UPDATE:  When my father passed away, suddenly, during the Thanksgiving season of 2013, I was left with a stack of computer discs—containing his genealogical research on our family and hundreds of images he had gathered during travels across the eastern United States—and a countless number of untold and unfinished family stories. Like most people, we always thought we would have “tomorrow” or “next time” to talk more . . . but, when his time came, we didn’t. As I told many clients before that time and since, a lost legacy can happen to any one, any time.

image information: This became the new banner section of a web page for the-history-editor—a division of the-freelance-editor that specializes, primarily, in historical fiction and family or business histories—in mid-2020.