Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I am so grateful to be involved with so many wonderful people in preserving and sharing personal and family histories. I feel very blessed to have the job that I do where we make people happy every day. I love my job. Thanks for making it possible to do what I love.

Here is something to think about as you spend time with your family. Last week, one of my good friends told me his number one regret is that he didn't sit down with his parents and get a record of their life stories. All he has of his father’s history is three paragraphs that he wrote many years ago. As you visit with relatives during this busy time of year, take the time to ask about and record their stories. You won’t regret it. 

Happy Thanksgiving

Chris Stevenson

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hooks and Sinkers

Making the story interesting isn’t just for novels, it is important for family histories, too. One of the main reasons that we write and publish personal and family histories is so that others will read them. If they are dry and boring then few people will enjoy reading them. But if we go the extra step and create curiosity and interest, then others won’t be able to put the book down. One of the best ways to create interest at the beginning of each story or chapter is to write a sentence or two that will hook the reader. These are easiest to write after the story is all typed and you are reading through it again. Look for something unusual in the story that you can refer to at the very beginning. You can even put it in question form like, “Did you know that grandpa was in Paris at the same time as grandma, but they were both with someone else?” So, look to add a “hook” at the beginning of each story so they won’t “sink” to the bottom of the reading pile.

Chris Stevenson

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Family Photo Calendars

Each fall I start thinking about calendars for the coming year. Many years ago I started making photo calendars with family pictures and birthdays on them. Then I saw an idea that I really liked, it was to add the birthdays of ancestors to the calendar. That way I am reminded of my ancestors on their special days and I find that I think about them more during the year. Several genealogy programs can print out calendars with the birthdays inserted so all you have to do is add the pictures to the pages. (I use RootsMagic 4.) If you don’t like the formatting of the calendars that your software prints out, you can transfer the names to a preferred layout. We make hundreds of photo calendars each year for people and we would love to help you if you don’t have a source already. (click here)

Chris Stevenson

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Grammar Checking

Even the best of writers have particular grammatical weaknesses in their writing that need to be corrected before their books are printed. If your word-processor has a grammar checker, it is a great idea to use it before you finalize your book. It will help you spot potential problems like over-long sentences, awkward syntax, missing verbs, and other errors. The latest versions of Word have very good grammar checkers which I find very helpful. One warning, just because the word processor suggests it, don’t accept it on face value because they don’t work with certain technical manuscripts. But even with their limitations they can be a very helpful tool. Keep writing!

Chris Stevenson