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Writing Your Family History Series

California Genealogical Society & Library

Writing Your Family History Series
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Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
CGS Member 1 day before event starts $10.00 $0.00
Non-Member   more info 1 day before event starts $30.00 $0.00
Donation - THANK YOU! 1 day before event starts Enter donation ($)

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Event Details

Writing Your Family History Series

Seven Sessions 

April 11, April 25, June 27, July 25,

August 22, September 26, October 24

1 pm - 4 pm

CGS Classroom 


The California Genealogical Society will present an encore of our popular series Writing Your Family HistoryBy the end of the course, you will be ready to start writing, or will be already writing, a family history with confidence and style!


Who Should Take This Course?

This course series is for genealogists and family historians who are ready to transform their research into a quality family history.

The course will be lead by a team of dedicated volunteers – Matthew B. Berry,CG, Jennifer Dix, Lois Elling, Lisa Gorrell,CG, and Stewart Traiman – who have different and complementary skills.





April 11

1-4 pm

Telling Our Family Stories 

Panelists: Matthew B. Berry, CG, Jennifer Dix, Lois Elling, Lisa Gorrell, CG, Stewart Traiman, and others.
This will be a panel discussion in which each panelist discusses how they have told their family history stories. Examples will include books, journals/magazines, blogs, video, and other forms. 

Session 1

April 25 

1-4 pm

Writing Stories 

Instructor: Lisa Gorrell, CG
This class will get you started writing your family history book. We will discuss defining your writing project, writing as a research tool, and ideas for providing context to your narratives. 

Session 2

June 27 

1-4 pm

Writing and Editing With Style 

Instructor: Jennifer Dix
This class will discuss style: why writers need style sheets, and what style decisions need to be made. Also discussed will be how to edit your writing: who should do it, when to do it, and what to look for. 

Session 3

July 25

 1-4 pm

Citation: Easier Than You Think 

Instructor: Stewart Traiman
This class will be based on Tom Jones’ Mastering Genealogical Documentation. We’ll break down all 17 chapters to make them more easily understandable and provide exercises for each. Attendees will leave with much more confidence in how to craft their own citations for any source. 

Session 4

August 22 1-4 pm

From Front to Back: Components of a Quality Family History Book 

Instructor: Matthew B. Berry, CG
This class will review the parts of a quality family history book, what to include in the front matter, the main body, and the end matter of your book. It will then go into detail on how to organize the main body of your work, covering the most popular genealogical numbering systems. The session will conclude with the “back door” to your book – the index. 

Session 5

September 26 1-4 pm

Making Your Book Look Good: Page Layout and Art Preparation 

Instructor: Lois Elling
This class will cover how to add visual interest to your narratives: choosing typefaces that are easy to read, adding pictures and diagrams to your stories, and page layout software options. 

Session 6

October 24 1-4pm

Don’t Stop the Presses: Publishing Your Genealogy Book 

Instructors: Lois Elling and Matthew B. Berry, CG
This class will show how to turn your word processor files into a professional- looking family history book. Topics will include: creating a file to send to the printer, choosing a printer, paper and binding considerations, and more. 








Pre-registration is required. Class size is limited so register early to confirm your seat. Walk-ins will not be admitted.


CGS members enjoy reduced admission, $10.00*.


Non-member admission fee is $30.00* per session and can be applied towards a new one-year CGS membership the day of the class.




Credit card payments will be processed by Eventbrite.


*Event fee is non-refundable.

Have questions about Writing Your Family History Series? Contact California Genealogical Society & Library

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When & Where

California Genealogical Society & Library
2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
Oakland, CA 94612


California Genealogical Society & Library

   Connecting people to their diverse family heritage

Whether you have Gold Rush ancestors or have no family connection to California, you will find extensive support for your genealogy research at the California Genealogical Society (CGS) in Oakland. The society offers research services, online indexes and databases, and a research library housing over 38,000 reference materials from California, the United States, and around the world. CGS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. The library is conveniently located in Uptown Oakland, one block north of the Paramount Theatre, at 2201 Broadway, Suite LL2. We are three blocks from the 19th Street BART Station.

Phone: (510) 663-1358 

Non-Discrimination Statement

The goal of the California Genealogical Society is to connect people to their family heritage and to promote a spirit of diversity and inclusivity for our members and patrons. The California Genealogical Society does not tolerate discrimination in any form. 


Courtesy Request

In order to maintain a welcoming and healthy environment, please refrain from using scented products at CGS events or in the library.

Photography Notice

California Genealogical Society (CGS) may take photographs, audio recordings, and video footage in our library, classrooms or events for historical records or publicity purposes.  If you do not want to be photographed or filmed, it is the individual’s responsibility to 'opt out' by notifying the event leader or photographer at the event.

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