Writing a Family Sketch in a Different Style

Reading a family sketch in the styles provided by most genealogy software is pretty boring. One way to liven up the reading is to transform it into another, less often seen form. One such style is that used by the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s Western Massachusetts Families in 1790 project. Other, similar styles are those of the Maine Families in 1790, the New Hampshire Families in 1790, and the Vermont Families in 1791.  

The Families in 1790 styles are primarily summary presentations of data about families, not unlike genealogy software reports. They are internally quite different, in that they are written by you, and are not simply a string of data statements with (hopefully) excellent citations. They also go farther than most available genealogy reports can, by including information about the family’s neighbors and associates, witnesses to their family happenings, and who in the family knew who else, wherever they were. 

The projects have different citation styles, based on what the sponsoring organization feels is appropriate to their group. The citations all have one thing in common, though, and that is a focus on primary rather than secondary sources. NEHGS has a guide to it’s citation style online next to the information about it’s Families project. 

These four projects, as examples, can give a framework for organizing publications about smaller areas, such as a county or community. One such project might focus on a town in the Mid-West or a southern states county. 

An example of a New Hampshire Families in 1790 sketch is of the Samuel Chamberlain family (Samuel Chamberlain family sketch). Samuel was born in Massachusetts in 1724, and died in Vermont in 1802.

© 2011 N. P. Maling

Sea Genes Family History & Genealogy Research