Instructor: Rosa Latimer
Maximum Enrollment: 8
Class Term: 09/26/2021 - 11/07/2021
SCN Member: $200.00
Class synopsisMy guess is there are two reasons why you haven’t written your family history: You are unsure of how to begin. You don’t know how you will find the time. This six-week class will help you work through these two (common) barriers. The first two sessions will give you the tools you need to transform the historical, familial facts you have gathered (or hope to gather) into a written form that is personal and engaging to read. Once you know exactly how to begin, we’ll have dedicated time to write, work through problems, and help each participant through her individual journey.
This class will be a discussion and exploration of straightforward ways to organize historical facts and incidental information into a cohesive family history. We will work through tricky areas such as how to handle conflicting memories of an event or conversation. Students will learn how to strengthen their family history by creatively using letters, newspaper articles and how to conduct effective interviews. The final four class sessions we will come together to discuss our writing, solve problems, and spend time together writing our family stories. The class is fast-paced and well-organized with an emphasis on providing the tools and the time for you to get this important project done.
1. Understand the value of preserving and sharing family history., 2. Organize research material, 3. Determine where to begin and end the family history you intend to write., 4. Draft a working outline, 5. Formulate a reasonable timeline to complete your project., 6. Write the beginning chapters of your family history.
Class communication methodThese six, 1 hour class sessions will be conducted using Zoom or Skype; individual communication with students will be via email. Zoom meeting will be on Sundays at 3 p.m. Central Standard Time on Sept. 26 - Oct. 31
Unit 1: Determine each student’s true purpose for preserving her family history and identify her most productive research sources. Discussion of the organization of information and sources. Discuss potential problems with conflicting facts, reluctant participants, and presenting difficult family situations.
Unit 2: Establish the beginning and end of each student’s family history project; discuss advantages of chronological versus topical organization. Introduction of the use of a story treatment to give family history a clear, direct storyline. Create a working outline and establish a timeline to finish the project.
Unit 3: Discuss the use of letters, newspaper articles, and interviews with an emphasis on conducting effective interviews; discuss working outline; group writing session; Q&A.
Unit 4: Identify anticipated problems in gathering family information and explore solutions; group writing session; Q&A.
Unit 5: Explore practical methods and/or forms for each participant to share her complete family history; group writing session; address individual challenges for following writing timeline; Q&A.
Unit 6: Group writing session; participants will share an excerpt of their family history (optional); review of how to add “pop” to your writing using photos, maps, illustrations, and imaginative language; Q&A.
Class time commitmentEach class will be 1 hour; students should commit to 1-2 hours each week outside of class time.
Rosa Latimer, who lives in Austin, Texas, is the published author of six historical, non-fiction books, a playwright and an award-winning photographer. She is the 2020-21 Artist-in-Residence at Flower Hill Urban Historic Homestead in Austin. In addition to non-fiction books she writes for national and regional magazines and newspapers; was news editor of a print and an online newspaper and supervising director of a nationally syndicated television program. Rosa is also a writing consultant and regularly teaches classes and workshops focusing on preserving family history.
The story of Rosa’s grandmother, who was a Harvey Girl in New Mexico, sparked her interest in preserving women’s history. This led her to write Harvey Houses of Texas followed by Harvey Houses of New Mexico, Harvey Houses of Kansas and Harvey Houses of Arizona – all published by The History Press. “Harvey Houses of Kansas” is the recipient of a 2016 Notable Kansas Book Award.