April 12, 2006
ALL IN THE FAMILY: WRITING FOR FAMILY HISTORY MAGAZINES By Erika Dreifus
Recently, I described a bit about my own freelance writing for genealogy and family history magazines. In this article, I'll expand the discussion: I'll explain how you can break into this market, too - and where you might do so.
In most cases, family history and genealogy magazine editors seek constructive, practicable information. Perusing the magazines, you'll see that this preference translates into articles that give readers pointers on many topics, from navigating one's way through immigration or naturalization documents, to investigating one's family history via church records, to a host of other possibilities. Articles addressing ways to use the Internet to conduct family history research are increasingly popular, too.
Emphasis on practical advice notwithstanding, there's still room for good old storytelling in these magazines. Often taking the form of short essays inspired by family historians' experiences and discoveries, these contributions typically appear in regular departments, such as Family Tree Magazine's "Everything's Relative" and Ancestry's "Bare Bones" sections. Reading a few back issues will give the flavor of these anecdotal essays, which are often characterized by humor and/or nostalgia.
Other personal experience pieces focus more closely on the nuts-and-bolts of individual research discoveries. These articles tend to be longer than the lighter essays, offering detailed case studies of successful research experiences that might assist other family historians.
For the writer who loves to immerse herself in research, to instruct, and to tell stories that truly keep the past alive, family history and genealogy publications offer a multitude of opportunities. Here are some of them:
FAMILY TREE MAGAZINE
GOOD OLD DAYS and GOOD OLD DAYS SPECIALS
Erika Dreifus is a Massachusetts-based writer whose family history articles have appeared in Ancestry, Family Chronicle, and Family Tree Magazine. Her genealogical research has also found its way into her short fiction on several occasions. Check out her free monthly newsletter, The Practicing Writer, at http://www.practicing-writer.com, and keep up with her Practicing Writing blog posts at http://practicing-writing.blogspot.com.
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