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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blog Book Tour and Giveaway: 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories

Today I am happy to participate in a blog book tour for the new book by Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories.  Oh, and give away a copy of the book!  Yes, a free copy of his brand new book!  Details on the giveaway are listed at the end of the review.

I am a person who is always looking for new and inventive ways to share what I discover with the rest of my family.  You can only do the same thing so many times, but then again, sometimes the old standbys can be done in new and different ways too.  Currently I share my family stories when I write this blog, send email updates, or post to my twitter and Facebook accounts.  In the past I have created artistic family trees, scrapbooks, and transcribed more items than I care to admit.  But is that it out there? It appears that it isn’t.

Dr. Bill gives his readers more ways to share their stories as well as helping them to understand what that particular type of media means.  13 Ways is truly 13 different types of storytelling that a family historian can do.  From writing about family to talking about family there is an idea for how to share your heritage that everyone can relate to.  That is what I enjoyed most from the book, the feeling that anyone could do this. 

For those who do decide to tell their story using one of his 13 Ways, there are worksheets at the end of each section to help you create your family story.  That was exciting to me because I didn’t feel like I had been given a lot of information and then sent off into the deep end of the pool to try to figure things out my own.  These worksheets walk the reader through the creative process, ask you why you are doing it, how you are going to do it, and what outcome are you looking for. 

As an example, the section on using art and artifacts as a way to tell your family stories struck a particular cord with me.  I have quite a few heirloom objects in my possession, and I know that in the future I will inherit many more.  My husband jokes that we will have to buy a bigger house or at least a storage room at some point to fit all the family possessions I will receive. 

I started down the road of recording these heirloom stories in February for the Family History Writing Challenge.  Recording the stories and taking photographs has been great, but I still felt that there was more that I could be doing. After reading the section on this topic and looking at Dr. Bill’s worksheet I was happy to say I have a larger goal now and I am looking at turning my stories and pictures into a family heirloom book for my descendants and my living family members who are interested.  I just needed that extra guidance to help focus my ultimate goals.

With the guidance and inspiration offered by this book I am sure many of the projects in my head will come to fruition.  I hope you will check it out and see what stories you can tell.  To read the other posts from the blog book tour look at this post on Dr. Bills blog.

For the latest on Dr. Bill, his writings, and stories check out his blog Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories.  He is also a contributing writer at the In-Depth Genealogist with me.  Read his column, The Heritage Tourist, published in the IDG’s digital magazine Going In-Depth.

Giveaway: One copy of Dr. Bill’s 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories
Saturday 30 March 2013 – Saturday 6 April 2013

I will be giving away 1 free PDF copy of 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories.  For a chance to win a copy all you have to do is the following:

1)      Leave a comment here on my blog with an email address (I suggest you use the format: username at whatever dot whatever)
2)      For an additional entry like the link to this post on my Facebook page TNT Family History

Using I will pick one winner from the entries.  The winner will be announced here on Monday 8 April 2013 and I will contact you with your prize.  Good luck!!

Description of the Book:
Do you have family history and ancestor stories collected and researched?
Do you want to share them and tell your stories, but don't know how or what venue to use?

This book has your answer.

Preservation and interpretation of your ancestor stories will occur most effectively if you use multiple approaches to telling your ancestor stories to your family and interested others. Showing you how to this is the purpose of this book.

The content of you telling of ancestor stories includes your life as well as the lives of your two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great grandparents, etc., and their siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. Ancestor stories include the social context in which these folks lived, their clothes, their farms or ranches, their religion (or not), their occupations, their loves and antagonisms, their education (or not), their friends and neighbors, and the mundane details of their daily lives.

13 sections suggest a variety of ways to tell your ancestor stories; each section has a Planning Worksheet to assist you in doing it most effectively.

"Telling a story about an ancestor can be a gift to oneself and to one's family. It is powerful to have your stories heard. Judy Shintani"


  1. This sounds exactly like what I need to get myself organized. I have written a number of stories and have written descriptions and stories about some of my family heirlooms. I want to compile everything into a book, but how to get started is the question.
    My email:

  2. Sounds like a really useful book for getting your family's stories out there. I've been thinking about starting a blog, and trying to figure out the best way to keep the family interested . mdsmith25 at ktis dot net

  3. Thank you, Shannon, for hosting the 13 Ways Book Blog Tour. I hope the ideas in the book are useful. My primary interest is in raising awareness of the importance of telling our family stories! ;-)

  4. Trisha I can't wait to see all of the different ways to tell the family stories. I also have tried various ways but would love to expand the information.

  5. Thank you for reviewing Dr. Bill's book for us, Shannon. By his title he must be referring to Wallace Stevens' poem, "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." In other words, the use of imagination (a big deal with Stevens). I really like the idea of using artifacts to tell family history, and like you, I hope to leave my descendants some artifacts. My email is

  6. My "cousins" often ask me "When are you going to write THE BOOK?" when we are talking about family history. Since a book is quite an endeavor, stories might just be the way to go. My email is meder-dempsey at pt dot lu

  7. After attending RootsTech this year, I've finally figured out that telling the story doesn't mean writing "the big book." Telling stories, even snippets, is important. So, I hope to use this book to get me started on my grandfather's story...or at least a story or two about him. My email is MpPierce66 at comcast dot net. Thanks!

  8. This book sounds super! I am all about the stories, and I'd love to have more ways to share them and communicate them, especially to the younger generations.

    I'm mcgeachy42 AT bellsouth DOT net

    --Barbara McGeachy in Raleigh, NC

  9. thanks for mentioning this book, sounds very interesting and informative
    my email is: