The Family Story Project is a combination of workshops and/or sessions designed to build a narrative that you can share with your family members about the lives and experiences of your ancestors. That narrative or story is a combination of the stories that you have heard and told over the years. In some cases a visual document is created to display in your home to further extend the family knowledge. Some examples follow.
Where is home? Who are your people? What do you have recorded already? In Which Wars did your family members serve?
Q. How do I get STARTED?
A. Show your commitment to the process with a $300 deposit and commit to a timely completion of some basic “ancestry charts and forms and an in-person/phone interview about those forms and to set a specific guideline for this project.
($300 divided by 72 hours = $4.16)
Q. What is covered by the $300 deposit?
A. Family History Research is very detailed and intensive work spent in libraries, archives, Court houses and other locations where paper data is stored. There are also a number of online resources that require licensing to access. Research charges range widely and depend primarily on the skill level and scope of a project. This base fee covers roughly 72 hours of initial research and an attempt to verify the information provided on the forms and from the interview.
Q. Is this deposit refundable?
A. The deposit is not refundable, however, a report of my findings is provided from that 72+ hours of verification research before deciding if the next level of a project can be agreed to proceed.
Q. What is the most important aspect of starting a project?
A. Do your best to inform me of everything that you already know. In this way we can avoid a 72 hour report with discoveries that you knew but didn’t consider “important” or that you didn’t expect me to uncover. It is a waste of effort and, more importantly, YOUR deposit.
Q. Can a project be performed on BOTH sides of my family?
A. No. Every person or side of the family (i.e. Mom/Dad) has to be researched separately. The same is true for step-parents or guardians that you are considering. Whereas a project can be performed for non-blood parents you should consider that the information collected has no bearing on YOUR ACTUAL bloodline.
Q. Will I have to do a DNA test?
A. No, the Family Story Project does not focus on that method of identification. Instead, the basics are used to build on a family narrative/story that utilizes a combination of storytelling, historical information and documentation readily available from your life and the lives of relatives willing to participate.
Q. How long does it take?
A. That is always a difficult question since the goal is to help create a family narrative and support that narrative/story with as much documentation as can be secured. However, the initial project scope is generally a 8-to-10 week undertaking.
Q. What are the additional cost beyond the deposit?
A. The additional cost will vary by project, but you can expect to have an agreed upon fee for research, travel, documentation and creating a digital booklet that will help your research and give you a refresher for your developing narrative.
Take a look at the familiar charts below and click to download from The National Archive Charts page. Try your hand at filling out the Pedigree chart.
An Ancestor Chart
Use this chart to show those people from whom you DIRECTLY descend. Step-parents are not blood relatives, so recording their family history will generally falter after one or two generations. Whereas it is interesting information if your Step-family is involved in your life, the genealogical value is minimal. Your ultimate intent is to compile a complete and correct family unit. Most often you will start with a 4 Generation Chart but larger charts are available and advised if you have the information ready to record.
A Source Summary Chart
Use this chart to refer quickly to information you have located for a particular family and the source(s) of that information. It is a good practice to have a separate source summary of information found for each family group.
Use this chart to refer quickly to and keep track of everyone that you have contact with regarding your family story. Recording: the reasons for writing and if you have already received an answer or have new questions or information that requires documentation or clarification. This is a very important document that will provide a documentation and source for moving ahead with a professional research project.
There are different approaches to The Family Story and one of the most significant and important ones is the video and audio recording of relatives and ourselves along the way. When I first began FSP the ability to record involved equipment that most web users have no idea how to operate. I actually used a professional mobile audio station built by Engineers at the radio station where I worked for over twenty years. It was heavy and difficult to manage but gave me terrific audio quality. It took a few years before portable video cameras replaced the 8mm handhelds and even a few more years before a portable computer and software, including Family Tree Maker, made the task easier. Now, everybody has an entire recording studio, editor and the web at their fingertips.
Most FSP Clients are surprised to discover that the average cell phone device carries an entire library of readily accessible family research, contact, audio and video to complete 25-50% of a basic three or four generation pedigree chart in our first meeting.
Take a look at the information required on the World War I Registration form and think of how beneficial that information can be in adding to your family story project. I can help locate these completed forms for your relatives who served in WWI and WWII. Other information is available for Civil War participation and limited other war related service.