Getting started: Your first Family Story

• Family stories don’t have to be elaborate or perfectly written, especially to start with.

Start simply with a memory or a photo of an event from your family history. It might be something formal like a wedding, funeral or childbirth. How about a memorable family vacation or just a day at the park with grandpa and the kids?

A story is a memory that illustrates some broader point about your history. It starts small as a snapshot—what we call a stub—but gains depth as content and context are added.

• As an authenticated user on Family History Machine, create a new Family Story. Begin by giving it a title, possibly one that’s clever or interesting. It doesn’t have to be perfect because you can edit it later.

You can save now and be done with it, but it would not be a very interesting story. To elaborate a little, write a one-sentence summary of what the story will be about. 

Next, upload a great photo that illustrates the story. It can be an original from your collection or any image that captures the essence of the story.

• Now you have the basics of a stub story on Family History Machine. Even if it is not fleshed out yet, there is enough that someone would get the idea. Ideally, they would be intrigued to learn more.

(By the way, as covered elsewhere in our confidentiality and privacy policy, the site user has full control of privacy settings for story visibility. Access can be public, private, or restricted by user.)

• A story or story stub might be fascinating on its own, but it gains meaning when placed in context. Provide story attributes and tags for family branch, generation, date, location, and story theme.

Later, when you have multiple stories underway, these tags will allow users to easily find related stories. This web of related stories is what we call your familysphere.

Your first Family Story stub is completed now. In the next tutorial, you will add additional content elements and develop a narrative outline.

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