Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What is the best way to preserve your family history?

Writing a quality family narrative, of course!

SLIG is happy to have John Philip Colletta coordinate his course, "Writing a Quality Family Narrative" in January 2016. Using vivid examples and case studies, this course demonstrates how to compile your material; write biography; choose a numbering system; document, edit and proofread your text; and publish the saga of your family - on paper or electronically. Various lectures explore how to enliven your prose with family lore, treasured heirlooms, local history, maps, and illustrations. One in-class writing exercise with follow-up critique helps you improve practical skills, share your talents, and exchange ideas with the instructors and fellow students.

We caught up with John to ask him some questions, so that you could get to know him better.

When did you first start researching your family history? Was there a moment when you knew you were “hooked?”

One summer when I was 13 or 14 and whining about having nothing to do, my mother suggested I create a family tree. She had just read an article about it in Family Circle magazine. I began interviewing my two grandmothers and took to genealogy in a big way immediately.

Do you have a pet ancestor? Can you tell us a little bit about what makes this person so special to you as a researcher?

No, I have no “pet ancestor.” I feel particularly close to my mother’s mother’s parents, though, Andrew and Frances Noeth. They were born in Bavaria and came to Buffalo, New York, in 1886. Since my mother was very close to her grandparents (their back yards adjoined and the fence had a gate in it), I have heard more stories about Andrew and Frances Noeth than any other ancestors. It’s almost as though I knew them. Temperamentally, however, I feel a closer kinship to my father’s Sicilian ancestors.

You can read more about John's class at

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