Julie's Genealogy & History Hub

Julie's Genealogy & History Hub -

Book Review – 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories

Title:  13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories

Author:  Dr. Bill Smith

Format:  Paperback

Published:  2013 (second edition)

Synopsis:  (from the author)  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.

My Rating: 

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith recently released the second edition of his book 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories, which is available at both Amazon and Lulu.  As part of this launch, Dr. Bill organized a Book Blog Tour where various bloggers will feature the book with either a review, interview, or author guest post.  Today it’s my turn to present a review of the book.

The main point of 13 Ways is to encourage people to tell their stories, regardless of how this is actually done. Oftentimes, people want to share their stories, but they do not know where to start, what tools/technologies/media are available, or what option(s) work best for their particular goal(s).  This book is broken up into 13 chapters, each presenting a different idea that can be used to tell your family stories.

You probably have heard of or seen each of these mediums in everyday life.  But you may not have thought about how they could be applied to family history and sharing your family stories.  13 Ways puts some perspective around this and lends some ideas in the context of family history.

At the end of each chapter, the author offers up some pros and cons, as well as additional resources.  There is also a planning worksheet for each chapter to help you get started and determine if the idea is a viable option for you.

To be clear, this book is a high-level introduction to various tools/technologies/media to help you tell your family stories.  It is not necessarily an instructional guide on how to implement each type of project, although additional resources are provided to point you in the right direction.  Think of this book as an inspirational tool to get you thinking about how you might go about sharing your family stories.  I myself found some motivation to explore some options I had not previously considered for sharing my family stories.  Perhaps you will find the same motivation—remember, it is really about telling the story.


About Dr. Bill:  “Dr. Bill enjoys telling and sharing ancestor stories and related family history social context. He has published four family histories, to date, with more in progress.  For the latest on Dr. Bill, his writings, and stories, see his complementary blog Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories.


Disclaimer:  I was provided a complimentary PDF version of this book as part of my participation in the Book Blog Tour.


Purchase 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories on Amazon:  Paperback.

  • Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith says:

    Thank you, Julie, for participating in the tour. I really appreciate your kind words about the inspiration of the book. Bill ;-)

    April 2, 2013 at 5:23 pm

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