You can keep it simple. I put together a few summaries in a presentation binder for each of my parents that show their families' lives in chronological order with pictures of people, houses, maps and newspaper clippings, along with some historical facts to show what was happening in the towns where they lived.
Here are some tips for becoming a storyteller when you compile information about your relatives:
- As you do your research, identify the questions that need to be answered and zero in on the mysteries you want to solve since they may be the start of a great story;
- Review the evidence you've gathered to answer these questions and to fill in the missing gaps of your family members' lives;
- Describe the characters (your ancestors) and set the stage by researching as much as you can about where they lived; and
- Turn your family facts into something visually interesting that future generations can enjoy, no matter how "normal" their lives may have seemed.
I believe every relative has a compelling story and can inspire those who come after him or her. Strive to be a keeper of stories, not just a keeper of facts.