Two-hour Workshop Idea

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Next year I resume my role as editor of The Hambook Herald, Journal of the Hambrook Family History Society. Today I was thinking of the task as I read an early issue by the outgoing editor. His deadline day fast approaching, Des had to write three articles himself from notes submitted by members. The editors lot is not a happy one. How can we get better articles?

Here’s a training idea for your local group. Find and copy rwo articles from various exchange journals in the society’s library. If you ar making more than 20 copies, I’d contact authors for permission.  Give each person a copy of the first article,  then divide the group into threes and ask them to read the article and together make up a list of what they liked, and a list of improvements.  Then bring them together to discuss their findings. Have a scribe record the suggested improvements. In the general discussion be sure to discuss proof reading, grammar, style and ease of reading, interest level, usefulness for personal learning, source citations, suggested further reading, etc as appropriate. Repeat with the second article.

Now you tell me– how could you conclude this workshop in a positive way to invite members to  contribute articles on assigned topics to your society’s journal?
Your commets are welcme.About 67 people will read this in the next 24 hours. I’d love to hear from each of you. Y’all come, now.

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6 responses to “Two-hour Workshop Idea

  1. M. Diane Rogers

    This idea could make for a really good session. I’ve planned a fall workshop to encourage members of our group to submit more articles & queries to “The British Columbia Genealogist”. I had thought to choose one article & a few longer queries for people to read beforehand & comment on (not from our journal), but using two articles will allow for a wider range of discussion. Citations are a big block for some; others want ideas on how to clearly explain their search & proof processes.
    Hope it’s ok if I ‘steal’ your idea…I’ll give you credit!

  2. Barbara Schenck

    I think inviting participants to share some of their own research subjects or brick walls or expertise in light of what they’ve read and discussed would bring the topic down to thinking about ways in which their own work could lend itself to various forms of articles.

    Having even a brief opportunity to discuss this possibility with other workshop attendees might give them the enthusiasm and confidence needed to get them writing. It also might open doors to their critiquing and proofing each other’s case studies or articles or queries ahead of time, thus helping to clarify their thinking and saving the newsletter editor a bit of work in the long run.

  3. M. Diane Rogers

    Didn’t answer your question, did I!

    I had planned to conclude by offering personal assistance, (by e-mail, if possible, due to time constraints). I’d like to keep this as informal as possible so that it’s not taken as ‘criticism’. (This doesn’t mean I’d write the article myself either.)

    Some people have great ideas for articles with wide interest. Others are comfortable writing about the specifics of their experiences researching in another country, or are ready to ‘fill out a form’ with information on a pioneer ancestor that will be published in a set format.

    In most local & provincial/county society journals, there’s room for all of these kinds of articles. I suspect people who attend my workshop will have something in mind already. I can ask them to ‘commit’ to offering one piece in the next few months & then I can follow up with them.

  4. The idea of a workshop looking at articles sounds interesting. Although my area of interest in genealogy, I am working with a group from our local historical society that will do research for our archives and we hope create articles from the research for our historical society’s quarterly newsletter.

    For those who are interested we are meeting from time to time to discuss ideas for research, how to do citations and how to do research. In September we will look at the different types of sources, information, evidence etc. We will look at different types of documents.

    We are hopeful that different ones will write articles and not leave it to one or two of us.

    Some of our small group have experience writing and they have offered to review what is written and to make suggestions on how improve the article. This is done before it goes to the editor for final editing.

    Thanks for the suggestion about the looking at other societies’ newsletters.

  5. label me the cynic. My experience is that people resist reading..especially on the spot. Critical thinking/reading is a skill not everyone has…and they may feel inadequate. most groups do not like coming up with a list of answers to questions.

    To encourage writers, try recruiting certain people to contribute. People appreciate being appreciated.
    Have a theme issue with personal stories. “Breaking My Brick Walls” “Family Migration Patterns” “where were you” then picking significant historical events in the past century or so “that was then this is now” and talk about the changes in how lives are lived such as household appliances, jobs, medicine education etc ” “favorite family pictures” or choose a type of picture, say wedding or military or graduation or prom
    Have a contest, with writing catergories by age or gender or whatever I’d choose a theme for the essays

  6. HELP ME OUT HERE

    I just scored some replicas of medieval British monumental brasses perfect for rubbing. I am thinking of how to incorporate them in my teaching. I thought

    1) class on brass rubbings which briefly describing why mounumental brasses are important, then students select a brass to rub. (I have also picked up some plastic ‘children’s rubbing kits’ which produce a poor result, but I thought I would use them for practice prior to the ‘real thing.’

    2) DIY Heraldry class which will emphasize that those family reports are phony. Then discuss elements of heraldry and create ‘personal’ shield based on family values. Monumental brass facsimiles are illustrative and also students can make a rubbing.

    3) Genealogy & the Cemetery class, using monumental brass replicas as lab for headstone rubbing.

    Any comments much appreciated…

    PS If you have any replica brasses or wax rubbing sticks taking up closet space, contact me if you want to sell them.

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