For All Time: A Complete Guide to Writing Your Family History

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.50
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 84%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (15) from $3.50   
  • New (5) from $9.54   
  • Used (10) from $3.50   


Family history writing can take many forms--a short essay or narrative introduction to a collection of family letters, long captions comprising a family photo history, a biography of parents and a narrative of their life together, an autobiography, or even a family newsletter. This sensible and accessible book is for those who want to do a little writing as well as for those who want to do a lot.

Kempthorne shows how easy it is to write family history and how much fun it can be. He illustrates in detail how to:

  • write narratives and dialogue
  • use physical details in a scene to make it come alive
  • create suspense
  • use many other techniques frequently employed by historians and novelists.

By the end of the book, readers will not only gain a thorough understanding of how to write family history, but will have completed a number of sketches to entertain and enrich their families.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“. . . (For All Time) adds an exciting new dimension to writing modern family history that seeks to place our ancestors in a larger framework of family, neighborhood, and history.”–Library Journal
Library Journal
The author, a former teacher and magazine editor and publisher who specializes in teaching family history, has combined his talents to produce this work. In four chapters, he discusses family history and its importance, includes techniques for writing family history, provides forms, and explains the methods of printing and publishing the histories. Part 3, "Forms of Family History," for example, not only addresses writing biography, autobiography, and family newsletters but provides an especially useful illustration of how to incorporate letters and cookbooks into family history. The print and publishing chapter looks to be just as useful for general works as for family history publications. Ultimately, Kirk Polking's Writing Family Histories and Memoirs (Betterway, 1995) is probably more useful to genealogists, as Kempthorne's work emphasizes writing in general. But it adds an exciting new dimension to writing modern family history that seeks to place our ancestors in a larger framework of family, neighborhood, and history. It suffers from the lack of an index but otherwise is recommended as source both for writing modern family history and for writing in general.Judith P. Reid, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780867093810
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 8/5/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 150
  • Sales rank: 1,519,471
  • Age range: 18 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Charley Kempthorne, a former teacher, is the founder and editor of LifeStory Magazine, an interactive workshop by mail for family historians. He also teaches workshops in journaling and writing family history through his LifeStory Institute in Manhattan, Kansas.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Family History and Its Importance: History Is a Story; Re-create Your Family's Experience; History Isn't Just Ancient History; History and Building a Sense of Family; Family History and the Professional Historian; Writing Family History and Personal Values

Techniques for Writing Family History: Exploring Narrative Writing; What You Already Know About Writing Narratives; Learning to Trust Yourself as a Writer; Don't Try to Sound "Educated" or "Literary"; Getting Started Writing; Writing as a Way of Remembering; The Importance of Being Specific; Engage the Reader's Senses; Mixing Summary and Scene; Writing A Composite Scene; Telling Narratives from a Specific Point of View; Making a Person Real with Words; Recreating Conversations; Suspense Isn't Just for Thrillers; Use Your Imagination; The Narrative Mix: Place, People, Action, and Narration; The Slice of Life Versus a Beginning, Middle, and End; Enjoy What You're Writing; How to Get the Best Out of Yourself; Care About What You're Writing; A Refreshing Digression; Your Sense of Humor; The Role of Revision

The Forms of Family History: The Narrative Journal; Interviews; Writing Captions; Letters; Occasional History: Cards and Letters; Cookbooks and Recipe Collections; Biography; Autobiography; The Family Newsletter; Fiction: Historical, Biographical and Autobiographical

Printing and Publishing Your Family History: What Do You Do with What You've Written?; Printing Your History Easily and Cheaply; Using Photos; Laying Out Your Book; The Types of Publication; Self-Published Family History Books


A. Resources for the Family Historian

B. Starting a Family History Writing Group

C. Teaching Others to Write Family History

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)