Getting Started with your Story

Telling your family story on FamNet is easy!   Your story can be as simple or as sophisticated as you like, from a single anecdote to a complete "book".   You don't have to create it all at once, you can create it one bit at a time, working at your own pace.  Unlike a printed book, publication does not stop you changing things, you can go back and revise what you said before at any time. 

Telling your family story on FamNet is different to telling it on paper as a single document: it's much easier.  Instead of writing a single document you create a family tree, and then attach things - pictures, documents, video, audio - to the people in this tree.  Each object can be as simple or elaborate as you like.   Each object might be attached to one person, or to several.   Your family tree may contain just one person (you), your immediate family, or thousands of names.  The starting point then is to create your initial family tree.   Since the family tree will contain all the names, dates, and relationships you can leave all this stuff out of your narrative and concentrate on the interesting stuff.

If you haven't already done so, have a look at the initial FamNet Guided Tour.  This will give you a very quick overview, and introduce the concepts that you'll need in the following steps.

Now: -

Step 1.  Create a Family Tree

The family tree is the basic way of indexing your stories, so the first step is to create a family tree that includes a record for the person whose story you want to tell. This family tree doesn't have to be very elaborate: it could be the bare minimum, which is a single name with no information about this person except the person's name and gender.  Or it may contain a family tree of thousands of names with dates of birth and death and lots of information.

If you already have your family records organized on your computer with a genealogy program like Legacy, Family Tree Maker, etc, you should export a GEDCOM file and upload it to FamNet. 

If you don't have such a program you can create your tree on line.  As the introductory Guided Tour video showed you: -

When you have added enough records you can start telling the stories of the people in the tree.

Step 2.   Telling a Story

Now that you have a framework, you have many ways of telling stories: -

  1. Write it in the Notes field for a person.  This is the simplest, but probably the least satisfactory.  The notes are plain text, you cannot vary the font, nor can you include pictures.  
    To do this: 
    *   Open the record of the person, and click [Edit] to open the Basic Edit page
    *   Write your story in the Notes field.  When you have finished, click the button [Finished Editing This Person]: -

  2. Write your story as a normal document, using Microsoft Word or another word-processing program.  You can use varying fonts, for example making the page heading larger than the body text, and you may embed pictures within your story.   When you have finished, you can upload your story to a "Scrapbook", which is a list of documents (and pictures) attached to a person.  To do this: -
    *   Open the record of the person, and click [Edit] to open the Basic Edit Page.  This also exposes a further list of buttons, including [Scrapbook] (see the example above).
    *   Click [Scrapbook].  This shows a list of items already uploaded to the scrapbook of the person.  By clicking the button [Upload new Object] you can upload your story.  Once you've uploaded to this person, you can then attach it to other people as well, so that it appears in multiple scrapbooks.   When you upload an object you can give some notes so that people can find it in searches.

    If you look up this record of Freda PYM in FamNet you'll see the link to "FredaCook.pdf".   Click this and the document will open.  In this case you'll see that I've developed this story by taking the official biography from the Dictionary of NZ Biography and added our family photographs.

  3. Telling your story as an audio or video recording.   While you're looking at the record of Freda PYM, click the link "Freda talking about the depression".  And go back to the Guided Tour video and note the video fragment from my granddaughter Georgia.   You can upload these objects to scrapbooks just as you can upload documents and pictures.