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ASU Offers Workshops on Writing Family History

January 09, 2006

MESA, AZ -- As Baby Boomers start to experience the loss of parents, this generation is finding that they regret not asking more questions about their parents' and family's history before it's too late, according to an article appearing in a recent issue of Forbes magazine about self-published memoirs.

To help Boomers and others capture or recreate genealogical information, Arizona State University has established the Project for Writing and Recording Family History.

Initially through one- to five-day workshops, those interested in capturing the historical information and crafting their own memoirs will learn to write, record, edit and publish a family history.

"With the development of the Internet, genealogical research exploded. But the more we gather names, dates and cold genealogical facts, the more we yearn for more personal connections to and understanding of those who came before," said Duane Roen, head of the Humanities and Arts in East College at the Polytechnic campus.

"The workshops provide hands-on activities, such as conducting and editing oral histories using audio and visual technologies, using and finding research materials, writing about family events, digitizing images, and constructing Web sites, which help to capture the information before it's too late."

More than 15 topics are currently covered through the workshops and new ones are added on a regular basis. Extended and brief workshops are available and some include field trips. These workshops are open to anyone and are offered in the day, evening, and on weekends at ASU's Polytechnic campus or elsewhere as requested.

"The workshops are the start of something larger," said Roen. "Eventually, we plan to offer semester-long courses that will help build the Writing and Recording Family History concentration under a proposed Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature, Writing, and Film. In addition to the concentration, the establishment of a national center focusing on writing and recording family histories is being discussed."

For more information, call Duane Roen at (480) 727-1415, e-mail him at, or visit the Web at