Telling Your Family Stories

Instructor:  Jane McLean

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class Limit 15
  • Materials Required

We all have family stories that deserve to be told. But where do we start? Who do we tell them to? And how do we get our stories out there? Creating a family story can be as simple as writing a few notes on an index card for the next family reunion, or as high-tech as setting up a website for collections of photos, genealogy records, and articles. In each class, we will practice techniques for telling or writing short family stories and shon our work. We will explore platforms for passing on our stories to family members or the community via oral histories, print publications, memory books, and online journals (blogs) or websites. We will have opportunities for guided research and writing through optional assignments. We may submit three projects in a variety of media for personalized written feedback from the instructor. The instructor will provide an extensive handout at each class, display relevant books and artifacts, and give specific written comments for three projects submitted by each student. Class limit 15

Required materials: Handouts provided by instructor. Students may want a 3-ring binder to hold and organize handouts. Students should bring writing materials—pen-pencil and paper or laptop.

Jane McLean is a retired speech-language pathologist, special educator, and community theater performer. She received a master’s degree from SUNY Geneseo, NY, and has a background in writing, editing, and website management.

She recently taught “Telling Your Family Stories” at Penobscot Valley Senior College. Jane and her husband, John Elberfeld, taught “Preserving and Sharing Your Family History” for Belfast and Penobscot Valley Senior Colleges. They co-wrote Helderberg Hilltowns for Arcadia Publishing. Jane is currently collaborating with Megan Pinette on a new history of Belfast, also for Arcadia Publishing.