Cranking Out Biographys [closed]

+10 votes
Cranking out a Biography is hard work!  The more you know about the life of an individual in your tree the more difficult it is.  Almost like writing a book :-)  I think it will get easier as I get deeper into my family because I will reach a point where I have no personal knowledge of their lives.  So we get down to the grass roots, Just The Facts, Ma'm.
closed with the note: Three Great Answers
asked in The Tree House by Rory Bowers G2G6 (9.9k points)
closed by Rory Bowers
The facts are worth a great deal, but the snippets of personal knowledge are priceless.  Best of luck!
Thank You Vincent, I agree completely... writing Bios for my Mom, Dad and Grandparents is a challenge but I am trying to throw in some of my personal memories growing up with them.  I think it will keep it from being "too dry".
Trying to decide who gets the Gold Star was difficult.  All of the answers have a great deal of merit and I Thank you All for your reply.


Rory Bowers

Rory, I find that writing bios for people I never knew turns into a kind of litany that always seems to have the same template - He/she was born (when and where), parents were (links to their profiles).  He/she married (link to spouse) and they had (number) of children, (links to children).  Then there are paragraphs that state facts in any census, immigration, military service, etc. records, followed by He/she died (where and when) and was buried (where and when).  That's "just the facts", but sometimes I can find little extras, like occupation or physical description.  I hate that these profiles are so impersonal because I don't know anything to personalize them and imbue their biography with the meaning of their lives.

On the other hand, writing profiles for people I did (or still do) know is the absolute opposite - these people are (obviously) more recent and often still living, so I am careful to deliberately OMIT the sources to protect privacy, while writing all about the nature of who they were. In a way, these seem inappropriate to put on WikiTree because they are essentially lacking in genealogical information while very long on the personal kind of stuff (being careful to ONLY include nice things), so I tend to avoid writing profiles for living people.  I can offer two examples of exceptions.  I wrote a bio as a tribute to commemorate the birthday of an important person in my life and, when my son was about to be married, I wrote his bio specifically for the benefit of his new bride.

Ha Ha Ha... Thank You for your reply and observations Gaile.  I called my Mom this morning, she informed me the other day that she was writing her Life Biography.  I asked her "since you are in the mood to write would you like to write your own biography for me or would you prefer that I do it, Mom??  She said "go ahead and write it and then you can send it to me".  I tried to get out of it :-)

2 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer

You are so right. They can be hard work. But you end up with a great product, and the more great bios we get at Wikitree, the better our credibility. I am totally daunted by writing bios for my parents and grandparents, because I have too much information.

You might be interested in the Biography Builders Challenge. This months theme is Mothers, so covers a lot of persons

answered by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1m points)
selected by Rory Bowers
Thank You Anne... That is the problem that I have with my parents, Grandparents and Great Grandparents.  I knew them, I grew up with them and I have memories with them.  I don't think those memories should be trivialized.  In the eyes of a reader, those memories bring that person to life.
+5 votes
Facts can be interesting and we seem to want to say just the facts but sometimes the unknown can prove to be just as exciting. Uncle Bob was a policeman who  loved Aunt Sophie 's world's best Strawberry Rhubarb pie. You never know which would be more fascinating, especially to Uncle John. In other words different people may find different subjects more interesting.  I am going to try to not make each biography too long and drawn out, just hopefully interesting to the others who may read them.
answered by Jerry Dolman G2G6 Pilot (140k points)
Great answer Jerry!  I agree, for close in relatives who we have great memories of we should include those in their Bios.  It tends to bring the person "to life".

Thank You!

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