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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree January 2018 > How to write your family MEMOIR

How to write your family MEMOIR

If you’ve been putting off writing your memoirs, 2018 is the perfect time to begin. For a long while Bernard Barker felt he had a story to tell, but didn’t know the best way to go about it. Here he shares his advice for writing a memoir, gained from his own learning journey. Now there’s no excuse – make it your New Year’s resolution to put pen to paper


A family photo with Bernard on the right with his Uncle Wilfred, plus his mum, dad and brother

One evening, while we were drinking coffee alone together in the front room, my 90-year-old father disappeared and after a few minutes returned with an armful of light green cardboard folders, homemade files held together with gummed brown paper.

‘Please take these,’ he said, as his cornflower blue eyes met mine.

Each cover was marked with a date in black felt tip. I opened the first, and then several more. The contents were my letters home between 1954 and 2000. The manuscript pages were descriptive, anguished and loving, as well as patronising and sometimes ill tempered. As he prepared to die, Dad’s precious hoard had become a burden he could bear no longer.

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About Family Tree

Make the most of hibernation indoors this winter with our January 2018 issue. It’s full of family history tips and stories, plus a masterclass guide to essential church records. In addition, there are this issue’s Family Tree Academy challenges for our genealogy learn-along. If you have a new smart phone or device, you’ll love our new series with technology tips for family historians (don’t miss a trick that the web or your mobile can help you out with!). There is so much to enjoy, there’s no time to waste! Wishing you a very Happy New Year of family history to come.