Announcing The Write Stuff – a Genealogy Intensive™ Offering

The Write Stuff - Genealogy educator & author Lisa A. Alzo announces her successful online classes for genealogists seeking to improve their writing skills.

It’s back! The popular family history writing course, The Write Stuff, returns with a new format. Recently, The Write Stuff Spring 2017, sold out with more than 40 total participants!

Is writing a family history based on many years of genealogy research one of your “I’ll get to it someday” goals? Are you looking for more than just the standard genealogy report . . . do you want something that you can publish and share with family? Are you interested in crafting ancestor profiles and allowing their stories to “pop” off the page? Then you need to be a part of The Write Stuff – a Genealogy Intensive™ offering.

What Is a Genealogy Intensive™?

A Genealogy Intensive™ is a small group of similarly-minded genealogists with the same project goal—to write and share family stories.  The redesigned course is a self-paced online learning experience with instructional videos and five writing assignments that are interesting, engaging, and collaborative without being burdensome.  Participants are coached by nonfiction author and genealogy educator Lisa Alzo who will be on hand to offer encouragement and facilitate online discussions to lend inspiration, solve problems and help you to make that ever-elusive project a reality.  A private Facebook group serves as your “online classroom” where you can interact with your coach and fellow family history writers to share ideas, seek encouragement, and ask questions at any time of the day or night.  The online platform will also serve as the “workshop” space—an intimidation-free environment where you can post your writing for feedback as well as read and comment on the projects of your fellow writers.  In addition, Lisa will periodically hold live chats in the Facebook group where you can get answers to your questions about writing and publishing.

And the best part is since it is a self-paced, there are no set dates and you can begin the course whenever it is convenient for you!

So, bring your obsession. Bring your ideas, no matter how impossible they may seem. Bring your enthusiasm. Get ready for results. We’re talking action and doing. We’re talking feedback and support. Click here to read more about the Genealogy Intensive™ concept.

If you missed out on previous versions of The Write Stuff (which sold out quickly) then here is your chance! Read below for more information on this revamped, collaborative, results-driven, group coaching environment focusing on writing family history narratives.  Once you make your purchase, you’ll have access to the recordings, handouts, and the Facebook group indefinitely.  In addition, the first 25 participants to purchase The Write Stuff Genealogy Intensive course will receive one (1) free 15-minute personal Skype consultation with your coach Lisa Alzo.

What’s New?

In an effort to constantly improve our products and educational services, we have changed the format of The Write Stuff Genealogy Intensive to make it easier than ever for you to succeed! Key features of our revised program include:

  • No official start or end date! You receive an email with links to all videos and assignments and YOU choose when you start and finish.  However, for you to get the most out of this experience and meet your writing goals, it is recommended that you aim for one lesson and assignment per week (approximately 6 weeks of dedicated work).
  • The private Facebook group is the main hub of activity – you decide how much or how little you want to interact with your coach and fellow writers
  • Periodic Facebook Chats replace the scheduled live GoToWebinar sessions included in previous offerings of The Write Stuff. These Facebook events may be announced in advance or may be impromptu as decided by your coach. Facebook-hosted events will be recorded so you can view them if you can’t attend live.


While our format has changed, our commitment to helping you in your writer’s journey has not. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are some comments from previous Write Stuff students:

Your Write Stuff Seminar empowered me to write my family history.   Your gentle guidance and a supportive group helped me see that I am indeed a writer!  I appreciated the weekly meetings, the prompts, and the opportunity to share my work with others.  And I loved exploring the variety of forms one’s family history might take. You inspired me to express myself and in so doing leave a family legacy.   Thank you Lisa.” – Kathy

Genealogy Intensive gave my family history writing a big boost. From it, I developed the habit of writing every day. Genealogy Intensive led me to understand just how important that is to do. After the class was over, I started a family blog to publish some of that writing and to get it ‘out there’ for others to read. The blog provided other rewards, including increasing their interest and involvement in our family’s history. One of the cousins that I do genealogy work with told me “I love the way you write”. Most importantly, I decided how to write my family history book by choosing a format to use through the storyboarding technique taught in the classes.” – Mary-Angus Yanke


Are you excited about (or perhaps even a little obsessed with) the idea of getting your family history down in writing? Maybe you have self-doubts and fears about how to get started, what to write, and how to put it all together in a compelling way? If so, then this workshop is for you! During this six-week intensive, you will learn the key steps for producing a quality family history narrative from outline to finished product, ways to use “storyboarding” to plot your project, and how to build your writing skills, as well as your confidence as a writer. In addition, you will receive helpful tips, project management tools and a productivity toolbox to help keep you on track.

Through on-line instructional sessions, weekly assignments, and collaboration with other participants, you will have access to an instructor with more than 27 years’ experience, who will teach you about key nonfiction writing techniques you can use to produce a “can’t put down” family history that will keep the pages turning for generations. NOTE: While Facebook is not required, participants will reap the most benefits from the collaborative environment by accessing the Facebook Group for The Write Stuff Genealogy Intensive.

Key Goals of the Course

  • Learn writing skills and techniques to produce a quality family history; build on the skills each week.
  • Focus on getting a working draft.
  • Work at your own pace.
  • Receive constructive and helpful feedback.
  • Overcome fears and anxiety about writing.
  • Have fun!

Coach Bio – Lisa Alzo

lisa a. alzo

Lisa A. Alzo is a freelance writer, instructor, and lecturer and has been a genealogist for more than 27 years. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh, and is the author of eleven books, including: Finding Your Slovak Ancestors, Writing Your Family History Book, and the award-winning Three Slovak Women. Lisa has written hundreds of articles and her work has appeared in Family Tree Magazine, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, APG Quarterly, among others. An internationally recognized speaker, Lisa blogs as “The Accidental Genealogist” blog For more information see


(A guideline for working at your own pace)

Topic 1

  • Video: Setting Writing Goals
  • Assignment #1
    1) Outline your family history writing goal. Various tools will be provided to explore different ways to create an outline.
    2) Compose a short elevator pitch (no more than 2-3 sentences) that succinctly summarizes your project. A sample will be provided.
  • Facebook GroupParticipants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor.

Topic 2

  • Video 2: Plot, Plan, and Scheme: Storyboard Your Family History Project
  • Assignment #2
    Storyboard your project idea. Write by hand on index cards and then scan them or photograph them to share; or use a program such as Scrivener or Index Card App or StorySkeleton.
  • Facebook GroupParticipants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor.

Topic 3

  • Video 3: Tap into Family Treasures
  • Assignment #3
    Tap into Family Treasures: write 500 words using a photo or document or heirloom or keepsake as your prompt. Instructor will provide a sample.
  • Facebook GroupParticipants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor.

Topic 4

  • Video 4: Character Development through Oral History and Profile
  • Assignment #4
    Choose one
    1) Write from a memory or an oral history interview (500 words). Instructor will provide a sample.
    2) Write a profile or character sketch of an ancestor of your choice (500 words). Instructor will provide a sample.
  • Facebook GroupParticipants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor.

Topic 5

  • Video 5: Shaping Your Story Using Plot and Structure
  • Assignment #5
    Putting it all together. Building on the skills you learned in the previous weeks, and using your outline, write a 1200 word narrative (approximately 2 pages) about your ancestor or family. Instructor will provide an example.
  • Facebook GroupParticipants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor.

Additional Materials

  • Bonus Video: Top Ten Tips for Family History Writing


The cost to participate in The Write Stuff Genealogy Intensive™ is $129 per person. A special discounted price of $89 will be available during the early registration period. Early registration ends on Tuesday, February 28th at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time! You must use promo code FRUGALGEN at checkout to get this special deal!

If you’re ready to be a part of The Write Stuff, then click here to register and pay via PayPal*

* You do not need a PayPal account to make payment; you can use a credit card via PayPal.

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

We get it. You’re taking a chance with us on a new, radical format for online genealogy education. If you are willing to do the work and commit to the format of a Genealogy Intensive™, we’re certain you’ll be happy. More than happy. More importantly, you’ll finally get that project done!

If you are not satisfied with the content or format of the Genealogy Intensive™, we’ll gladly refund your money within 30 calendar days from date of purchase.

FREE British Isles Research Seminar, March 13-17, 2017

FamilySearch is offering an amazing opportunity - to attend a British Isles Research Seminar, in person OR online, March 13-17, 2017

FamilySearch Offering a FREE British Isles Research Seminar that you can attend in-person at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City OR online! This event will take place starting Monday, March 13th and run through Friday, March 17th, 2017.

Click here to the FamilySearch Wiki article on this event or click here to download the PDF brochure. Both links contain information on how to sign up for the seminar.

Class Descriptions and Schedule

Note: all times shown are Mountain Daylight Time (UTC/GMT -6)

Presenter Bios

  • Phil Dunn, AG® is an Accredited Genealogist in England and Scotland research with nearly 35 years professional experience in genealogical research methodology and is an experienced missing persons locator/heir-tracer, formerly for two major UK corporations and, more recently with a local law firm. The son of English parentage, he has lived, studied and lectured in the UK, Ireland, U.S. and Canada, and is a specialist in especially London and ‘Home’ (surrounding) counties, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cheshire, England’s big cities, ‘Brickwall’ 17th Century emigration, the West Midland counties, military, Nonconformist, (esp. Roman Catholic, Huguenots, Germanic churches, etc) British subjects abroad, maximizing users’ experience in the FamilySearch search engine.
  • Craig Foster, AG® has had an interest in history and genealogy since his youth. He earned two Master’s degrees at Brigham Young University and has worked at the Family History Library since 1991. He has worked as a British cataloger; in the VIP Services (formerly Library Public Affairs) Unit; and, since 2011, as a Research Specialist in British Reference. While Craig loves pretty much all British family history research, he has a particular interest in Scotland and Ireland. He is also very interested in and has researched and written about marriage practices and age at first marriage, generational family relationships, and naming patterns. Craig and his wife, Suzanne, are the parents of three children.
  • Mark Gardner, AG® was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and has been a professional genealogist since November, 1982. Most of this time has been in the Family History Library assisting individuals locate their ancestors. His love for Genealogy came from his Father who instilled in him at a young age the importance of Genealogical Research.  His trips to The British Isles in 1974 and 1976 gave him a sense of the how important History is to the British. Research Trips to the British Isles in 1986, 2008, 2011, 2012 and Australia & New Zealand in 1990 were a very helpful experience.  He is currently a staff member of the British Reference/Research Unit since June, 2000 at the Family History Library. He has a great understanding of the British Isles Collection housed in the Family History Library and also online genealogical records.
  • Joni Kesler, AG® has been with the Family History Library for 30 years. She has worked in the United States, British, Hosting and VIP units. She currently works as a Research Specialist assigned to the Outreach and Discovery Team. Joni enjoys reading and spending time with her family of four daughters, four granddaughters, and one grandson.
  • Todd Knowles, AG® is an accredited Genealogist who specializes in English and Jewish research. For the past 15 years he has been a member of the reference staff at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Todd has lectured all over the world and his articles have been widely published. In own genealogical search began at the age of twelve and the desire to find more about his family grows every day. His quest to find more about his GGGrandfather, a Polish Jew, has led to the creation of the Knowles Collection, six databases that contain the records of the Jewish people. It currently (as of Jan 2017) contains the records of over 1,400,000 people. Todd also authors a blog about the collection, Todd is married with seven children and 2 grandchildren.
  • David Rencher, AG®, CG, FUGA, FIGRS, is employed as the Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch. A professional genealogist since 1977, he is one of the rare few who have earned both credentials: Accredited GenealogistCM with ICAPGenSM in Ireland research and Certified Genealogist® with the Board for Certification of Genealogists®. He is a past-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.
  • Darris Williams, AG® has a Bachelor degree in Family & Community History. He worked as a British reference consultant at the Family History Library for 15 years and was a co-founder of the FamilySearch wiki. Darris is presently a research community manager, freelance genealogist and family history instructor.

©2017, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

FREE European Family History Conference September 12-16, 2016

FamilySearch is offering a FREE European Family History Conference, in-person AND via webinar, September 12-16, 2016 - here's how you can attend!

Well, FamilySearch rocks it once again!  Last week we mentioned how they were sponsoring a FREE United States Research Seminar later this month . . . and now they are sponsoring a FREE European Family History conference that you can attend either in-person or via webinar!  There are over 20 classes to be held September 12-16, 2016 and most classes will be held at the Church History Museum Theater, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Learn how to effectively use historical records and how to do research in several European countries. Explore such topics as census, church, immigration, and vital records. Learn more about German, Swiss, Russian, and Polish research. Discover new techniques, strategies, and methodology to apply to your genealogical research problems.” Click here to read more at the FamilySearch Wiki!

Here is the official announcement below!

* * *

The Family History Library and the research specialists of the European Reference team invite you to a free, never before offered, week-long conference focused exclusively on European research. The conference, which will be held September 12th-16th 2016, is perfect for beginning and intermediate genealogists interested in learning about records of European localities, and Family History Library collections.

Come and spend a week at the world renowned Family History Library learning from our expert staff of genealogists as well as experienced guest genealogists. Learn how to effectively use historical records and how to do research in several European countries. Explore such topics as census, church, immigration, and vital records. Learn more about German, Swiss, Russian, and Polish research. Discover new techniques, strategies, and methodology to apply to your genealogical research problems.

Most classes will be held at the Church History Museum Theater with the exception of the lab classes, which will be taught at the Family History Library in the B1 Lab. 

Seating in the Church History Museum Theater is limited to 190 participants, so be sure to register early to secure a spot. All classes will also be offered via webinar.     

  • Registration begins 1 Aug. 2016.To register for the free conference, visit the Eventbrite registration site at this link if you plan to personally attend in-house:
  • For those attending by way of webinar, please use the following registration link. 500 spots are available.

26 seats will be available for in-person labs which will all be held in the Family History Library B1 LAB. 100 spots available for webinar labs.

A syllabus will be provided that can be downloaded from the FamilySearch Wiki.  Here is the Link:

We hope this conference will not only be informative and instructive, but that it will also encourage and inspire you to continue your family history research. Perhaps this will be just what you need to break through that 20-year-old brick wall research problem. We look forward to working with you!

© 2016 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. A service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.