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Hire a freelance family history writer

And hire someone that cares about your family history project

There’s a maxim among professional genealogists that “No one cares about your family history but you.” All those historical records to sift through are a chore for a lot of people to become familiar with. And that’s true — it’s hard for someone to come in and look at your family tree and learn the names, ages, and life story of family members. You’ve been looking at them for years or decades and know where your holes, gaps, and issues are.

But I don’t find this a chore. When done well, I genuinely enjoy doing what most genealogy researchers don’t care to do and look for the interesting stories, the unusual deaths, the unlikely marriages, and the tragic losses. 

Your family members are more than just historical records and limbs on a tree

Which of these family histories would you rather read?

Wilma Jean Malloy was born on July 31, 1934 in Campbellsburg, Indiana to Ruby Moore, 19, and Francis Malloy, 23. She lived in Campbellsburg until 1948 when she moved to Knightstown, Indiana. Her first daughter, Donna Sue, was born on August 26, 1961.

Born in the rural hillside of Campbellsburg, Indiana, Wilma Jean Malloy’s was the eldest in the family of 5 brothers and sisters. When WWII was underway, her father was called to serve in the Pacific, leaving her mother behind to face unimaginable challenges.

With little income, her mother, Ruby Moore, made the difficult to decision to send all of her children to the Indiana Soldier’s and Sailor’s Home in Knightstown, Indiana. There, Wilma and her brothers and sisters attended high school in the state’s largest orphan home.

A family history narrative is far more interesting than merely browsing limbs on a tree. Ancestry and Family Tree can’t write this kind of narrative or story. They just present the facts. Who wants to read “just the facts?”

If you’re ready to push your genealogy research to a new level combining your research findings into a unique, compelling family history book, you should hire me to help write that story.

Costs of a family history narrative

The time committed to such a project is significant, so the cost for a family history narrative starts at $3,500. This is not a task for data entry, though I will note any potential errors or issues with your existing tree and records.

You’ll get:

  • Additional professional personal research to supplement and compliment your existing tree. Simply share your Ancestry.com files or other compatible file format.
  • A professional-looking document either in Word, Google Docs.
  • For an additional fee, I can design and lay out the book in InDesign so you can print a bound copy with a print press. All can include photos of your family or their communities and environments. 
  • The ability to use your family history narrative however you like, including sharing on a personal website or blog, with other genealogists, or to print and gift or donate to family members, historical societies, and local libraries.

Why you should trust and hire Justin

My name is Justin Harter, and my first job in life was working at a small, rural historical society in southern Indiana. My professional experience extends from the time I was in high school to today. I teach online writing at Indiana University, have authored nonfiction books and stories on special events in Indiana and Midwestern history, including the Tri-State Tornado of 1925.

My research experience extends comfortably into phone or online interviews, including extensive experience in my day-to-day job as a freelance writer for regional organizations and nonprofits’ article writing efforts online. I’m also a graphic designer with 20+ years of experience designing brochures, packages, websites, and handouts for state governments and nationally-recognized organizations and brands.

You should hire the best professional genealogist for your family based on your geographic location. That’s why I’m best suited for Midwestern and east-coast U.S. family history research services, but will review and turn down any family history effort I don’t think I can do to the best of my ability.

My goal in this endeavor is to provide context and emotion to family histories. A family’s past is as rich and eventful as our present, but uncovering the events of several generations past brings me great joy and satisfaction. 

To get started with a no-obligation consult on family history narrative writing and interviews with your family members, as well as the help of select genealogy research services, contact me. It’ll be a gift to yourself, your family, and future generations.