Turning dry facts into exciting narrative

Carol Baxter
Jul 8, 2020
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2m 37s
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Speaker's Introduction
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8m 32s
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Think About Your Audience
12m 11s
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Let Your Voice Be Heard
7m 11s
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Stepping Stones
13m 57s
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13m 36s
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Historical Backdrop
13m 37s
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Announcements / prizes
6m 30s
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Questions / answers
12m 13s

About this webinar

The literary world condemns most family histories as ‘fact-driven and tedious’ because they are usually little more than prose timelines. Yet the phrase ‘family history’ communicates the three ingredients needed to produce a piece of prose that is interesting to read: ‘family’ (the facts about the family), ‘history’ (the historical context) and ‘story’. This seminar focuses on the first two ingredients and shows how we can weave our facts together in such a way that the reader is keen to keep on reading.

About the speaker

About the speaker

Carol Baxter is an experienced and informed historian and genealogist, an internationally-acclaimed, award-winning author, and a dynamic, inspirational presenter. Carol has been a genealogist for four decades having first become interested
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  1. Legacy Family Tree
    4 years ago

    A lot of great information.

    excellent…makes me believe I can write the history…not just tell it.

    I have just began researching my family history and you have provided an outline for me to follow. THANK YOU Doreen. Australia

    Lots of good information that I will be able to put to use.

    A lot of great ideas that I’d never thought about before were presented. It really got me excited about finally sitting down and writing my family history.

    A lot of great information! Thank you for hosting a webinar on this subject.

    A very informative, and entertaining webinar.

    A very interesting speaker with good ideas for writing genealogy.

    A very well presented webinar that has me excited to start writing. I look forward to her next webinar in December.

    Absolutely fantastic presentation. It has given a wonderfully helpful method to solve writing the family stories and lives so that future generations can understand and come to know their relatives and how they lived. Thank you so very much.

    Absolutely Great presentation. Remembering my own writing classes in college 50 years ago.

    Absolutely one of the best I’ve watched. Such good and practical ideas told with a zest that makes me want to start writing right now!!


    As I am currently starting a book about my parents’ life through WW II, which is an important part of our family history, the ideas presented will help me improve the text that goes along with several hundred images I have from a wartime scrapbook.

    Because stepping outside of the box is one of my favorite pastimes, and embracing the winds of a free spirit my personal style, Carol Baxter speaks my language. Her vision of how to create family history narratives that spring to life offers hope of resurrection to past writings that have gasped for breath before succumbing to certain death.

    Best webinar I have seen in years. Practical and powerful suggestions the even I can use.

    Can’t remember the exact comment but it was about the fact you are always writing in your own voice to some extent – and expressing your own or your culture’s biases.

    Carol Baxter deserves a 10!!

    Carol Baxter inspires readers, writers and especially family historians with her many talks well done, Carol!

    Carol Baxter is an inspirational speaker. Her practical tips and examples brought the writing process to life.

    Carol Baxter is phenomenal! This was the first webinar of hers that I have listened to and now I want to listen to all of the ones in the webinar library!

    Carol Baxter was a very energetic speaker.

    Carol Baxter was an engaging speaker, who made the topic relevant and the goal of writing interesting family history seem achievable. I am inspired! Thanks.

    Carol Baxter’s presentation excellent. Can’t wait for December. I ordered her two books ?? on writing and the aviatrix from Amazon.

    Carol Baxter’s presentation made me feel like it would be fun to write a genealogical narrative, not a chore.

    Carol gave some very helpful ideas about how to make a family history more than just a listing of dry facts.

    Carol has given me ideas that I can use detail from old newspaper columns to write about my ancestors and my husbands.

    Carol is always inspiring.

    Carol is an excellent speaker and an even better writer. I would like to see more webinars from her.

    Carol kept it moving and easy to understand with great examples. Now I need to figure out how to get sylbus

    Carol was a good presenter. Easy to listen to and good information! Thank you.

    Carol was engaging and the topic was inspiring. Fabulous!

    Carol was so helpful and delightful!

    Carol was well prepared and presented clearly and confidently, and inspired me.

    Carol Webster is my inspiration for my writing. Thanks for producing the webinar.

    Carol’s presentation was like her writing — fun and packed with information with a strong current of motivation.

    Carol’s suggestions were very exciting and i look forward to using the ideas she presented to make more interesting stories that will hold the attention of my family readers!

    Carol’s talk gave me different ways of looking at what can be a tired old subject. She held out a kaleidoscope and twisted it to enable me to do this.

  2. Legacy Family Tree
    4 years ago


    Detailed Information

    Enjoyable, filled with facts that lifted me to an other level in my writing – not dry at all – rich and verdant.

    Enjoyable, fun presentation

    enjoyed the speaker and her style!

    Entertaining as well as Informative —

    Even better than I expected. I love being given permission to color outside the box of family history writing.

    Exactly what I was looking for! Fits perfectly for me!


    Excellent – Carol is very informative, has prepared her talk with care and consideration for the variety of the audience, is a practised speaker and has fabulously interesting topics.

    Excellent advice from a very interesting presenter. I enjoyed it very much and gained many new insights on how to improve my family history stories.

    Excellent examples and entertaining presentation.


    Excellent ideas

    Excellent ideas and even better clear examples to get us started. Thank you Carol

    Excellent ideas for writing.

    Excellent information

    Excellent information. Thank you.

    Excellent presentation with so many ideas!!

    Excellent presentation! Covered things I’ve never thought about before!

    Excellent presentation. Fun facts as well as solid ones. Look forward to her next one in december.

    excellent presentation. Lots of great ideas how to make our stories more interesting.

    Excellent presentation. She was one of the best. Inspired me to tell my family history in an engaging manner.

    Excellent presenter – well prepared

    Excellent presenter and very informative and motivating.

    Excellent presenter with lots of good ideas

    Excellent Presenter. Excellent information. Thank you so much!

    Excellent speaker.

    Excellent speaker. Great tips and kept my interest eventhough I’ll probably never write anything. Thanks.

    Excellent suggestions. Worth another listen.

    Excellent syllabus and presentation.

    excellent talk about writing readable family histories

    excellent tips on writing

    Excellent webinar! Very well delivered presentation. Thanks!

    Excellent webinar.





    Excellent! It brought a sense of freedom from the shackles of didactic, fact based technical writing, and, it gave me “permission” to blossom. Thank you, Carol

    Excellent!!! Very inspirational!!!

    Excellent, informative presentation with great examples! I’m inspired to write!

    Excellent. I was afraid of even thinking about writing about my family history. Such great tools to use, makes it much less daunting!

    Excellent. Now to find some interesting historical context and events for my dull family.

    Excellent. I am definitely NOT any kind of writer like Carol. But the idea of making the facts a story helped me picture my ancestor doing this and that, and that is what I should write about. Thanks!

    excellent… very good ideas to start thinking about writing

    the presentation was excellent. Great images.

    Exciting with how to do’s.

    Exciting, informative, top-notch. Invite Carol to offer more webinars.

    Extremely interesting and applicable.

    Extremely practical advice.

  3. Legacy Family Tree
    4 years ago


    Fabulous presentation, lots of down-to-earth hints.

    Fabulous presenter. She was interesting, and her talk was helpful.

    Fabulous seminar, loved it. Many useful ideas.




    Fantastic! Never thought about writing a real family history before, but now it seems achievable.

    Fantastic!! So much to absorb. Will listen at least one more time.

    Fantastic. I am writing a story about a criminal ancestor and this has given me lots of ideas. One of the best webinars I’ve watched.

    Fantastic. Held my attention the whole time.


    Fascinating and inspirational. Our society is conducting a series of workshops on creating family photo-history books. I’m so glad I recommended this webinar to the participants. I have many takeaways myself and look forward to her future writing webinars.

    Fascinating description of her writing method. Very helpful.

    Fascinating information! It will definitely help in my writing. Thank you.

    fascinating to listen and learn

    Found this very interesting. Never considered writing a family history but might give it a try. Carol was very informative and an interesting speaker.

    fun webinar!!

    gave me some great ideas about how to add the interesting parts of my ancestors lives

    Good clues. Would like to see all in a list

    Good hints and tips. Engaging speaker

    Good ideas, but more about in another class I will talk about that. Thanks.

    Good suggestions and examples of how to flesh out characters when you write.


    Great handout!!!! Lots of good information.

    Great ideas to explore for my family stories

    Great ideas to make your family history readable. Thanks! Was worth my time. Glad threatening weather canceled my grandson’s baseball game tonight.

    Great ideas! Loved it!

    Great ideas, lots of examples.

    Great information

    Great introduction on how to make family history interesting to reader

    Great presentation

    Great presentation and terrific handout—bring Carol back for more!!

    Great presentation and tips, thanks

    Great presenter!

    Great tips and ideas for writing. Looking forward to her next webinar.

    Great webinar and lots of ideas to help improve my writing!

    Great webinar!! Thank you.

    Great webinar…makes me want to get started writing…right now!

    Great!! Causing me to rethink writing a family history–lots of great ideas!

  4. Legacy Family Tree
    4 years ago

    Her talk was more about using genealogical information to write a book. I was looking for ways to make my short story about my ancestors interesting. She had some good suggestions that I will employ.

    How to make an informational webinar exciting and meaningful. Absolutely fantastic.

    I am inspired to began my family memoir. Awesome presentation!

    I am looking forward to her next webinar

    I am so inspired to start writing! Another GREAT presentation!

    I did a lot of feature writing in my pre-retirement career, and this webinar reminded me that the requirements of a good feature story in a newspaper or magazine and a good family history story follow many of the same precepts. Don’t just transcribe your interview/s. Make it come alive! Hook your readers from the opening paragraph! Show them why they should be interested in this tale! Well done. Thanks very much.

    I feel I would need a lot of time to write something as the author talked about. I spend enough time just correlling the facts.

    I found Carol Baxter to be delightful and insightful.

    I found it very interesting, and helpful. I am currently reading one of Carol’s books, Writing Interesting Family Histories. Thank you!

    I had not thought much about this but am intrigued!

    I hate to write and have been dreading writing a historical sketch of an ancestor for a local publication. Carol’s presentation so inspired me, that I have written up a page of sentences, phrases, etc. and am ready to start my first draft! Thank you!

    I have been looking for a way to make my family history more interesting.

    I have heard Carol in person in Sydney and have a number of her books. This was an excellent webinar with so many great examples of how to make ones story ‘live.’ Date of birth, I am delighted that my great grandfather was born on my birthday (father’s mother’s side) and on my father’s side my daughter was born on her 6 x great grandfather’s birth date in 1686. These are certainly dates to be remembered and celebrated!!

    I haven’t started writing yet, but Carol gave enough good suggestions to get me started.

    I LOVED this webinar. I have her December on my calendar!

    i may be able to write my family history

    I now will have to search for historical events that happened near the time of my ancestors’ births, marriages or deaths. I had never thought of incorporating this type of item into my family history. Thank you so much.

    I rate it as one of the best, most informative, inspiring webinar I have joined. Carol Baxter is a brilliant presenter.

    I really appreciate Carol sharing her valuable experience and thank Legacy for the free viewing.

    I really enjoyed Carol Baxter’s talk. Very informative and interesting.

    I really enjoyed Carol’s insight into the art of writing.

    I really enjoyed Ms. Baxter’s talk and found her writing suggestions very helpful.

    this was an excellent webinar! I look forward to more of them by Carol on the subject of writing family histories.

    I think this webinar provided the incentive to finally get started on writing my family history.

    I want to give this one a 10! THE Best webinar on writing a family history in the style I’ve been envisioning I’ve heard. So many great ideas and examples. And Carol’s enthusiasm is definitely inspirational.

    I was so engaged in Carol’s webinar that when she mentioned it was nearly over, I was astounded at how quickly time had passed! She is a delight to listen to!

    I agree – that one should write like they talk so that their personality comes through. I prefer to write quick, short stories although I notice that professionals tend to go into great detail about a scene or event, but then they are writing for profit or to entertain, not to record facts about family for family.

    I will listen to it again this week. Very helpful.

    I’d give Carol a 10 out of 5 if I could! This was the BEST webinar so far. Thank you so much. Can’t wait till December and her next webinar, and I’m going to all three of my libraries tomorrow to request they buy her books!

    I’m not a writer, but was surprised to hear that many of Carol Baxter’s techniques are those which I already employ. I’ve always felt that ancestors are more than just names and dates and places. I try to find context for the lives they lived, and like to write life summaries for direct line ancestors. I might expand my horizons after this webinar!

  5. Legacy Family Tree
    4 years ago

    I’m willing to give it a try.


    Informative, engaging, looking forward to the next one of her presentations.


    Inspiring and makes me want to write up my family history!


    Inspiring! Brilliant! I just bought two of her books on Amazon!

    Inspiring! Looking forward to more from Carol.

    Inspiring! Makes me want to finally introduce my ancestors to their descendants!

    Inspiring, brilliant, really enjoyable, thankyou.

    Interesting and helpful

    Interesting, Interesting, Interesting!

    Interesting, kept our attention, easily understood. Thank you!

    It makes me want to write some stories

    it was a beautiful and so informative webinar that I regretfully realized that it was over

    It was informative. Got some good suggestions.

    It was interesting, but writing is not my cup of tea. In fact, I hare it and do as little as possible. My background is electrical and computer engineering. Our writing is anything but interesting. I am sure most attendees will find this webinar very valuable.

    It was very informative!

    It was very interesting and informative

    It was wonderful–very motivating. Thank you for making this available for free.

    I’ve wanted to write a family history for years now. However, just didn’t know if I could or how to start. Carol’s presentation give me the inspiration to honestly being this pursuit.

    Just what I was hoping for!

    Keep up the excellent work!

    Late joining the webinar. The portion of the presentation I listened to was really informative. I will definitely listen to the recording later. Love Carol’s accent. Thank you! : )

    Learned a lot. Changes my approach to writing totally – and that’s good!

    Lively, great examples. Inspired me to redo some of the parts of a book I am currently writing about my family.

    Long, but very inspiring. Will need to listen to again to capture all of the tips

    lots of good ideas and inspirational

    Lots of great ideas.

    Lots of great info presented in a clear, straight forward manner. Loved all the different ideas of presenting a family history.

    Lots of great information. Will need to watch again to get more of the details I might have missed.

    Loved Carol’s presentation! So many great ideas for making family history exciting to read.

    Loved it. Gave me tons of ideas on how to make my story of my family more interesting and not dry and boring.

    Loved the examples.

    Loved the interesting topic and the organization of the webinar. Can’t wait to try some of her techniques.

    Loved the webinar! Carol has a wealth of information and her examples are extremely helpful. I’m excited to put her tips into practice!

    My first….really impressed with the format and content presentation

    My husband and I have been bogged down with doing a short ‘book’ on his family that others want written but don’t want to do it themselves and this has inspired us to complete it now we have some wonderful new ‘tools’ to make it more readable 🙂 Thank you sooooo much for this timely webinar ?

  6. Legacy Family Tree
    4 years ago

    One of the best presenters I’ve heard with Legacy webinars which I’ve been enjoying since 2012!

    One of the best webinars ever and exactly what I needed!

    One of the best Webinars ever!

    One of the best webinars ever!! Lots to think about and attempt to try!!

    One of the best webinars, for my needs! They’re all great but I needed to hear this one the most!

    Outstanding presentation and informative. Learn a lot ….. More to learn.

    Pretty Good. I will probably attend in December

    Really enjoyed Carol’s talk. I am inspired, ideas kept leaping into my head, vignettes wanting to drop onto paper. Thank you Carol!

    Seemed like she wanted our result to be a historical novel

    She gives me hope.

    She is a really, really good teaccher!!!!

    She is a very interesting speaking an writer. Since I am a poor writer, at least I have a couple of ideas to try out on one of my ancestors. THANKS.

    She is as exciting a presenter as she is a writer. Thank you for this!

    She is very creative and inspiring!

    she presents like she writes. Well spoken and I was hooked. She inspired me to move ahead with my dream.

    She told a story which was the lesson – fun evening. Thanks!

    She was great!! I may even try making a book.

    simply brilliant!!! My head is swimming with ideas. I can’t wait to try some of Carol’s techniques with my writing.

    Thanks so much.

    So engaging and lively!

    Some helpful information, clear illustrations. Found author did not always seem to follow her own advice when showing her writing! Well presented and will help clarify my writing process.

    Some new ideas!!

    Such great practical tips.

    Talented edge of the chair ideas, can’t wait till the next webinar. Sorry to wait until December.

    Thank you!

    The best experience about writing. She pulls you along with her passion.

    THE BEST Legacy Webinar I have seen to date. Carol Baxter is a gripping and inspiring speaker!

    The material was interesting.

    The presentation was GREAT! I learned a lot and am excited to try and breathe some life into my family history. Thank you!

    The presentation was very well organized and quite interesting. The ideas will help me in crafting my family story. Thank you.

    The presenter did a great job. She really held my attention.

    The speaker was excellent – clear, concise and interesting. The information she provided is very useful. I appreciated that the webinar started and ended on time. Thank you very much!

    The timing was perfect for me as I had just decided to write up the stories that may this so much fun. My family has politely wondered why I continue to work on this and it’s understandable – they haven’t seen a word for themselves. So now I begin a wonderful adventure of orphanages, mysteries, and lost generational talents,against a dramatic backdrop of famine, fever, drownings, shellshock, and even lead poisoning.

    The topic was great and she had some interesting ideas

    The webinar was great! I’m looking forward to part 2 in December (I already signed up). In the meantime, I will be exploring her website and maybe getting one or her books.

    This help me to start thinking to myself, so I could write/communicate to others

    This is the first time I have heard Carol Baxter and I found she really ‘talked’ to me. First-class . I now have sign-up for December and he the other items n the library.

    This was another very helpful, informative webinar with numerous suggestions. Although I wasn’t familiar with her books, I could tell that she is a fascinating expert in her style of writing. I look forward to her next webinar.

    This was one of the best Webinars I’ve attended in recent memory! I’ve been a subscriber for years and I really appreciate Legacy for providing them.

    This was so helpful to me.

    This was so inspiring. Thanks!


    Too deep for me

    Truly informative and exciting! Thank you.

    Truly motivated to put my thoughts into written words to tell the family history. Thank you.

  7. Legacy Family Tree
    4 years ago

    Very affirming and confirming of what I am trying to do. Great presentation.

    Very cool! Enjoyed the speaker and felt very inspired.

    Very engaging presenter.

    Very engaging talk. Included lots of tips with relevant examples.

    Very enjoyable and I got so many great ideas!

    Very enjoyable and inspirational.

    Very entertaining and packed with useful information.

    Very entertaining presenter, lots of good advice.

    Very good but glad I can see it again for a week. Sometimes hard to hear her but learned new ideas .

    Very good speaker . Useful and thought provoking content.

    Very good webinar.

    Very good!

    Very good. I look forward to receiving in Dec.

    Very helpful

    very helpful

    Very helpful in stimulating ones own ideas as Carol spoke.

    Very helpful! Thanks!

    Very helpful.

    Very helpful. Now to just apply it all and not forget all 13 points. A challenge for us all. Thanks so much for sponsoring this topic.

    Very helpful. There was a lot of info so I will listen again. Also bought her book on Writing Interesting Family History on Amazon. Look forward to December.

    Very helpful.

    Very informative and inspirational.

    very informative as well as entertaining – thank you

    Very informative, lively with good suggestions.

    Very informative, presenter engaging. Loved this one.

    VERY informative. VERY interesting!

    very informative== inspired me

    Very inspiring!

    Very interesting and a new way of writing. Very much enjoyed her information.

    Very interesting and informative. I really haven’t given any thought to writing but this is making me have second thoughts.

    Very interesting and well-prepared Speaker!

    very interesting presentation

    Very interesting presentation with a lot of helpful suggestions/ideas on writing! Thank you!

    Very interesting presentation. I found it went a bit fast. Looking forward to her next presentation.

    Very interesting seminar! Looking forward to the follow up.

    very interesting with many ideas for starting to write a family history!

    Very interesting!

    Very interesting, good pointers on writing, a bit much on her own publications.

    Very interesting.

    Very interesting. I would love to hear another one on writing.

    Very interesting. Lots of good ideas.

    Very nicely presented

    Very nicely presented! Looking forward to hearing more about weaving story into the family history in Carol Baxter’s December webinar.

    Very organized presentation – despite not being a planner! And an enthusiastic, inspiring speaker!

    Very practical. Thank you!

    Very sensible, workable suggestions. She has inspired me to stop researching for a while and start writing.

    Very smooth and interesting, great graphics!

    Very thought provoking. I need to take my facts and spin them into features.

    very well presented!!!

    We never dozed off – riveted! She is an excellent speaker and so informative on how to generate ideas for a ‘boring’ but good ancestor.

    well delivered. thanks

    well done. Very clear. Very informative

    Well organized, great combination of useful information and entertain, setting an example for writing narrative nonfiction

    well planned presentation. Was able to take notes. Excellent speaker.

    Well prepared. Excellent information presented well. Loved her enthusiasm for what she does. Makes me want to go and start writing.

    Well presented, good graphics and great ideas to try in writing family history.

    Well…I want more! And I’m going to go re-write something that I wrote earlier today. She gave me examples and ideas I’m going to use right now. Thanks!

    What a fabulous presenter! So many ideas & techniques! Thank YOU!

    What a fantastic webinar which should help all ‘would be’ writers to fulfill their dreams of making their research interesting for generations to come! Thank you Carol Baxter!

    Wish we could purchase Carol’s books in the USA.

    Wonder, inspiring! Really got the creative juices flowing.

    Wonderful ideas about how to make your family story come alive!

    Wonderful ideas for getting family interested in your stories.

    Wonderful webinar and great presenter! She made the topic really interesting – thank you!

    Wonderful webinar with great ideas of how to write a family history that your family will actually want to read!



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