Writing Reports: For Clients, Family Members, Other Researchers, and  Yourself

Instructor: Sara Gredler, CG® and AG®  
Dates offered: Wednesdays, Oct 25, Nov 1, 8, and 15
Time: 4:00-7:00 ET/1:00-4:00 PT
Cost: $300
Registration: 17-23 August 2023

Course description

This course tackles what is probably the hardest part of genealogy: stopping  research and writing about the findings. Writing conclusions is not only part of the  Genealogical Proof Standard and the research process, but helps genealogists hone  critical thinking skills and shows the holes in the research.  

When writing to prove research conclusions, genealogists have to write  persuasively and logically to convince the reader the argument is correct. In  addition to the genealogical focus of the argument, writers have to show the reader  that the requisite historical knowledge also supports the research and conclusion. 

During the course, we will discuss several organizational systems for how to  present an ancestor’s story, always keeping your audience in mind. As  professionals, the audience for reports range from clients, family members, other  researchers, and ourselves. As writing reports for certification and accreditation  may differ from other work products, those will also be discussed. We’ll also  review tools for the actual writing and chart creation, and how to find images and  documents that can add color to a report.

Target audience:

Beginner to advanced, specifically those who have never written a  report (or only written one) on research findings.

Pre-requisites: None


Submit a report to the instructor (under 15 pages if possible). These will be reviewed and edited prior to the first class meeting. Due by October 16th.

Required subscriptions/reading

Class Objectives

1. Provide students the opportunity for report writing for both their current  research and for research that is unfamiliar to them. 

2. Provide students the experience of peer review of their reports.

3. Provide students with guided activities to illustrate how to write their reports  for easy readability.

Session 1:

  • Why Write a Report at All? What’s the Point? 
  • Know Your Audience  
  • Organizational Systems 

Session 2:

  • Beginning Research Strategies and Executive  Summary 
  • Evidence Analysis and Its Explanation
  • Writing the Thought Process and Meeting the Genealogical  Proof Standard Without Jargon 
  • Writing Better: Strategies and Tools

Session 3:

  • Incorporating DNA Analysis in Reports
  • Adding Color to Your Reports 
  • Images and Documents 
  • Chart Creation 
  • Writing the Conclusion 

Session 4:

  • The Editing Process
  • Certification and Accreditation