If you have started to write your family history and have some good stories to tell or if you would like to share some research tips and experiences, there is a potential market out there. Although most of the content for family history magazines is written by staff writers and professional writers, there are opportunities for keen amateurs who aspire to writing for family history magazines.
Writing for family history magazines – some potential markets
Family history magazines typically include a mix of ‘how to’ and ‘getting started’ articles related to specific areas of family history research, case studies and well-written and engaging family history stories.
Here are just a couple of examples of family history magazines which will consider articles written by their readers, but do a search online for other opportunities.
Discover Your Ancestors Periodical is a monthly online magazine which includes stories, case studies, social history articles and research advice. They welcome proposals for articles for their monthly online Discover Your Ancestors Periodical and their annual bookazine. They prefer articles on family history guidance (i.e. how to make the most of particular types of records, especially unusual ones) and social history (for example, a particular era, occupation, lifestyle). If you have an idea for an article, contact the editor with your proposal. Note that even if they accept a proposal for an article, it may be some months before it is published.
Discover Your History is an online magazine which specialises in stories and topics relating to family and social history. If something you see in any of their articles is relevant to you and your ancestry, or if it inspires you to write, they would love to hear about it. They are also always on the lookout for readers with an interesting story to tell (particularly for their Times and Lives section) and so if you have an idea for a story or article click here to find out who to contact.
Writing for family history magazines you read or subscribe to
Even if a family history magazine you read or subscribe to isn’t actively seeking submissions/contributions, it is always worth contacting the editor if you have an idea for an article. However, always make sure you are very familiar with the format, readership and types of article in a magazine before you contact an editor with a proposal. You will need to read/study at least three issues of a magazine to get a feel for the types of articles they would consider publishing. Your proposal will be rejected if you are unfamiliar with their readership and type/style of content.
Society and group magazines
If you don’t feel ready to approach the national magazines then you could consider the smaller-circulation magazines produced by family history societies and genealogy groups. These magazines not only keep their members/readers up-to-date with the latest news and events but they also often offer the opportunity for people to share their own stories and experience. Filling all of the pages of a group or society magazine can be a challenge and so many editors would welcome well-written article and stories.
Write for a family history or genealogy blog
Another way to get your articles or stories published is to become a guest blogger for a family history or genealogy website. For example, guest bloggers on The In-Depth Genealogist US-based website are invited to contribute a blog post on any topic related to genealogy or family history. Another US-based website Family Tree welcomes queries from writers who would like to contribute to their magazine and/or website. Before contacting them with an idea, you are asked to check out their writer’s guidelines and to browse their content to get a feel for the type of material they publish.
I hope some of these suggestions will inspire you to approach editors with your story and article ideas. It is very rewarding to see yourself in print and to have the opportunity to reach a wider audience. If you’ve already had an article or story published in a magazine or on a website then do tell us how you went about it and whether you think your source(s) might also offer opportunities for other writers.
If you would like to contribute to this site, then check out our pages on how to become a guest blogger for beginnersguidetowriting.com.