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Welcome to the Writing
Phase of the 300+ Project - an ambitious, cooperative effort to bring
Orville Corson's landmark volumes into the 21st Century. Many people are
working together to achieve the goal.
The following guidelines are for writers, editors, resource
support, peer reviewers - for anyone who is participating and helping
during the Writing Phase of the Project.
1-1 Assignment and Scope - Check your assignment sheet for
scope, Contact Editor, and availability of data files. Make sure the scope
of your assignment and writing “module” are what you intend. Work
with your Contact Editor if clarifications or changes are needed.
1-2 Getting Help - Help is available to you. The 300+
Project has a volunteer editorial staff and some larger modules will also
have a Module Editor. Any one of them may be assigned as your Contact
Editor. Your Contact Editor will help you tackle problems and find
1-3 Advisory Council -
Another way to get help while you are working on your module is by
participating in the Advisory Council. The Advisory Council is an
electronic forum where problems, suggestions, ideas, and experiences can
be shared and discussed. Its value depends on participation, so we are
urging all writers and editors to take part in it.
See: “How to take part in the Advisory Council” in the
Supplemental Information section.
1-4 Learning to live with the Editors -
Rule #1: They are not
infallible. They are reasonably flexible when problems arise.
Rule #2: The editorial staff
has overall responsibility for the work, so “the buck stops there“
rule applies when decisions are needed.
Friendly settlement of conflicts is the goal.
1-5 Flexibility in Following Guidelines - All of the
modules that writers are preparing for the 300+ Project need to be similar
enough to one another that they are readily recognized as parts of a
common publication. Talk to your Contact Editor if certain other practices
will work better for your module.
1-6 Information Available from Data Files
- Before the Writing Phase began, the CCFHA spent five years
working on a Data Phase. As a result of that effort, considerable
information is available to writers for many (but not all) modules.
Milestones - Each module
writer is asked to give early attention to a plan and schedule for
preparing his or her module. We ask that you share the information with
your Contact Editor in the form of dated milestones on a chart which you
can use to track your own progress.
Help - along the way
2-1 Communications - Writers should actively exchange
communications with their respective Contact Editors. If several writers
are cooperating on the same Division they are encouraged to coordinate
with each other.
2-2 Outlines - If you are writing, we ask you to think
early about an outline of what you expect to write for publication, and
then send a copy of your outline to your Contact Editor. It would be
helpful if the outline can include a rough estimate of exhibits, photos,
2-3 Periodic Reports - We are asking writers and editors
to send a brief progress report to the editorial staff each quarter, in a
form of your own choosing. It helps to know if help is needed
2-4 Writing Medium - In today’s modern world, most
manuscripts are written with word processing software and the results are
captured in electronic/digital files. Our final publication will almost
certainly require digital files and we might as well start early.
Coordinate what you are doing with your Contact Editor: Not all word
processing files are compatible; “MS Word” is the default standard.
2-5 Back-up Records and Files - Each writer should keep
backup copies of work in progress, including submittals made to the
Contact Editor, “just in case.” Label the backup copies clearly to
identify contents and dates.
2-6 Documentation Phase - Everyone working on the 300+
Project Writing Phase is working on a Documentation Phase as well. The
goal of the documentation phase is to collect originals or copies of as
many things cited in the Writing Phase as possible. There is no better way
to establish the validity of the various sources and citations.
2-7 Schedules and Deadlines - Only a few schedules have
been set so far for the Writing Phase, but with your help we can be
thinking about what may be feasible. Let us know what works for you.
2-8 Expenses - The Writing Phase shouldn’t cost anyone
very much. See:
“Asking for expense reimbursements” in the Supplemental Information
What You Write
3-1 How Your Module Fits - Each module is a part of the
larger whole. We want them to fit together into a flawless anthology. We
expect reasonably similar formats, construction, and numbering, all of
them based on accepted standards. Genealogical standards should follow the
National Genealogical Society, see http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/comstandards.htm.
Grammatical standards should conform to "Elements of
Style" (Strunk) or similar authority.
3-2 Writing for Interest - You will want the reader to
"get lost" in the story of these real people, their lives and
times - not just birth, marriage and death. As genealogists like to say:
"Put some meat on those bones!"
3-3 Anecdotal and Apocryphal Information - Anecdotes are
stories told by a member of the family and verified by other members.
Apocryphal tales may sound plausible but lack substantiation (or may even
be disclaimed by others in the family) Be careful to authenticate the
tales you include - or if you include a dubious story, be sure to set it
apart from the rest and include suitable disclaimers.
3-4 Documentation - What
is reported as fact needs to be factual, and the facts need to be
documented. Documentation means clear evidence of the facts through
citations and/or copies. Some documentation is more likely than others to
be valid; we like to have strong, complete documentation.
3-5 Bibliography - It is customary to gather information
about published sources such as books and newspapers into a list of
publications, or bibliography.
3-6 Copyrights, Credits - Most books and many other
published materials have at one time or another been protected by
copyrights. Writers should be careful to cite all sources and obtain
authors’ written permission before using copyrighted material if quoting
directly. If abstracting, acknowledge the source precisely.
3-7 Acknowledgements - Most books like this one are
possible only through the participation of many people, who typically are
acknowledged for their help. The 300+ Project publication will be
especially rich in the many people who are making it possible, and need to
3-8 Incorporating Other Publications - Sooner or later in
the preparation of a module the writer will probably need to rely
extensively on genealogical information published in another book. There
is no need for all the information to be repeated in the 300+ publication.
Instead, the reader should be told where further information can be
found.. The module writer will include the citation and decide how much
needs to be repeated and how much can be omitted from the current
3-9 Maternal Lines - Mothers are vital links in the story,
of course, but how far can our story branch out? To a certain extent this
is “writer’s discretion” because the more interesting the storyline,
the more you will probably want to include.
Numbering Systems - Individuals in the 300+ Project
publication will be assigned unique person-by-person identifiers, although
the exact identifiers are still under discussion. Special guidelines will
be issued later.
Living Persons/Privacy Issues - Participants in the 300+
Project publication have a responsibility to protect private information.
Consensus usually calls for omitting
records for living persons unless they give permission.
Supplemental Research - No matter how complete the family
history, there will always be questions. The quality of what is written
depends in large part on the quality of available information. It is up to
the individual writer to decide how much additional research is enough.
Your Contact Editor may be able to suggest further sources of information
and people who can help with research..
Taking Advantage of "Module Zero" Materials - In
addition to the routine things that help shape books, like prefaces and
tables of contents, the 300+ Project publication will contain supplemental
information about Corson family history in general, the CCFHA, the Corson
Cousins newsletter, the Library Program, our Translation Project, and
the recent Corson DNA Project study.
Taking Advantage of Other CCFHA Resources - Over the years
the CCFHA has accumulated considerable resources ranging from library
materials to indexes, bibliographies, and family group sheets. Get in
touch with your Contact Editor for further assistance, the sooner the
Seeking Supplemental Materials - Quite likely you will want
to get hold of further materials to supplement what you already have.
We’re encouraging plenty of pictures, for example. Many records do
exist, but maybe you don't have access to them yourself - call on the Team
to dig them out - start with all the information you do know and let them
How Long Should Your Module Be? - There are no page budgets
or limits so far. The length of your module should depend primarily on
what needs to be said (and said well). That said, we reserve the right to
set page budgets.
Style Sheet - A style sheet will be issued later for your
reference. That’s one nice thing about word processing: The format can
be changed at any time with ease. Printed materials submitted for review
should be double spaced and page numbered consecutively.
As your writing
efforts approach completion, you will want to work with the editors on a
series of “completion milestones” If they aren’t on your milestone
chart by then, you will want to add them:
4-1 Draft Reports - Your written module will probably go
through several draft versions. With word processing you can make frequent
changes and never bother to call them separate drafts. Eventually you will
be ready to submit your work for review (dated and identified with your
name and address, of course). Here is what to expect:
Draft Submittal - Submit a Preliminary
Draft to your Contact Editor when you think you are perhaps 80%
through the writing, all the really major problems have either been solved
or are in the process of being solved. The Contact Editor will return your
work with comments; this is not a final review or edit, but it is the best
time to resolve any questions.
Draft Submittal - The Final
Draft should be submitted to your Contact Editor when your writing is
100% complete and it is accompanied by copies of all the pictures and
other exhibits you want included in the publication.
Review - Every written module
should be reviewed prior to publication by other participants who are
familiar with what is in the module. Peer Review is concerned with
content, quality, and documentation. Reviewers will probably recommend
Editing - One of the editors
will conduct an editorial review that potentially will include
everything necessary to make
your work a good finished “product”. Editors will be looking for good
organization of thoughts and correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
They will check the module against style standards, make sure the module
fits consistently with “surrounding” modules, work with the peer
reviewers to ascertain the adequacy of documentation, and generally look
for any other aspect of the module that may be in need of correction or
4-2 Final Submittal - After the Writer has made all
appropriate changes identified during Peer Review and Editing, the module
will again be submitted to the Contact Editor, together with all necessary
original photographs, documents, and other materials needed for
4-3 Indexing - All good genealogies must be indexed to be
useful, but modern electronic methods should be able to take care of most
of it. We may ask writers for a little help later.
4-4 Then What? - The
300+ Project will be finished when everything from the Writing Phase has
been published. Both the Writing Phase and the Documentation Phase will
end when final submittals have been received for all modules, but
cooperation with follow-on efforts would be helpful.
Staff joins in wishing you Happy Writing!
Associate Editor, Iverne Rinehart
How to Take Part in
the Advisory Council - Anyone interested in the Writing Phase of the 300+ Project,
especially everyone with an active role, is encouraged to participate in
the Advisory Council. To register, all you need is your name and email
to the Google home page http://www.google.com
, click on "Groups". Then click on "New users: Join"
to register and set your own password. Our forum is called the
"Corson 300+ Project Advisory Council". You will receive new
messages as they are posted unless you select one of the other options
available to you.
Using Input Data
Files - Data files created
during the Data Phase are available to module writers and contain a wealth
of valuable and quite usable information. We strongly urge writers to take
advantage of them and the information they contain. It isn’t feasible
for each writer to buy and use all the proprietary software that has been
used, but there are other options. Explore the options with your Contact
- Every fact that ends up in a
family history module had to come from someone, somewhere. Documentation
is simply a record of where the facts came from. We encourage participants
to seek information from many sources. Having found the facts, however,
too often we fail to keep a record of where they can be found again, or
which ones seem most reliable. Research and documentation need to go
hand-in-hand all the way. One way is to keep copies of the sources,
which we encourage.
Publication Phase -
Publication is the final goal of
the 300+ Project and all the materials developed during the Writing Phase.
Many details about publication remain to be decided later when a
Publication Production Manager will help with the decisions and put them
into practice. We hope our progress during the Writing Phase will make it
possible for the Publication Production Manager to be working in 2006 or
- The 300+ Project is a new
beginning, but not the end. The massive effort of catching up on 70 years
of family growth and “lost” families is not likely to be repeated
soon. But times are changing. Once we have captured all of the new 300+
publication in digital form, it becomes a relatively easy task to update a
module and release it for republication on CD. It’s important therefore
to capture as much as we can. It’s not a mandate for writers, but they
will be the best informed and we hope they will care enough to continue
with the Conservation Phase for a little while after the Writing Phase is
Asking for Expense
Reimbursements - Module Writers
and others who are working on the 300+ Project are likely to find
themselves paying for a few things like photocopies, postage, computer
disks, and disk mailers. Some participants may choose to cover the costs
themselves; as a way to help the 300+ Project. Those participants who
prefer to be reimbursed need to follow the procedures provided for expense
Additional Special Guidelines may be issued later as needed.
Assignments for the
Writing Phase must be coordinated in advance with the editorial staff.
A full set of the General
Guidelines will be supplied to each participant.
Site maintained by Michael Corson (CCFHA Member M-297). Please report any errors, comments, or suggestions to
The CCFHA web site originally created by Jeff Owens (CCFHA Member M-260).
This page updated 03 Dec 2011
©Copyrights reserved by Corson / Colson Family History Association.