Monthly Archives: November 2006




THE REVIEWS ARE IN! With more than 50 people in attendance, the IWOSC History Detectives panel was a smash! Thank you to Richard Sherer, Ellie Kahn, Laura Blumenthal, Jean Chapman Snow and Teresa Barnett for their experience and openness in sharing what they do.

“Hey everyone – I really enjoyed our evening together! Thanks!! Take care, and happy Thanksgiving!” –Ellie

“Guess Ellie’s an earlybird like me.  All I can say is ditto, ditto, ditto. Delightful evening, and thanks to you both, Debbi and Richard for inviting me.  And Happy Thanksgiving, all.” –Jean

“Hi All: Enjoyed spending the evening with you and learning about what you’re doing. Thanks, Deb, for making this happen and Richard for making it work! Best to all.“– Laura

And if you need a family history, please get in touch with me. Here’s why client Ilene Lawler Ellsworth says:

“Debbi created a book so important to our family that we continue to print additional copies for the youngest generation.”


I am producing this IWOSC event for all of you who want to know more about writing/researching your family history or other historical projects. I have written/edited/produced two family histories and edited the book Abbot Kinney’s Venice of America by Elayne Alexander. Learn about the SCGS, Association of Personal Historians, which I’m joining, and more.  JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS — WHEN YOU’LL BE SPENDING TIME WITH FAMILY!

IWOSC November General Meeting
Monday, November 20
7:30 p.m.
Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City

More Americans (and American companies) than ever are researching their roots, often making surprising discoveries — and sometimes they need the help of a professional writer. Please join IWOSC as a panel of history detectives get together to discuss the methods and marketplace for creating
family and corporate histories. Learn about the methods and marketplace for family and corporate histories from oral historians, writers, and a genealogist who focus on our ancestry.

Moderator Richard Sherer is currently working on a family history book and has another waiting to be written. Sherer’s family since his great grandfather is also intertwined with the history of Los Angeles.

Meet the panelists: 

== Jean Chapman Snow is an accomplished teacher, freelance writer, and the facilitator of Writers’ Group at Southern California Genealogical Society, Burbank whose work has appeared in The Searcher (a publication of Southern California Genealogical Society), the Christian Science Monitor, the Los
Angeles Times, and Heritage Quest, among others.

== Ellie Kahn created Living Legacies in 1988, having worked as a psychotherapist and journalist before beginning to conduct Oral Histories. Because of her expertise as an Oral Historian, she was asked by Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Foundation to interview Holocaust
Survivors for their project. Since 1988, Kahn has conducted hundreds of Oral History interviews, producing family histories for her clients that will last for many generations. Her clients have ranged from the great granddaughter of African-American slaves, to Holocaust survivors, to celebrities and community leaders, to former migrant workers, to ordinary people whose families know
the extraordinary value of their life stories.

Living Legacies projects have included an assignment for the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California, to create an oral history project about the Jewish Community in East Los Angeles during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. This led to Kahn’s production of a documentary film, “Meet Me at
Brooklyn & Soto,” which aired on KCET for 5 years, as well as winning a Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award.

== Teresa Barnett is the head of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.  She has been in oral history for more than twenty years and has conducted interviews with a wide variety of people, including activists, educators, and individuals in the arts.  In addition to administering the
Center for Oral History Research, she conducts numerous oral history workshops and has served as oral history editor of the Public Historian and book review editor of the Oral History Review.

== Laura Blumenthal has been a personal historian since 1993.  She works primarily with older adults who want to pass their family stories on to their children, grandchildren and the generations to come.  Together they create books that include copies of cherished family photos and other memorabilia.  
In addition, since 1995 Blumenthal has conducted more than 50 oral histories for the Brentwood Historical Society.  She is a member of the Association of Personal Historians, the Southwest Oral History Association, and IWOSC.

COST: IWOSC members, free. Non-members welcome, $15.

RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED: Space is strictly limited! Contact or 1-877-WRITE (799-7483) for reservations, directions or information. Reservations will be honored up to ten minutes before the meeting begins.




Yes, you read right. Nanowrimo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s November. It started today. I started today. I may not be writing a novel, but I’m going to write 50,000 words of family stories, focused on my mother. 30 Days as My Mother. It’s starting out rough. I woke up with a sore throat and a cold. My husband called and one of his sons never came home to his mother’s last night. Tree trimmers showed up next door and started dropping branches into my barbeque. So I’m starting, but to say I feel rusty is an understatement. I have books of stories I’ve written, and rewritten, but now I want to write some things I can turn into a good collection, or send out for publication. I’m used to writing articles. That’s what I do. I’ve been doing it for 20 some years. Newspapers. Magazines. Internet. Newsletters. Internal corporate publications. Press releases. Writing a novel seems like a huge task, but writing individual stories is doable. So I’m doing. I plan to write two hours in the morning after yoga. Then get on with the rest of my life. I’m going to cook my mothers recipes, delve into her. Once a beautiful Iowa farm girl, life with my father did not go well and we all paid a tragic price. I know all that. What I hope to find is a bit of the woman, the girl, I never got to know. On to the notebook! If you’re part of NaNoWriMo, drop me a note!