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How to Write a Genealogical Biography

A Genealogical Biography includes vital statistics of the subject person in narrative form. A genealogical entry should be about 100 words. For questions on style contact an editor or see GAMEO's Style Sheet for Authors.

Criteria for a Biography

There are several criteria that warrant the inclusion of an individual’s biography in GAMEO. They include the following:

  1. The individual played a prominent role in a Mennonite/Anabaptist denomination. People in this category include conference leaders and workers, missionaries, teachers in Christian educational institutions, and pastors and church workers who ministered in various congregations or who ministered in significant congregations. Brief biographies can be included for people who had a more limited ministry. To be considered for a biography, the individual must be deceased.
  2. The individual played a prominent role in a predominantly Mennonite/Anabaptist community and were members of a Mennonite/Anabaptist denomination. People in this category include those involved in business, public education, public service, societies, health care, agriculture, the arts, and literature. This category will include individuals who may have been members of a Mennonite/Anabaptist denomination but joined a different denomination later in life or left the church.*
  3. The individual played an important role or had a significant impact in the life of the Mennonite/Anabaptist church, but was not a Mennonite. This would include political leaders and government officials, leaders from other church denominations, scholars and academics, etc. The focus of the article would be on how his or her activities intersected with Mennonites/Anabaptists.
  • Noteworthy individuals who were raised in a Mennonite/Anabaptist home or with a Mennonite/Anabaptist family background but who were not members of a Mennonite/Anabaptist denomination can be mentioned in articles dealing with family names, or articles such as those dealing with literature and politics, and will not have their own biography.

Elements to be considered for a biography

  1. Role in life or occupation (maximum of two)
  2. Birth: date (including day and month) and place (including place name and country)
  3. Parents: names and life-span of both
  4. Baptism: date, place and congregation
  5. Marriage: name of spouse, date and place
  6. Spouse: date and place of birth, names of parents
  7. Children: children include . . .
  8. Citizenship: immigration information if relevant
  9. Places lived
  10. Death: date and place, (interment if available)
  11. Notable contribution to Mennonite life. This would include places and years of service (as pastor in congregation, teacher in schools, etc.)

Structure of the Biography

Not all eleven elements need to be included, since some may not be relevant, and some of the genealogical information may not be available. The intent of the entry is to provide another level of recognition for entries that may be of local significance but do not have full provincial or national application.

The entry will be skeletal, but in sentence form. The first paragraph contains the person’s full name, occupation, birth and baptismal information, and family background.

Spousal information and other elements can be formulated in the order that seems best to the writer. The information relating to death and contribution should be in a separate paragraph at the end.

Genealogical biographies could be accompanied by a photograph, preferably a portrait taken at the prime of the person’s life. All photographs should be credited and dated, and all people in the photograph must be identified by first and last names. If possible, the place the photograph was taken should be given.

If you have questions, please contact any member of the Encyclopedia's Editorial Board.

Example

Pauls, Henry B. (1904-1995)

Henry B. Pauls: farmer and artist; b. 28 September 1904 in Chortitiz, Ukraine to Bernhard (1877-1963) and Helena (Epp) Pauls (1877-1966). On 1 July 1937 in Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan, he married Sara Hildebrandt, b. 9 September 1908 in Einlage, South Russia, the daughter of Cornelius (1856-1919) and Judith (Klassen) Hildebrandt (1876-1942). Both emigrated separately to Saskatchewan, Canada as unmarried adults in the 1920s.

Henry B. Pauls farmed in Sonningdale, Saskatchewan and in Blytheswood, Ontario, and retired to Leamington, Ontario where he died 5 May 1995. Life's work includes over 100 paintings of Mennonite life, as well as many short stories published in A Sunday Afternoon (1991).