Chronicle writing

The term chronology is derived from the ancient Greek word chronika or chronos for time and denotes a written work that represents events along a time axis. As a rule, a chronicle tells of historical events, in contrast to a pure reference work or history encyclopedia, thus a prose presentation.


Today there are chronicles in different variants, such as village, club, company or family chronicles, and also in the literature, there are some chronicles, for example, the Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.

However, a chronicle should not be confused with a biography or a memoir.

Instructions and work steps to write a chronicle

All three forms tell of historical events, but a chronicle relies on facts as a rule and less on subjective feelings.

This means that anyone who wants to write a chronicle first collects photos, documents, documents and similar evidence, evaluates them and then combines his research results into a narrated story. Thereby, different aspects are in the foreground of a chronicle.

For example, a club chronicle tells the story of the club, a company chronicle focuses on the company’s history, a village chronicle shows the changes in the village over time, and a family chronicle deals with each family.

However, in order to keep the story alive and tangible and to make the reader a witness, a chronicle describes in most cases the circumstances of the time and the peculiarities of the region. It also provides the reader with needed information, for example by explaining old professions or extinct traditions.

Similar to biographies, however, anecdotes, quotes, conversations, photos or pictures can also be embedded in chronicles.

It’s not that easy to write a chronicle. This is because not only does a lot of information have to be gathered, evaluated, and packaged into a story, but the author also needs to know or learn about the times and prevailing circumstances and habits.

In this sense, it makes sense to divide the writing of a chronicle into individual sections:

A basic and general guide could be divided into four steps, namely planning, research, writing and revision.

In the course of the planning, the rough framework of the chronicle is determined.

This includes clarifying who the chronicle is written about and which target group it should address. In addition, it is determined which chronological sections the chronicle should thematize and which special events existed during this time, which must be mentioned absolutely and give the chronicle the red thread.

The next step is followed by the search.

This consists on the one hand in the gathering of information, for example by procuring documents and photos, viewing documents in archives, conducting interviews and collecting background and additional information.

Especially when it comes to reading ancient scriptures or looking for specific people, it can be very helpful to get tips and advice from experienced genealogists. On the other hand, all information must be evaluated and sorted in the course of the search.

On this basis, it becomes possible to create an outline, which is the skeleton of the chronicle.

In the third step, the author can then write the chronicle by combining his information and research results into a living history based on the structure. Finally, there follows the revision, through which the chronicle receives its finishing touches.

In the course of the revision, the texts will be proofread and any errors corrected. On the other hand, the layout is fine-tuned, for example by inserting pictures or experimenting with different fonts and formatting.

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