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Monthly Writing Prompt

May 2024

Writing prompts are the easiest way to kickstart your storytelling with the side effect of capturing what you know, believe and have discovered about your family.

Give it a shot with this month’s prompt!

Pick any ancestor who emigrated 
and describe what you know
or believe about why they
moved and what the journey
would have been like.


  • Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  • Record yourself speaking or write down everything that pops into your brain.

When the time is up,  you have two options. 

  • finish your thought and stop
  • reset the timer (5 or 10 minutes) if you have a lot more to say

As you write, keep in mind that this is a draft only. Don’t overthink the process; just focus on capturing what you know.

Sentence structure, grammar, content order and spelling aren’t important at this stage. Focus instead on telling yourself the story.

Not sure what your story might look? Here's mine.

Written by Prudence Dwyer

Hannah made a bold choice that would take her half a world away from her native Ireland, her family, and her friends. Was she excited by the opportunity? Eager for warmer weather? Did she have expectations of a better life? Whatever the deciding factor, Hannah Lyons said yes. In 1836, she joined hundreds of other women who would make a new life in the colony of Van Diemen’s Land.

A country girl from County Kerry, Hannah had no experience to prepare her for the voyage ahead. The William Metcalfe set sail on 6 October for a fifteen-week journey to Hobart Town. For most of the passengers, like Hannah, this would be their only major ocean voyage.

There was a doctor on board to treat illness, but the medication was often nothing more than a nip of rum or brandy; his presence wasn’t enough to prevent the death of over a dozen passengers.

Standard ship rations were available to feed those on board. When caught, fresh seafood or a porpoise supplemented the occasional meal. Other fresh food would have been in scarce supply, particularly in the later stage of the journey. Drinking water wouldn’t have been fresh unless they were able to restock during the regular storms.

Over the next three months at sea, the small and uncomfortable spaces would be only a part of the experience. The severe weather began almost immediately, a test for the passengers’ new sea legs. Rough seas and heavy squalls assaulted the ship as it pitched and rocked on the crashing waves. The rainy weather was unpleasant and would have forced the women to seek shelter inside.

Share Your story for a chance to win

the Family History Summary Template For Google Docs Or Microsoft Word

Ready to transform your knowledge into engaging family tales? Dive into the monthly writing prompt series and unleash your storytelling prowess!

Side effects include making progress to preserve your family history legacy.

This month, I invite you to share your family history story to win the fabulous Family History Summary Template for Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Value AU$30.50

Write a story based on the current prompt, complete the form below and share your creative work to enter. It’s that easy! 

Click here to view terms and conditions.

Entry Form

Last Month's Winner

Congratulations to Irene B who submitted the story she wrote about her husband's Grandma Sarah.

Winners are drawn at random so submit your story for a chance to win this month!

Terms and Conditions

  • Participants must be 16 years or older and active subscribers receiving The Creative Family Historian marketing emails.
  • Entries must be submitted via this form. Entries received any other way are invalid.
  • By entering this promotion, you are granting The Creative Family Historian permission to use your entry for marketing purposes or as an example in future Monthly Writing Prompt promotions. You will be recognised and credited as the author.
  • The winner will be selected at random on 1 June 2024 at 9 am AEST. 
  • The winner will be notified by email on the day of the drawing, published on our social channels the next day, and announced in the TCFH Weekly Update Newsletter the following week.
  • The winner has 7 days to respond to claim the prize.
  • Prizes will be distributed within 5 business days after being claimed, and all required information will be supplied by the winner. 
  • Participants may only register once per month for this promotion.