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Writing Workshop Series Session 4: Ancestors and Family Stories

June 13 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm CDT

We are so excited to offer a special workshop series at the Washington County Heritage Center featuring experienced writers to guide you to creating a fun and meaningful piece of writing! 

>>>Register here<<<

Session 1: Thursday, May 23 @ 7-8:30pm
Introduction and Personal History
Workshop Leaders: Gary Goodman, Emily Krawczewski

Session 2: Thursday, May 30 @ 7-8:30pm
Childhood Memories
Workshop leaders: Frank White

Session 3: Thursday, June 6 @ 7-8:30pm
Hometown Stories
Workshop leaders: Justin Brink, Meg Heaton, Eleanor Wilhelmi

Session 4: Thursday, June 13 @ 7-8:30pm
Ancestors and Family Stories
Workshop Leaders: Justin Brink, Bill McGrath, Gloria VanDemmeltraadt

Bonus: Saturday, June 22, late afternoon or evening (TBD)
A celebration of the workshop participants’ hard work and provide them with the opportunity to read a portion of their writing, share an outline for a future project, or anything else they’d like to share that they created during the series. Details to come!


Outline for Each Session

7-7:15pm: Workshop leader introductions

7:15-7:30pm: Discuss recommended reading (if applicable)

7:30-7:50pm: Individual writing time

7:50-8:15pm: Break into small groups for feedback and sharing

8:15-8:30pm: Group share/wrap up

We are planning to cap the series at 20 participants.

Series Pricing

$125/person for non-WCHS members for full workshop series

$100/person for WCHS members for full workshop series

Participants will need to sign up for all four sessions in the series. No exceptions.

WCHS will provide pens, pencils, notebooks, and enthusiasm!


June 13 Workshop Session

The topic for this workshop session will focus on stories about your hometown and other important places in your life.

Meet your workshop leaders for June 13: 

Justin Brink

Justin Brink

I am a lifelong resident of Forest Lake and have been studying its history for over 30 years. I run the Forest Lake Historical Society and recently wrote a pictorial book for the historical Images of America series in 2023. As a genealogist for over 30 years, I specialize in Minnesota research. I am a Registered Nurse by profession. 


Bill McGrath

Bill McGrath


Bill McGrath lived in Stillwater from 1952 until 1966, and has retained strong ties with the town. He has worked as newspaper reporter, author of car repair manuals, small business owner, grave-digger and musician. Since 1978, he’s been in Northfield, where he now lives with his wife Janet. His grandfather, James E. McGrath, is considered one of Minnesota’s last lumber barons, and Bill grew up in the McGrath mansion although by then the money was gone. “Stillwater was a magical place to grow up,” says Bill, and he can tell stories about the Catholic parishes of both St. Michael and St. Mary, along with paper routes, garage bands, the downtown, neighborhood grocery stores, his first date, skating rinks and of course the St. Croix River.


Gloria VanDemmeltraadt

Gloria VanDemmeltraadt

Gloria VanDemmeltraadt’s passion is helping people capture their memories, and she has worked with more than a hundred Hospice patients and others to document their lives. She teaches classes on life story writing and has written a booklet to document the process. Gloria is the author of 4 published nonfiction books, including Memories of Lake Elmo, the history of a small town. She has recently entered the fiction world and her Deep Lake Cozy Mystery series is award winning.

Contact Gloria through her website:


Washington County Heritage Center
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Washington County Heritage Center
1862 South Greeley St
Stillwater, MN 55082 United States
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