Writing About Ancestors

All Things Ancestry

Writing about ancestors is, by definition, writing about the past. Difficulties such as information, photographs & understanding social history can, with time & patience be overcome. For me the difficulty lies in accepting that our personal family history will be the stories that future generations will search for. Writing about ancestry begins with the stories we write about ourselves & our own lives!

Before the advent of the printing press oral story telling was the only option for the budding narrator/bard/raconteur or, as we say in Australia….“spinner of yarns” However, long before story telling became entertainment it held a powerful place in our evolution.

Albert Einstein’s quote sounds a lot better than “Rubbish In, Rubbish Out” but the basic premise is the same. As the family historian it is important to record and preserve family memories. It is also important that future generations have access to the whole gamut of stories from the perspective of all those who have memories to share.

Anyone engaged in writing family histories will understand the challenges in uncovering supporting documents. But, the bigger challenge we face, as amateur family historians, is finding the hidden stories behind those “facts”. I can now declare that finding hidden stories in military records is a whole new ball game!

As family historians we can all agree that coincidences happen. Where we may disagree is whether they are meaningful coincidences or meaningless coincidences. Which you choose will depend on whether you believe in cosmic forces, outside the world of pragmatism, or not.

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