When I wrote about the future of my storytelling I did not expect that the process would begin so soon. It all started with my habit of making lists! The list I made (doodled really) of what was required to make a podcast was surprisingly short. Although a little out of my comfort zone my family history research had given me the confidence to use the internet to search for answers. Through the necessity of starting a blog I would describe myself as a "non-geeky" geek in that my knowledge of technology is restricted to a "need to know" basis. If I was going to record my family history in a story format then my "need to know" led me to researching the world of podcasting.
Writing Your Family History & Interviewing Tips
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.
Be The Story Teller In Your Family
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. Gilgamesh, the Sumerian epic was recorded on clay tablets in cuneiform script 1,500 years before Homer. Now, I have not read either of these epics but, even without this scholarly exercise, I know that story telling began long before Gilgamesh. Wherever people have lived together there have been stories told.
Finding Hidden Stories In Military Records
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! During WW1 my Great Uncle Arthur Ilson moved around, a lot! Different battalions, different countries & various hospitals. I know all this because somehow, in all the chaos and mayhem that surrounded him, someone kept hand written records that have been saved for me to read 100 years later!
From Military Records To Heritage Scrapbooking
Military historians poor over the records to dissect, analyze and speculate about the places, arsenal and movement of the "troops". When a family historians pours over the same military records they will take on another dimension altogether. The "troops" include your Great-Uncle. The location becomes a place your visit and put your hand on the bark of an old tree. The speculations include the sister who receives payment every month for the efforts of her baby brother. The same military records will become the scaffolding for a story that has been hidden for over 100 years.
A Meaningful Coincidence
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. If you are firmly in the "random" camp you can admit it's odd and move on with out any further engagement. But,what if you don't move on?
Some of you may set an alarm to remind you to get up from your computer, stretch your back and re focus your eyes. But then again you may be like me and only resurface when your bladder, partner, kids or hunger demand attention. I have found podcasts to be the perfect alternative to alarms that go off just when you're on a roll. It also has the added advantage that my research/blog is still making progress while I have my feet up and a cup of coffee in hand!
If the last time you wrote a pen portrait was at school then take a look at my earlier post to refresh your memory! The digital version is not that much different but it does have the added advantage to easily add photos, newspaper articles or copies of letters etc. Pen portraits also make great presents for those "hard to buy for" members of your family.
Last week I posted a photo on Facebook of my mother on a "Charabanc" I was surprised to see the comments & "likes" rolling in so quickly. Experiencing my Mother's history like this had me hooked!. The research began & in the process I learned a little more about her life. The questions I should have asked her have been answered. From start to finish the journey has been a happy one. It seems I have found a formula for writing that works for ancestry blogs. It's time to share!
Genealogy: The Smart Hobby
I'm not sure I have ever had a hobby. I just do things I like to do! I also have a sneaking suspicion that hobbies were invented in order to combat the biblical quote about "idle hands" If a hobby is something we do to just to keep ourselves busy then count me out. It sounds too much like housework! No, a hobby should be enjoyable, enriching and energising!