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!
If photographs are anything to go by, life in the East End of London for my parents did not include holidays. It seems that hop picking and bus trips were a more frugal substitute. On the back of one of the photos Mum had written, "On a charrabank" I had no idea what she meant......but I do now!
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!
Writing stories about our family history is not the same as writing a novel. Our characters already have their place in history. Their life events have already been written. If we don't want our ancestors relegated to column of numbers we have to ignore that persistent voice in our head that whispers, "You're not a writer, you have writers block, stick to the records!
My last post started with brainstorming ideas for ways to record family histories (link) that didn't include lots of writing. Scrap booking seemed to hold the most promise & flexibility. I should confess at the outset that my one and only attempt involved cutting & pasting pictures of Elvis Presley! The result wasn't pretty but I guess it reflected the effort I gave it! This time I will remember that “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ...
A cup of coffee with a friend was the motivation for this post. It seemed that her dormant interest in family history was being stirred by my blog. However, she felt that her perceived lack of writing skills was holding her back. This post is for Maggie and anyone else who finds the idea of "writing" a family history just too daunting.
With any family history research there will be times when the only records you have are a list of dates, names and places. Hardly the material need for a story that will encourage your family to feel connected with. The sort of connection that Theophilus Adcock provided! Without records we must fall back on what we do know. Oral stories, photographs, intuition & assumptions all have their place in a writers imagination. Trust yourself and write from your heart.
It has become obvious to me that searching for 4th cousins twice removed to add to my ancestry tree is not my forte! They all seem so distant & I struggle to feel connected. Until I find a story that is! Then the connection is made. However, when I wrote "Filling In the Gaps" & a "Love Letter For Jimmy" my memories were my starting point. Now, finding the stories, saving them on templates and sharing them with you is going to be quite a different journey!