Researching your family history usually begins with finding names, dates & places. It doesn't take long before you have a list of births & baptisms, deaths & marriages, occupations & residences. The thrill of the chase keeps us searching and our lists grow longer. But who wants to read lists? Now is the time to take those lists and turn them into something else. Something your family will enjoy reading!
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.
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 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, when my ancestry search finds a story in the court news saving them on templates and sharing them with you is going to be quite a different journey!