Friday, April 15, 2016

"Lost" Relatives & Ancestors

In doing family research and writing the history of our ancestors, we may find some we didn't know existed.  However, the ones I'm referring to as "lost," are those who don't have descendants.  Will anyone  remember them in years to come?  Will anyone share stories about them?  Or will they "drop off the radar" in the years after they've passed away?
As I record memories and family data, I realize several aunts and uncles, two of my mom's cousins and a close family friend played a role in my life, but have no children to record stories about them.  Will they become forgotten or "lost" if I don't collect their information?
I have memorabilia my mom had accumulated.  However, if I don't identify it, no one will know whose it was and what it was for.  My daughter may recall vague stories I may have told her, but nothing significant.
For instance....
*Cousin Ina was a model in New York City in the 1920s.  She later took over her husband's insurance business when he died and successfully earned a living.  Ina took trips to places that fascinated us when she showed pictures and told stories.  She also made up stories about the little elves that lived beside our bubbling brook when all took a dip in the swimming hole.  
*Cousin Ella was a small dignified woman who often spent a week with us in the summer.  She enjoyed walks in the meadows around the farm, looking for wild flowers and listening for birds.
*Auntie (Mother's sister) had a cheerful laugh and was an excellent cook.  I wrote a poem about her, "The Cookie Lady."  After she passed away, I was given the notebook in which she wrote family recipes collected from family members and neighbors.
Do you have family members and ancestors who may fall through the cracks if you don't record your memories of them?  The challenge is to find time to organize the memorabilia.  Then to make copies for family members who are interested.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Memories of Nancy Reagan

Memories of Nancy Reagan... I was a newspaper reporter/photographer when Nancy came to our small town during one of the Presidential campaigns. I have copies of those photos I took as Nancy met with a group of citizens in our town hall. She was so gracious and took time to have her photo taken with various individuals.

One of the employees from our newspaper print room collected autographs.  The older gentleman was delighted when Nancy signed hers for him and let me take a picture of them.  This photo made the front page and was a highlight of Guy's life.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Collaborating With a Sister

Collaborating with my sister on farm memories is proving to be delightful.  She is writing poetry and making sketches as well as paintings of life on the farm as we recall it.

Although we live in different states, we do a great deal of mailing of thoughts, sketches, photos and family history back and forth.  I feel it's important that we compile this information for our families and future generations.

I write about some of this on my blogs, as well as including some of these thoughts in my "Country Kitchen" column for the McKenzie River Reflections newspaper in Oregon.

Currently we're working on:

  • A history booklet of our farm
  • Seasonal memories
  • Poetry and paintings about the family farm
  • People important to our youth on the farm

You need not be writing about a farm, simply about your childhood home or homes, the village where you grew up, the school you attended, friends you remember.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Writing a Family Farm History Booklet

I've developed a farm history booklet for my husband's home where he grew up.  I got the idea from some articles my mother-in-law wrote about life on the farm as the eight boys were growing up.  She wrote them just for memories.  However, a friend suggested she send them to the local newspaper which had a memories section.  The paper published the articles in eight segments.

Her friend Ginny cut the articles out, made photocopies, then put them into a booklet for Mum to give each family for Christmas.  Over the years, all the families except my husband and me (I'm a packrat when it comes to family memorabilia!) had lost or mislaid the booklets.

So I decided to make copies, add a history of the farm given to Mum by former owners,  and include photos of the farm.  I discovered they were very popular among Mum's children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and friends.  So I need to make more in which I'll also include copies of two paintings I've done of the farm.

My Own Childhood Farm

"Why don't you make a booklet of the farm where you grew up?" a distant cousin asked.   "I'd like a copy."

So now I'm digging out from my files my parents' reminiscences (I got them to write down some of their memories before they passed away) and old deeds which record my dad's purchase of the farm and deeds of former owners.   I'll include some articles and poems I've written about the farm, along with photos and the copy of a painting I've done.  My sister also has made sketches of the family farm.

Record Your Memories

Record your memories of growing up on a farm or your current experiences there for children, grandchildren and their descendants.  It's an enjoyable project.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Dislike of Modern Fantasy Books

Perhaps I'm "old-fashioned," but I dislike the modern fantasy books and find them depressing.  Are they contributing to the disrespectful attitudes of many who read them?  Do they lead youngsters and young adults to look at the world with a depressing view?

This isn't to say that books should create a rose-colored and unrealistic view of the world and our lives.  However, so many of the modern fantasy books delve into violence and present jaded characters.

I realize many people will say I'm wrong.  They (adults and young readers) regard these books and series as wonderful.

I read fantasies, or "fairy tales" as we called them, in my youth.  But they didn't seem to have so much violence and depressing outlooks.

I did come across one mother who refuses to let her children read these types of books until they're 14.  What happens when the books are included in class reading in middle school and discussed in class?  What happens when they want to attend movies of these books at a younger age?  They will hear classmates and teachers discussing the books and movies.

Reading the books your youngsters are reading and discussing your "old-fashioned" views of them does help to give them insight into why you may not approve...and give them something to consider.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Combining Book Writing with Scrapbooking

I've had great fun illustrating my picture book about my Uncle William "Buffalo Bill" Mathewson using sketches and scrapbooking techniques.  I wrote the story of his life first, then came up with the illustrations.  Since I'd been teaching scrapbooking and family history research, I decided to incorporate some of these art techniques into the art work of this book.

The book initially was written to share with my family about their ancestor.  Then I was asked to share the story of the life of my ancestor who was known as the first Buffalo Bill in the schools.  So I began drawing pictures to accompany my presentations.  These evolved into illustrations for the book.

The original book contains the scrapbooking additions and has somewhat of a 3-D effect.  This comes through fairly well when I photocopied the book. Since I self-published the book, I was able to be creative and use some unorthodox techniques.

I'm also making postcards of the cover as promotional pieces.

Be creative with the books you write and publish.  It's such fun.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Catching Up with Blog Writing

I have, for some time, been quite inactive with keeping my blogs up to date due to a variety of, family challenges, work other than writing and computer slowdown.  I'm now trying to catch up and to decide which of my blogs and writing projects should take priority.

Which will tie in with other writing projects?
Which will promote my writing projects and books?
Which will be the most enjoyable to write?
Are there any I should delete?

Sometimes we get caught up in writing projects that have little or no direction and, although fun, might be better to put off for awhile.  Concentrate on those that will help you move forward.

Your blogs, too, may be a way of sharing with family and friends without having to write to each one individually.  I'm doing this with my family history musings since many of my family seem interested in their heritage.

Why do you write your blog(s)?