By Deborah Nowers
When Joe Anderson suggested that our workshop this year should focus on writing, I was delighted. His comment, “after all that research, if you don’t write it up; rest assured your heirs won’t either!” struck home. I am the end of several lines of ancestors who were interested in family history and kept things. I needed a way to share my research and document the things that I had inherited. I also needed to find homes for documents and objects I couldn’t keep. I hoped they would stay in the family.
I took “write it up” broadly. In my presentation at the conference, I described four ways that I had shared what I knew and what I had.
The first was to write a genealogy article. I chose Gramma Withey’s table and the sampler inside that corrected the published Boynton genealogy. The resulting article was published in The Essex Genealogist.
Then I described a collection of photographs, postcards, and documents from Grampy’s Footlocker that depicted my Grandfather’s service with the Post Office during World War I. Because it was almost exactly 100 years after his departure for France, American Ancestors magazine though it would be timely for a fall 2017 issue.
When I emptied my mother’s house, I needed to find homes for ancestral furniture that I couldn’t use. The 1790’s canopy bed delighted my cousin’s granddaughter. It had belonged to her 5th great-grandparents. I decided that a children’s book describing the owners of the bed would help her—and her mother and grandmother—know its history. “Haven’s Bed” was the result.
Finally, my husband and I found thirteen monogrammed coin silver spoons in the cellar of my mother-in-law’s house. When we distributed them to descendants, I included a genealogy sketch that outlined the recipient’s descent from the original owner—with each one’s line highlighted. It was practice writing for me and perhaps sparked an interest in genealogy for those who received it.
And here is the fifth way…share what you know on the MGS Blog. It is less intimidating than articles in a prescribed format. A post can be short. It can be a description of how you solved a problem, or like me, tell a story about your family. Have you discovered a great library or historical society that not enough people know about? Tell us! My goal is to have a posting each week; for that to happen, we need lots of help. Give it a shot. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictures are welcomed.
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