If you’re anything like me, you embarked on this genealogy project without an inkling of where it might lead. But then, similar to what happens when you’ve picked up a really good novel to read, you got “hooked”. Although, unlike that mystery novel, genealogy research never seems to end. There’s always one more piece of the puzzle that needs to be fit into place. That one illusive piece! So on you go – searching for more and in the process, you discover more “loose ends”.
And of course, in the process of uncovering your past, learning of those who proceeded you, supplied your genes, shaped your values, you begin to learn more about locations, history, events, time-lines, people, stories, facts, land records, faces, news, directories, probate, etc. than you ever dreamed possible. And while the note pages fill binders and the files fill drawers and you begin to really appreciate who you are and where you come from, two things are likely to occur:
1. You say to yourself “I really need to organize all this “stuff” I’ve collected. Just in case, by the remote chance, that someone might be interested in this vast collection of data; and
2. the reality sets in – will anyone really ever want to take the time in this day and age of instant message, instant rice, audible downloaded book to weed through these files, binders and books to see what I have found out?
I know when my kids read a book the first thing they do is look to the back to see how many pages they’re going to “have” to read and if there are any photos or pictures to break up those dreaded pages of written word. So I fear that, although these findings of mine have been an interesting “project” and I’ve enjoyed the “journey”, it may all end with me. Unless, of course, I am able to find a way to impart the knowledge in a more interesting way than my organized files, charts and binders.
Again if you’re anything like me, you’re always working to undercover more but at the same time toying with the idea of what would be an informative, yet enjoyable format to present what you’ve found. Perhaps you’ve even been encouraged a little, as I was the day my daughter and I were driving through a neighborhood when I said, “Oh, this is where your dad’s Aunt Pomplun lived … they called her the Piccadilly Lady.” To which she responded, “Mom, you know so much about these people, you should write it down.” Really?! How exciting … there is interest. Imagine that!
So I thought about writing a book. I even went so far as to buy a “how to” book as well as outline how each surname might fit into the chapters and flow from one to another and note what the key events might be that would lure the reader into wanting to discover more about the “characters”, my ancestors. Armed with the idea that a book was the way to go, I thought about creating an e-book so as to make the information more accessible to those who like my daughter, I am no less than certain, will eventually want to learn all about our family. But visions of my children and their children counting the pages or looking at the total number of “locations” in an e-book before beginning the first chapter, made me hesitate to begin. Oh, and what if, heaven forbid, I find that illusive piece of the puzzle after the book is complete and then I need to rewrite the chapter .. or the book for that matter. So the search continued to find the most interesting, workable means of presentation.
For years I put off writing even the first page. Procrastinating and assuming that I best wait until I had gathered more information. During this time, I renewed an old hobby, one that I had years ago when my daughter was competing in horseback riding events and my son was in wrestling … the hobby was scrapbooking. It was a great way to be creative and put all that memorabilia into something other than a shoe box or a file drawer. However, one thing about scrapbooking, there’s a lot of material – photos, paper, embellishments, punches, adhesives, and more – If you move around a bit and aren’t willing to tote the supplies with you, it’s difficult to manage. So my hobby eventually evolved into digital scrapbooking.
I think you can see where this is headed. What a perfect combination. An interesting format which can combine not only photos but documents, journaling and other “scraps” into a “book” that can be not only informative but also interesting, even artistic. Once more, if you’re anything like me, it’s the perfect answer to the dilemma of how best to present and to share what you’ve gathered about your families’ history and stories.