Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year - A Great Time to Start a New Project!!

Jan 1st 2014 - Happy New Year.  What a great time to start to write your story, or the story of a family member or someone you know.  Let's just do it!!!!

Getting started is always a challenge – and I have some suggestion that will help you get going.

Some things to start with:

1.    Get a folder (a simple plastic or manila folder is ok to start with) – though as your journey continues you will probably find a plastic storage box is best. 

2.    Collect photographs.  It maybe that you have to expand your search to other family members to get a great collection.   You need to choose around 20 good ones, but remember, (a) you can post them all on a free blogsite after the story is written and (b) you may need to check copyright on some photos if you wish to use them.

3.    Collect letters – while not many people write letters these day, thre may still be some that have been “saved” by family members

4.    Items of interest – artworks, sewing, etc.

5.    Documents – copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, school reports etc.

When writing about my mother, I have most of the letters she wrote to me over a 50 year period, though most have very little of great interest.  At least I have her handwriting and often details of family events.  Sadly my mother did not always date them, and I didn’t either when I received them, so they are a “mish mash” but still of value.

There are few photographs of my mother when she was very young – 100 years ago there were not many cameras around, so photos are rare.

I am lucky that my mother was an artist and I have saved all of the china painting that she gave me, and some I retrieved after my father passed away, as well as one of her landscapes.  I also have some of the certificates from competitions for floral art and cake decorating.

Also I am fortunate that she started to write her own story some 30 years ago and for a while we both worked on it together. 

It is also worth writing to people who knew the subject of your story. In my mother’s case, she has outlived all her siblings, however, many of my cousins have information that might be helpful.   In fact shortly I will be writing to them seeking information.  I have a plan which I will share in a future post.

My mother - Ida Joyce Watson (nee Ragless) - photo taken around 1942.


Aunt Em said...

Thank you Di - for raising some lovely memories for me. My dear old Mum passed away recently and she had spent many years researching the family trees of which she was a branch. During her final years she wrote her own story and I had the pleasure of editing it for her. She gave my four siblings and I a copy each for Christmas 2012. It was wonderful to see the stories, anecdotes and the photos of her life before we were around and then her view on our growing up years. It is important that the stories are given to safe hands for the future isn't it?

Di Hill said...

Thanks for dropping by, Aunt Em. My Mum's story is not finished - in part because she is still alive. The last chapters will include the "fantasy" life she has developed with her dementia. Funny stories.