The No Story Too Small blog has been offering plenty of fantastic writing prompts for family historians and genealogists to use in their blogs. If you did all the themes they suggested, you would end up writing about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. One of the themes for November is “Frightening”.
The themes are considered to be suggestions. You are free to swap one out for a different theme that is a better fit for your blog (or your family). The main idea is to use each theme to focus on one specific ancestor. However, it is also acceptable to write about your research that led you to learn something about your family.
Have you taken a direct-to-consumer DNA test? Sending out a sample of your saliva, to be analyzed in a lab, can be frightening. Write about the emotions (or anxiety) you felt while waiting for your results. Some people have concerns about how their DNA will be used by the company they gave the sample to. That would make an interesting, scary, blog all by itself!
Sometimes, DNA tests reveal the skeletons that have been hidden in the collective family closet for years. It is possible that the test will reveal that you were adopted by your parents (and that you are not their biological child after all).
Once in a while, a DNA test shows that a person’s sister was actually their mother, and that the woman they believed was their mother was really their grandmother. There have been instances where a DNA test reveals a half-sibling that was previously unknown to the person who took the DNA test.
These types of discoveries can be very frightening and unexpected. It can be shocking to learn something about your family that contradicts what you have been taught. Be careful about how you share these types of stories, so as not to offend other members of your family.
Did one of your ancestors have a frightening job? Maybe the person was a police officer, a firefighter, or was in the military. Share a story about something that ancestor encountered while working which was a frightening experience for him or her. Another option (for some genealogists) is to write about their ancestor who was a tightrope walker, or race car driver, or sword swallower. There must be at least one or two interesting stories about that person’s job!
Another way to use the “frightening” theme is to select an ancestor who survived a terrifying experience. Are you related to a person who survived the Titanic? This theme is a perfect one to use in order to tell that story.
Other options include the stories of ancestors or relatives who survived the Holocaust, Pearl Harbor, or 9/11. Be gentle when asking relatives questions about these type of experiences. They might not be ready to tell you that story yet.
Image by Jeremiah Green on Flickr.
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