The No Story Too Small blog has come up with a series of writing prompts for family historians. If you did each and every one of them, you will end up blogging about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. It is also entirely possible to pick and choose which themes you want to cover, or to substitute your own themes instead.
One of the optional themes for September is “Unusual”. This theme gives genealogists a lot of space to explore. You are allowed to interpret this theme (and the rest) however you choose.
A simple way to cover this theme is to write about the ancestor who had the most unusual name. There must be a story that explains why he or she was given such a strange and unique name. Was the name one that “runs in the family”? Is the name one that seems normal outside of the United States but sounds odd to American ears? How did your ancestor cope with having an unusual name?
Pick and ancestor who had an unusual profession. Did one of your female ancestors disguise herself as a man (or boy) so she could fight in the Civil War? Maybe you have an ancestor who literally ran off to join the circus. You might have a relative who became a professional clown.
It has been said that within every family tree there are a few nuts. In general, this isn’t a reference to mental illness. Instead, it describes the ancestors who were remarkably different from the rest of the family in an obvious and noteworthy way. These are the ancestors who set aside the rules and follow their own path through life.
You could write about an ancestor who was the very first to do something. That person could have been the first to discover something. Maybe one of your ancestors has had something named after him or her – like a star, a fish, or a disease. Tell the story about how that happened. One of your ancestors could have been the first woman to work in a profession that previously consisted of only men. That would make her life pretty usual, especially when compared to her peers.
Does your family have an unusual (but harmless) genetic trait? For example, it’s possible you have an ancestor with one blue eye and one brown eye (like David Bowie). That’s quite an unusual combination of genetics! Some families have individuals who are polydactyl. That means there are people in the family who have six fingers, or six toes, instead of the usual five. It’s not unheard of for cats to be polydactyl – but it is rare in humans!
Image by simpleinsomnia on Flickr.
Related Articles at FamilyTree.com:< Return To Blog