A Great Winter Project

stories-familyMany areas across the country or in other nations have a thick blanket of ice and snow during this time of year. To avoid having to get out in such conditions, this is a perfect time to start a really worthwhile project.

Besides gathering the names, dates and basic information on relatives on your family tree, how about taking a different perspective. Write up some of the stories on specific individuals. True, you won’t know a story on each, but just starting with one or two will get you motivated. stories-black-sheep

Some of the approaches could be: uncovered family secrets, discovered family member previously unknown, the most intriguing ancestor, the black sheep of the family, a military veteran, the ancestor who was a mother to all, family tragedies, large families with many children, or those connected to a major historical event. The list is endless. stories-nealfamily1902

The use of verbal family stories can be a good start. An excellent resource are newspaper articles of the times. A relative might only be briefly mentioned but it could be of such interest to warrant a story.

Here is an example:

Located in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, dated October 21, 1862 was a short article of an event that took place in Frederick, MD in Sept. 1862. Just before Confederate Rebels marched through Frederick, the wife of Joseph Groff (her name was Susan), single-handedly gathered up some 90 rifles from citizens in Frederick and hid them in a well until the Confederate soldiers left the town. This was to avoid those weapons being taken by the Confederates. Then Susan turned over the rifles to the U.S. Army in Washington, D.C.  stories-rebel-troops-marching-out-of-frederick

That one event spoke volumes of Susan Groff’s character and her solution to a possible problem. Susan Groff was my 2nd great grandmother.

See what you can locate and then write up as a short story. If you already know of some event, start writing them. Share with family members.

Photos: Writing Family Stories; Black Sheep Ancestors; the large Neal family in 1902; and September 1862-Rebel troops marching out of Frederick, MD.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Find the Family Story – Topics

Small Town Newspapers

Writing a Family Story


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