Telling the Family Story

It does not have to be a massive job to put together an interesting collection of family stories. The key is to start!

First, start the work on your storytelling in smaller chunks will make your project seem more manageable. If you can, set aside a few minutes a day or once a week to write, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day – just keep at it. Make the chunks into time periods or topics. Examples include Birth to age 5, from age 5 to age 13, etc. For topics, it can be early childhood with your parents, schooling, being a teenager, and young adulthood.

Getting it down can take different forms. Handwritten out on paper is one way (best to use a notebook to keep the sheets together). The typing on a computer to make it in digital format is great. But you could use the recorder on your laptop or smartphone, to just tell the story.

For yourself and a relative you are writing about, do cover the major highlights in their life Include the emotional ups and downs. What eras did the ancestor live through?

The best part is to write about the various personalities and eccentricities to some of your ancestors. True, you won’t know all, but even a couple done adds favor. Did someone talk a certain way? Did they always wear something particular? Or maybe they liked a certain food? It’s all in the details. Little quirks can make all the difference. Got an evil stepmother or a tough old grandfather, include them.

A good reminder is that as long as exposing family secrets doesn’t hurt any living person, it makes for a great read. They may difficult to write about, but they’re real. Life isn’t always easy, and it’s OK to say that. We’re all human, and everyone can relate to that. Sure, it brings your story to life in a less than rosy way, but don’t forget that some of the best and most revered works in history have been tragedies.

Include those ancestors who did more unusual events such as those who played the popular baseball sport.

Photos: Mary Maverick and children of Texas and their frontier life; Albert Fish in 1903 mugshot; and William ‘Dummy’ Hoy—baseball player.

Related Blogs:

Life Stories

Favorite Family Stories

Stimulate for Writing

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