Since starting my own research back in 1985, several questions continually crossed my mind: How do I record it, and will it make sense? Back then, there was no Internet...Imagine that! But eventually, I started to use Family Tree Maker software. But that just records dates/places/names and stores photos.
What I always looked for was more substance, or depth to my ancestors. To understand how they lived.
So, after several decades of collecting "data", I also tried to understand how/where they lived & worked.
I quickly realised that you couldn't write all this stuff down, that would make any sense to anybody else, just too many lines/connections etc.
So what do you do, when you have an elephant in front of you for dinner? The answer:
One bite at a time.....
Same with the Family Tree. I wrote a short story about a miner in Monkwearmouth in 1912/14, who would pass the time with the local Bobby. The miner "adopted" my mother in 1918. The Bobby had a son in 1921..my father...think about that for a moment...My grandparents knew each other BEFORE their children were born. And in Monkwearmouth...not Hebburn.
My little letter to one of my sisters was a "hit"...and all of my siblings wanted more...and cousins & nephews/neices...
So I constructed a series of short stories, each telling small bits of family stories, accompanied with photos etc.
I ended up writing about 12 short stories, PRINTED on paper & posted to the various family members.
NOTE here: I have bits of paper (the oldest being 104 years old) that last, if looked after. Digitally? how long does this last? We imagine forever, but the digital world has only been around for about 30 years..... My PC totally crashed last year (and stupidly, I hadn't backed up those letter) so the digital version is now LOST....however, there are 12 printed versions out there, hopefully tucked away, to be passed on to younger generations.
So, rather than trying to eat a whole elephant, try one bite at a time....
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