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#41 [url]

Feb 8 13 4:28 PM

Louise - I know what you mean. My greatest regret is that I spent many hours with my grandmother in her later years but at the time was not so interested in family history. We talked about nothing important and I am sorry to say that, from the arrogance of youth, I often felt it was a chore. Now that she is gone I wish I had used that time to talk to her about her life, her family, her memories, her interests. She would have loved to talk about those things. 

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#42 [url]

Feb 8 13 7:31 PM

    Janet- At least we can hopefully take advantage of the time we have left with those older than us and learn from our mistakes.  I am grateful that my Dad who is 82 is still here and I pick his brain as much as I can. I also have a baby sister of my grandmothers still alive and this article has prompted me to try and get in touch with her.  I sure hope I can because she could help shed light on my greatgrandmother!


Louise

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#43 [url]

Feb 8 13 8:01 PM

I thought I would be lucky to get 250 words, but by starting with myself and working backwards and remembering my journey, finding 250 words hasn't been that difficult.  I'm not eloquent or descriptive, but I am getting out some information that needs to be set on paper, because it's jogging my memory and I remember something else that I make notations on for a revise.  Yet, I am still behind in days, but can put out 500 words in a blog and beleive I am making up for two days work, but I feel the flow is there and am really enjoying this adventure, I am putting my writings on my blog and see that people have read them, which is exciting to me, I think my life is pretty hohum...Blog:  Uncovering the Dead/blogspot, if you want to give me feedback.

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#44 [url]

Feb 9 13 5:31 AM

The grandparents interviews are a moot point for me, since three of the four died between the time I was 4 and 12 years old. My longest living grandmother had dementia, and lived so far from us that I hadn't been able to spend regular time with her. Families scattered due to work responsibilities.

But the majority of my writing involves my husband's father's family, and they never knew their paternal grandparents because they both died before they were born.

Some of the daily writing prompts are really good,and I am "saving" them for another project. So, I continue working on this memoir. I am at the point now where on my storyboard, the problem has been set up, and I am on the gradual up-turn to the first turning point.

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#45 [url]

Feb 9 13 6:01 AM

Ladies, you hit the nail on the head of why we are so passionate about family history and about writing the stories -opportunity lost. We don't want our children and grand-children to have the same regrets. Unfortunately, like us they won't come to that realization until it's too late. This is why writing the stories you know and your own life stories will save the disappointment we experienced today. Keep that focus in mind when you're having a tough day with your writing. 

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#46 [url]

Feb 9 13 6:23 AM


I have been able to keep up with my daily word quota of 250 words - I've done between 300 and 600, so that feels good. I'm working on a biography of my grandfather. I've been writing out of time order because I've been mostly doing the "easy" sections, where I have more information for. I've been procrastinating about the introduction and the "meatier" sections where I need to talk more about "who" he was and his character. I did try to do the introduction using Lisa Alzo's suggestion from one of the earlier newletters about starting with some keywords that you associate with your ancestor, and expanding. While it did help me come up with a good paragraph on him, it ended up being something that was more suitable for another section on him, not an introduction to him. So, I am still without my introduction.

I am finding the newsletters very helpful. Today's topic - theme - was well-timed for me. I have been trying to think of a theme for my grandfather, and I think it will be "adventure" as he led a very interesting life, working all over the world. 

Another thing that has been talked about a lot, especially using it as a hook to draw the reader in, is conflict. But, I haven't thought of any conflict for my grandfather - he led a pretty good life; as I said, it was quite an interesting life. Sure, my grandparents did divorce in the 1950's (she left him), but I don't really know how he felt about all that - he was never one to share his feelings. I honestly don't think it was too much of a "conflict" for him. It didn't seem like it was too much of an upheaval for him as he stayed in the house, had a good job, the boys went off to boarding school, and I never had the sense that he was that much "in love" with my grandmother....

My grandparents did come back together in the 1970's (he was returning to Canada and she wrote to him and offered for him to come and live with her and her brothers, and she would look after him). They lived together platonically (I think) for half the year for the rest of his life (he went south in the winters), apart from the last few years, when he grew too old to travel south. Although they did live platonically (as far as we know) for 40 years and were officially divorced, they did refer to each other as husband and wife. I know this relationship is something to explore, but he never talked about it, so I really don't know his thoughts; I do know a bit about why my grandmother left from things she said to me. I suppose I should talk to my father and uncle about it too, but these aren't easy things to talk to them about, especially my dad - while we see each other a lot and are very involved in each other's lives, we don't really talk about "issues", if you know what I mean. Anyway, I ramble..... 

All in all, I've been progressing well, but still really need to start working on those "meatier" sections of the biography.

Nicola

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#47 [url]

Feb 9 13 7:12 AM


Debra, I left a comment on your blog.  It's awsome!

Mary, I don't see how you think you're doing just okay.  Actually if you're feeling like you're getting organized for the end result, that is a Big part of the project.  I didn't figure this out until just recently, and I did the challenge last year, and had been writing the stories for a couple of years before that.

Sounds like you're doing really well, in my humble opinion.

Diane, organizing and researching counts!  I like what you say about the guilt thing.  I think we all have this.  I think all writers, even the famous, feel guilty.  I like to think of it as showing that I am a writer.  

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#48 [url]

Feb 9 13 7:13 AM

Nicola, don't be surprised if the introduction doesn't come until the end. Don't fill the need to write in order of his life or even in order of the book. Everyone has conflict in their life, and perhaps it is that you just don't know enough about your grandfather..yet! As for asking those difficult questions, pick away at it slowly. Try starting with small questions for your Dad and Uncle. Get them talking in general about your grandfather and work slowly up to those difficult questions. I would start by asking your Dad what kind of a father he was, and giving some examples in his life that support it. What he thought of his parents relationship. And yes your Dad and Uncle may have two different perspectives. Sometimes families don't talk about issues because no one asks and sometimes they don't see the need, or don't think you're interested.
 
I can relate completely to this, and I have spent the last couple of years, slowly peeling away the secrets in one of my family histories. Slowly I'm getting family members to give me their thoughts and impressions, all very different. It takes time. In the meantime I write what I know and I keep working away on the rest. 

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#49 [url]

Feb 9 13 2:00 PM

Ladies, you hit the nail on the head of why we are so passionate about family history and about writing the stories -opportunity lost. We don't want our children and grand-children to have the same regrets. Unfortunately, like us they won't come to that realization until it's too late. This is why writing the stories you know and your own life stories will save the disappointment we experienced today. Keep that focus in mind when you're having a tough day with your writing. 

-lynn

It's a good point Lynn. I hadn't thought about writing my own story but perhaps I should. I am certainly taking the opportunity to talk more and more to my parents about their memories - and recording them. 

I write a blog post yesterday based on the prompt about the person you regret not talking to: http://findingthefamily.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/take-time/

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#50 [url]

Feb 9 13 4:07 PM


Thank you, Bettyann! I replied to your comment on the post. 

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#51 [url]

Feb 10 13 5:47 AM

I am nearly on target. I found I had a couple of "bad" days but was able to compensate with a couple of very "good" days.
 I have a question, though. My narrative begins with my 2x great grandfather. He, apparently, changed his name. He was born, served in the military, and was baptized as an adult with the name Jacob William Ashley. He immigrated to the U.S. and used the name William Wheeler Ashley. (Wheeler is his mother's maiden name.) So far my writing has him in England and I've been using the name Jacob. My thought is to call him W.W. when I have him here. Will that be confusing to my story?Or should I be calling him William all along?  Another family historian alternately showed his name as Jacob William Wheeler Ashley or William Jacob Wheeler Ashley.
I am open to any thoughts or suggestions.
I am loving this challenge. It is just what I've needed to get this project off the ground!
Candy



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#52 [url]

Feb 10 13 6:46 AM

I'm doing ok.  I wanted to finish the stories of 4 families.  Two are pretty much done, but that's kind of cheating since I have little information on one line.  I'm still struggling between a staying factual and telling the story.

Connie from WV stuck here in Florida

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#55 [url]

Feb 10 13 4:55 PM

I have to say... the challenge is and isn't that. I get lost in finding just that right iota of info to finish a story and, whoops, wonder where the morning (or afternoon or evening) went. Each of my postings, not up to the number it should be, had me double checking my research since one of my postings hinted that one of their ancestors came over on the Mayflower. Yep, gave it to the wrong family. But I'm on another roll and have 3 stories in process, to be posted asap. Thank you, Lynn, for this kick in the proverbial **** and urge us to get words to file, pen to paper, microphone to mouth, blog to Internet, etc. This has been so worth it!

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#56 [url]

Feb 11 13 11:46 AM

I have to tell everyone what I found. I started writing about my grandmother's family coming from Ireland in the 1930's. The Irish revolution and trouble in the period after WW1 until the treaty signing and freedom from England caused a great upheaval in my family and I wanted to write how it affected my grandparents and their families. Well, I was going over some of my notes and moving my grandmother's prayer book when the cover fell off. I was horrified and so upset because she used it at mass every day of her life until she died. I tried to put it back together but found it wasn't really the cover of the prayer book. It was sheets of paper and turned out to be a diary kept by my grandmother during the Irish revolution. My grandfather's family and her brothers were all part of the IRA at the time and she was terrified of what was going to happen to them. My mother was a tiny baby and she was worried about what was going to happen to her. It is an amazing story and she had placed the pages together and made a cover for her prayer book, so no one could find them. There is even a letter from her brother talking about hiding in her attic until my grandfather could get him out of the country! This changes everything for me and I am both amazed and overjoyed. I will now write about my grandmother and her courage and strength during a very trying time for everyone.

Everything is out the window now. It's full speed ahead.

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#57 [url]

Feb 11 13 12:00 PM

WOW! What a find! That diary is gold dust - especially as Irish records can be so tricky.  So excited for you. I can imagine how upset you were and then how joyful with your discovery. 

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#58 [url]

Feb 11 13 12:05 PM


Wow! megthered, awesome find. Pot of gold at the end of a genealogists rainbow.
You have lots to work with now. I look forward to seeing the book in the book stores and watching the story on the big screen. 
Margaret

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#59 [url]

Feb 11 13 1:32 PM

Superb! I have heard it said that sometimes the ancestors help us...you certainly found it at a good time. I'm looking forward to reading your stuff. 

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#60 [url]

Feb 11 13 4:11 PM

I really think it was my grandmother leading me to this. I think she wanted me to know what happened and kept this from us long enough. I hope to tell her story well.

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