[documents of my great great grandfather, found on ancestry.com]
Hey everyone! A while back, I mentioned some of the genealogy work Connor and I began, and we have continued to make some exciting progress that I wanted to share with you today, as well as some inspiration for our future work which we will eventually compile into a book. Here are some updates:
- We finished Connor’s family tree (and got pretty dang far, so we didn’t feel the need to continue any further) and started mine. We learned that Connor has a TON of ancestors from France, who then migrated to Canada, and many married natives from the Chippewa tribe in Michigan. We have traced his last name back to ancestors in the Tennessee area, but hit a wall, so we are still trying to find its origins. For my family tree, I am primarily German, with some English roots on my mother’s side. I even found out I have a family member who is popular on Wikipedia for his war crimes. Crazy, right? I guess we all have ancestors with good and not-so-good pasts.
- Next, I began interviewing family members. Connor and I decided that for each of our living relatives (mainly parents and grandparents), we would interview them with a varied set of questions. I have only interviewed my dad’s parents, but it was so fun to listen to stories of their childhood as well as adult life. I recorded each person with my phone, and I will make a cd of the recordings that will slip into a pocket in different sections of the book. I think it will be really cool for readers to listen to the cd’s and hear the voices of each person. The questions ranged from holiday experiences, disobedience or pranks they pulled, memorable milestones in life, and much more. I loved watching their eyes light up at certain memories that made them laugh or smile. I think they had fun answering the questions, too! At breakfast, our family would get off topic and start talking about other things, and my grandpa would ask with anticipation, “what is the next question!?” I was happy to see their enthusiasm with the interviews. Unfortunately, yesterday my great grandmother passed away and I was not able to ask her questions, but I know so many people have memories of her that we can share and add to the book for her, as well as other deceased family.
- Taking pictures. After each interview, I have taken a picture of the person which will be placed next to their answers. This was really important to me for two reasons. One, because I don’t have recent pictures of many people, such as my grandparents. Two, because I am a bit of a perfectionist and I have an idea in my head about the pictures all having a similar style and matching, rather than a hodge podge of pictures. Of course, I will most likely include other pictures as well from different life events, however, I want the main profile picture for each person to have some consistency. The inspiration for this came from Pinterest, where I loved the raw and exposed nature of these photographed faces (click here, here, here, and here).
In the coming weeks, I hope to continue working on each of these pieces and gather them completely, so I can begin laying out ideas for the final book. I know this will probably take months to actually compile, but having all the components will be a good start. If you have a genealogy book, what other things do you like to see or include?