It’s all about stories. Yes, there are names, dates and places but the stories are more important, don’t you think? I inherited a family tree from my maternal grandfather. A fine creation it was too (see below). Not only did it have the names of my ancestors but also little annotations of fact (hopefully) about their lives.
When I picked up the family tree, all those years ago, how much of the information had been proven? Frankly, not a lot! The Baynham family carefully documented the births and deaths of their children, so Ada and Emma’s infant deaths were recorded by the family along with all the births of William and Maria’s children. However those, as well as other pencil additions, required documentary evidence to confirm.
Certain parts are true. Certain parts are less true. Certain parts are a variation on the truth. Family myth/legend, shall we say?! In recent months, I have asked Ma & Pa FWL to write down stories they remember about characters in our family history. Why? Because these stories are often not spoken about…. not because we don’t want to talk about them but more so because the stories do not come up in conversation. What happened to Aunt Ruth after her husband ‘went missing’? When did Aunt Olive die? [Don’t worry Ma FWL – I know the answer to that one!]. Each character in the tree has their own story, even if they (like Ada) only lived to just a few days old.
In your family history, how do you record the stories? Do you keep them in your family history software package? In a separate document? How will you pass on those stories to the next generation of your family?
[Source image: Personal family tree of Kirsty Gray. Copyright image, not to be reproduced without prior consent.]