Hand in Hand – Research and Writing
A Monthly Endeavor
I had wanted to start this in January, but I just didn’t get my act together in time, so we will begin in February. Our Fall 2021 Discussion Group, which was also late, was based on this project. Each week we had a theme or topic and the participant researched that aspect of one of their ancestor’s or extended family member’s life. Using what had been learned from the research, a short (up to 500 words) vignette was written about that family member, including details of the research. The vignette was emailed “Reply All” to all the participants before the assigned day. On the meeting day, we all met via Zoom. I called up each vignette and we discussed it. Some wonderful writing and interesting stories were shared. The group wanted to keep going, but monthly instead of weekly. So, here we are.
We will meet on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Diann Sherwin will send out your Zoom invitations. Just let her know that you want to participate by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t fret if you cannot make it every month; join us when you can, even if you haven’t written anything.
Here are our monthly topics. Remember to pick something that you don’t already know. The point is to research, then write about it.
Feb – a historic event (Where was your ancestor on D-Day? How was your family affected by the stock market crash/the Great Depression? Anybody affected by the Chicago fire, the San Francisco earthquake, the California Gold Rush, the Johnstown flood? Etc.)
Mar – provenance (Tracing the ownership of a valuable [even if only to you] object. Who owned it, when, where, why, how?)
Apr – a church, religious group, or denomination (It could be a building, a small group of people, or a whole denomination that was important to your family member, but you don’t know much about.)
May – family splits/adoptions /blended families (We think of divorce as a fairly recent phenomenon, but family break-ups are not all that new, whether following the legal process or not. If you can’t find one of those, how about an adoption, either into or out of your family, or a household of step- or half-siblings?)
Jun – disease or cause of death (Death certificates can contain some mystifying information. Dig into that medical dictionary and find out what really killed great uncle Elmer.)
Jul – vacations or travel for pleasure (Even in our pre-history, Native Americans went to the beach for the summer. Where might your ancestors have gone, whether for a day’s outing or an extended vacation? It could be to an event [fair, rodeo, etc], a location [Niagra Falls, Atlantic City, etc.], or just a favorite picnic spot. What means of transportation did they use to get there?)
In July, we will decide whether we want to continue.