Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Writing Family Genealogy

Ancestors

The Plot ... Spreads?

It's a tenet of writing fiction that our readers must connect and identify with our protagonist. Without a strong interest in what's happening to the hero, we have a ho-hum story at best. Most likely the book found it's way into the recycle bin.

Family genealogists don't have that problem. They love every character they can uncover.

I watched Laurie Voss Barthlow start on Ancestry with her aunts, uncles, cousins, and move on to grandparents, and found a mystery at the great-grandparent level. Family lore had this ancestor as a loner, a stowaway, and finally a farmer. Laurie sifted the story like a prospector painstakingly swirling his pan hoping for a few small grains of gold.

She did it. She uncovered facts that the family never knew and introduced them to a man in which they can have pride.

Along the way, she met Gerri Voss Ward and Ruth Cooper, talented and dedicated pruners of the family tree.

From my perspective, all three ladies would be considered professional genealogists if they delved in anyone's background and had access to the network of resources available to the card-carrying members. Anyone who knows what a second cousin once removed is has got a vibe going on.

Writing a family tree is more than names and dates. Gerri, Ruth, and Laurie bring life, and where possible, faces to forebears: where they lived, what they did, how the relationship is made, where the branches connect to the trunk.

It's a never-ending job. People are very good at making people, and the tree grows. Sooner or later one of them will find proof that my brother is really an alien deserted here by a race from a planet playing a cruel joke on Earth.

Is there someone that loves your family enough to keep track of all of you? Leave a comment.

Blog is published on Wednesdays.

Thank a veteran.

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