A few weeks ago, I gave a presentation at a local public library about “Sharing the Stories of your Ancestors.” I collected and sampled some great ways to uncover and share your family stories, so I’d like to share a summary of my presentation with you!
Perhaps you have already done some genealogy research. Perhaps you have some great family photos and heirlooms sitting in the back of your closet. Perhaps you have some cherished childhood memories, or stories passed down from your parents or grandparents. And perhaps you are passionate about genealogy, but your family is not as interested in hearing the old stories.
You likely have some family stories or photos that you are eager to share with others, but with so many options available, you may not know where to begin. This post series will be a basic introduction to help you get started sharing these stories. I’ll share tips for sharing the stories that you already have, uncovering hidden stories in your research, describe some basic storytelling elements to help you share the stories effectively, and talk about some of the various platforms for sharing your family stories. The options are endless, and include writing and oral histories, using photo and video, using social media, and more.
I recently had the opportunity to record the story of my grandmother in WWII for a storytelling class. It tells the story of how my Nana, Mildred Kaiser, joined the WAVES and served in the Navy during WWII. It follows the timeline of that part of her life. Click here or click the video below to view the digital story!
Thank you to Prof. Kate McDowell and my UIUC Storytelling classmates who inspired me to share this story in a new way! I had previously written about her time in the WAVES in a three-part series.
Personal interviews with Mildred (Kaiser) Drake by EvaAnne Weil and Emily (Drake) Weil, 1998-2015.
Photos from private collection, Mildred (Kaiser) Drake’s WAVES photo album, 1944-1946.
I rely on census records to tell me a lot about my ancestors, and to see a snapshot of their households in particular points in time. I also try to browse their neighbors to see who they lived near, who they could have known, and who they may have done business with. I’ve found some valuable information and a few remarkable coincidences this way!
At the recent ALA library conference, I learned the basics of GIS from a Map and Geospatial information Librarian from the University of Minnesota. I was so excited to try it out for myself, using some historic maps related to my family’s history! I tested it out by making this composite map of DeKalb County. All of the maps that I used to create this map were from the 1929 Atlas and plat book of De Kalb County, Illinois : compiled from surveys and the public records of De Kalb County, Illinois, digitized by the Library of Congress. (See the whole atlas here!) Continue reading “Snapshot of 1929 DeKalb County”→