Not everyone is a writer. Are you shocked to hear this? Well, it’s true. Not everyone is a writer. Some people communicate better through visual means such as photographs, creating collages, building folders of materials, painting, and drawing. So if you are not a writer does this mean you cannot create a family history? No!
This message is to those of us who know they will not write a story but WILL compile research records, notes, photo images, sketches, and various tidbits and data to create a book! Sort Your Story founder Lorel Kapke picked up her drawing pencil after 30 years and sketched a portrait of her grandfather.
He appears to be a “bit aged and not an exact replica”, yet it was her way to reach her grandfather through the ages… to “talk to Walter” or get to know him on another level. Lorel found a way to achieve some intimacy by drawing Walter from a photo.
What can Lorel do with this sketch? She can show it to family members when they get together. Looking at a photograph or sketch may begin a conversation within the family. Lorel may find information on things that are “sort of” accurate and things that are not. It is a good idea to compare notes with family members! You never know what piece of the puzzle you are missing until you do.
Lorel can also write brief tidbits of information about her grandfather and compile them with her sketch to create a larger photo or collage of sorts. She is lucky to have been able to have many conversations with her father who mentioned tidbits about his father via their phone conversations 3000 miles away.
Whether you are a writer or more visual person, everyone has something to contribute to a family history. Talk to family members. Perhaps you will be the illustrator of a family history and someone else will be the writer. Collaborating you may produce an even more incredible history than either of you could have done alone.
© 2013, Sort Your Story, Sonoma, CA
This post was written by Lorel Kapke about her personal research.
Searching in the Census with a Surname; can’t find ‘em but you KNOW they are there!
Searching the census for my great grandfather and family by surname in a small town would prove to be challenging. They are listed in the 1905 State Census and the 1920 Unites States Census. But where were they listed in the 1910 Census? I know they did not move viewing surrounding census records and other documents. Referring back to the (SYS folders) censuses (see attachment) I quickly referred to previous and future censuses for the street names and neighbors who lived nearby. Paging through one or two census pages I found something I never thought existed, a census included “location, relation, personal description, nativity, citizenship, occupation, education, ownership of home, but did not include names at all! Written on the left side of the census page was the following message:
“Sheet made from cards already punched by order of Mr. Hunt- Feb 9 -11, Original sheet lost after cards were punched”.
Fortunately, they did offer enough information to peace the puzzle together.
Don’t let surnames get in the way, if you have your files in order, a simple review of an organized data can guide you through your brick wall!