Driving up Ceylon LaneWelcome!  and perhaps, welcome  back!  This family history blog was formerly known as d kays days, a play on my initials DKS.  What can I say?  I got tired of that name, uninspired  by its rhyme, and so I am starting fresh this summer; a new name, a new theme – Shoots, Roots, and Leaves, powered by HUM, a WordPress theme.  Beginning June 22, 2013, the the new domain name will be shootsrootsandleaves.com, though the old domain dkaysdays.com will continue to link to this blog, at least for a while.  

I hope you will join me as I travel down memory lane, to the towns and homes of the Sayles, Dodson, Strickland, Minor, Bradford, and Roahrig families.

Storytelling Prompts: All Because of Yes

It is no secret that I gather family lore, photographs and documents.  Or that I track down the tendrils of social history that help curl these details into a story.  Perhaps it is less well known that I collect storytelling ideas, methods and media by which ordinary folk turn ordinary objects and facts into extraordinary family stories.

Today’s idea came by way of social media. (Whatever did we do before these sites???)  Watch how the camera pulls the viewer through space, and through time.  Note how the juxtaposition of family portraits and family members sucks you to the heart of the story.  I think this video was meant to be more tribute to family than documentation of family history, but it certainly accomplishes both in a creative, memorable way.  

“Yes to Love” by Isaac Lamb.

From the Kitchen Chair: Genealogy in the Tech Era

My grandmother possessed her gift of writing, a pen, and some paper.  Florette Sayles Strickland also possessed family memories, and using what she had, my grandmother crafted a family history booklet that was then distributed to her children,and photocopied and distributed again to her grandchildren.

That was so pre-PC.

That was so pre-internet.

That was not so long ago.

DSC_1142Last night, from my kitchen chair, I participated in a webinar, arranged and delivered by the Illinois State Genealogical Society. At nine o’clock P.M. EST I sat at my desk, clicked my emailed link, turned up my speakers’ volume, and joined the crowd listening to Harold Henderson’s presentation on The Best Genealogy Present You Can Give Yourself: Citing Your Sources.   I printed out the night’s handouts and scribbled further notes as Harold detailed how I can structure my source information into a well-crafted reference note.  Such citations increase the likelihood that I can find that source again as needed, as well as the credibility of my final story and conclusions.

From my kitchen chair, I can search, write, publish, find like-minded peers, and enhance my research skills.  My grandmother would be astounded!

 

I Accept! the Family History Writing Challenge

You are a family historian; a collector of family lore, data bytes, census records, photographs, and old papers that mean nothing to nobody but you.  At some point, the names become people, and then the people become folks you really want to meet, which is a problem when all that is left is their memory.

Thus starts your journey; an impulsion carries you into a room with a blank screen or an empty page, and you sit and stare. And stare. And stare.  Because when it comes right down to it, as much as you know this person, there is twice as much left to uncover.  The story goes untold a bit longer.

PROCRASTINATION IS THE ASSASSINATION OF MOTIVATION

Those words have been ringing in my ears, almost as loudly as the high pitched hum of my tinnitus  and they are almost as annoying.  But, as the universe is prone to provide, a reading came my way, a blog post by Lynn Palermo of The Armchair Genealogist in which she offered community, companionship, advice, and encouragement to write that family story I have felt too overwhelmed to attempt.  Now I am counting down the days until I confront the blank page and reconstruct the life of my perplexing, aggravating, inspiring great-great-grandfather, Ira Sayles, during the Family History Writing Challenge.

I commit to writing 500 words a day, each day during the month of February.  

I can’t wait to start!  Check out Lynn’s page, and seriously consider if it is not time to confront your blank page.  Eighteen days and counting!!  See you there!

Citizen Archivists: Civil War Widows’ Pensions Digitized

Happily ensconced among yellowed pages, citizen archivists preserve a nation’s stories.  We sort, digitize and conserve family letters and ledgers, photographs and newspapers; we practice in our homes, and in our local genealogical and historical societies.  Those lucky enough to live within the Washington, D.C. metro area can even volunteer their time to projects within the National Archives.  One such project is currently digitizing 1.28 million Civil War Widows’ Pension case files, making these treasured collections available online to millions of fact-hunting family historians.  Ah! Were I close enough to participate!