Thursday, 28 February 2013

Family History Writing Challenge 2013: The End

The month of February was taken up by the Family History Writing Challenge, set by Lynn Palermo, the Armchair Genealogist.  Genealogists - who often concentrate on research to the exclusion of all else - are encouraged to draw their research together and make it into a book.

Last year, when I participated, I learned about honesty when it took nearly the entire month to secure the copyright for the picture I wanted to use as my cover art.

This year, I learned that my chosen subject might be a little daunting for a first-time family history writer.  At least, it felt that way, but it took Lynn to actually spell it out for me to realise why I felt so blocked.  So I changed my focus from a family line which stretched back into the mid-1600s to concentrating on my four grandparents; they might now all be deceased, but all of whom I had known, all of whom I had photos of, and all of whom I had spoken to.

Yet I still found it difficult to sit down and write.  I have managed it beautifully during the months of November for the past few years, when I have taken part in the 50,000 word fiction-writing challenge of NaNoWriMo - but when it came to writing about people who actually existed and events which actually happened, I was stuck from Day One.  I also needed someone else to give me a word-count target rather than me, so that I felt the necessary impetus.

Maybe next year I will actually sit down and write...

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Way Back Wednesday: Emanuel BEERE and Ursula TWIGGES

Emanuel and Ursula lived in the small town of Modbury in South Devon, England.  As I have only just discovered them, I don't know much about them, but I do know that they had the following children baptised:
Jane christened 15 January 1611, Rabage (female) christened 2 January 1617, and George christened 28 December 1618.  I descend via George.

Thomas MacEntee's recommendation of Evernote came into play this weekend.  I had clipped a particular website, so I could find it again – and some kind soul had transcribed the baptismal registers back to 1602, including Emanuel, Ursula and their descendants.  I could have cheered (but I restrained myself to doing the Genealogist's Happy Dance around my front room).  Back and back and back I went, gathering names and dates of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers – and I am sure relationships exist that mean there were cousins and uncles and aunties there as well.

And yes: the URL for this site has gone into my Research Toolbox – another Thomas MacEntee suggestion...

Modbury St George, by Charlotte Stackhouse
(Further information is held at the Modbury Heritage website)

MODBURY is a small ancient market town, consisting chiefly of four streets, diverging to the cardinal points, and pleasantly situated at the foot and on the sides of three acclivities, in the heart of a fertile district, 12 miles E. by S. of Plymouth, . . . Its parish contains 5977 acres of land, extending westward to the navigable river Erme, and including 143A. of woodland, 181A. of orchards, 144A. of waste, and 85A. of common. Its population amounted in 1801 to 1813 souls, and in 1831 to 2116, but in 1841 they had decreased to 2048. . . . The woollen manufacture was formerly carried on here extensively, but here is now only one small serge factory. The town consists chiefly of small old houses, but is highly salubrious, . . . The parish has many scattered farm-houses and five corn mills; and the small hamlets of Caton, Leigh, Brownston, Penquit, and part of Ludbrook. . . . Modbury Church (St. George,) is a spacious and handsome structure, with a tower, containing six bells, and crowned by a spire, rising to a height of about 134 feet. . . . The vicarage . . . is in the patronage of the Masters and Fellows of Eton College, and incumbency of the Rev. N. Oxenham, M.A. . . . "
[Devonshire Directory, William White, 1850]

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Family History Writing Challenge: Day 3: A Fresh Start

Day 3 of this Challenge, and a reply to my forum query has produced startling results.  There were plenty of helpful suggestions on writing about ancestors who existed in living memory, such as your grandparents etc.  But I was frustrated! because the earliest of 'my' ancestors I would be writing about was born in 1687, and the 'youngest' or latest was born in 1844 - and I certainly didn't remember them, nor could I interview relatives who knew them.

So once again, my dreams of finishing 'Faith and Silk' seemed more like obstacles.  Until at last somebody suggested that I might not like to write something so full of guesswork and speculation at first.  That somebody was Lynn Palermo, the Armchair Genealogist who has initiated this Challenge.  Why didn't I think of that before? why did I beat myself up year after year for not having finished a project which was too difficult for me?  'Faith and Silk' will still happen - just not yet.  Let me get a little more comfortable writing family histories first.

William Hubert Ball
Edmund George Haywood
So I have started a new project.  'The Big Four' is going to be about my four grandparents: William Hubert BALL, Minda Mary EDGCOMBE, Edmund George HAYWOOD, and Elsie Beatrice BLAGDON.  Some of them I knew better than others - but I knew them all.  Although they are all deceased, they lived in recent enough times that there are photos of them, and events they lived through (like World War One) which have a plethora of things written about them which I can research, if I can't remember.
Minda Mary Edgcombe

Elsie Beatrice Blagdon

Already I feel much more relaxed about this Challenge.  More keen and eager to get started, more enthused about trying, more likely to progress.

Scrivener, here I come!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Family History Writing Challenge: Day 1

Today is the first day of the Family History Writing Challenge 2013, hosted by Armchair Genealogist Lynn Palermo.  She has got this Challenge going and there are over 600 participants this year (and it's free).  It's not a competition, nor are there prizes - the competition is with yourself (are you actually going to get a move on this year?) and the prize is That Family History you've always been meaning to put together...

From her 'Welcome' page, there is this:

"The Family History Writing Challenge is an opportunity for all genealogists, to set some valuable time aside for the next 2[8] days and commit to writing their family history stories. No more excuses. There are so many benefits to writing your family history."

By kind permission of Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives
Family histories can take many forms: blogs, memoirs, narratives, your research journey and so on.  Last year (2012) I determined that I was going to write and tidy up the family history book I had been writing for so long that even the cobwebs had cobwebs and the dust on it had dust!  I managed two chapters of it last year and paid for the copyright permission from Tower Hamlets to use one of their archive photos for my cover art.  Then, I sat back, ready to begin writing 'Faith and Silk' (it's a book about one of my paternal lines who were silk weavers and Protestant Dissenters) - and then I realised it was the end of February already!

So this year, I have loaded 'Faith and Silk' into Scrivener and separated it out into chapters.  It's looking quite good, if I say so myself!  Now I just have to write...

Remember! you can't edit if you don't have the words down there to work with...


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