Family History Research

Book Review – Bringing Your Family History to Life Through Social History

I came across a great book through Interlibrary Loan last year called Bringing Your Family History to Life Through Social History by Katherine Sturdevant.  This book gave me some wonderful resources and ideas on how to add life to my genealogical writings. If you look up her book on Amazon.com you can see some of the pages in the book.

The chapters include: Social History: Your Ancestor’s World; A Historian’s Approach to Home Sources:Artifacts; Artifacts II: Culture, Citing, and Caring; A Historian’s Approach to Family Photographs; Relative Talk Oral History and Oral Tradition; Recapturing a Dying Art Correspondence; Here Come the Genies: Braving the College Library; My Conclusion is your Beginning: Writing Family History.  This book is no longer being printed and from what I could find online, you can purchase it used for upwards of $70.

Sturdevant has several great lists in her book like The Elements of Social History which is broken out by category then ideas within the category on which to write. She has a listing of Social History Subfields and Sister Subjects to give you more background information and ideas. The back of her book has many forms you can copy and use in your research and writing.

This book is just amazing and I plan to borrow it from Interlibrary Loan again soon. Take some time to check it out online and then get a copy yourself. You will not regret it.

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Are you recording your current family history?

If you read my Chicago Family History blog, you will have seen this posted there today. I felt it was important enough to post here as it does pertain to research.

As I continue to not only look backwards and record the history of my ancestors, I also try to stay in the present time and record my family’s history as it is happening.  This is a photo of my husband, an almost eight year Testicular Cancer Survivor walking the Survivor Lap at our local Relay For Life in June 11, with one of our twins.

Brian began his battle with cancer September 2002 when our oldest child was just a year and a half old. He fought through two surgeries and chemo and began recovery mid-January 2003. In 2004 we began the long, emotional, horrible process of IVF to try to give our son a sibling. After a lot of heartache, we finally conceived twins just before Christmas 2004. Brian had another surgery to remove a spot on his lung in April 2005 and in August our twins were born.

While this is the very brief story of Brian’s cancer and our IVF experience, the entire thing is documented in scrapbooks complete with photos of Brian going through cancer, going bald, recovering, his story as a survivor written out in the book, mine as a caregiver written out in the book, ultrasounds of babies we conceived during IVF that we later lost, the entire story I wrote going through it, and finally our twins.

Life isn’t always pretty, happy, and clean. It gets nasty, messy, and very emotional. I think it is important to not only document those happy times in life, but also the ones that really test us. These are the stories that give our life more color and will illustrate for our descendants the kind of person we were and the life we lived.

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