A week or so ago my friend and personal historian colleague, Linda Shay, reached out to me and told me about the World Blog Tour. Be sure and check out her blog Saving History. The World Blog Tour is a wonderful concept of paying it forward…21st century style. Essentially, it’s a chain letter for blogs. (Chain letters sure have evolved since 1891 when the first chain letter was sent!) Here’s the concept: Someone invites you to join in, you invite someone else to join in (and pay it forward), you invite someone (paying it forward), and so on. And it all kicks off with a simple blog post.
In keeping with the World Blog Tour, I need to answer some questions. Soooo, let’s get this show on the road…
What am I currently working on?I’m working on several projects, but the one I’m most passionate about is one which raises awareness of the importance of personal history preservation. Association of Personal Historians NYC chapter Coordinator, Martie McNabb of Memories out of the Box, has designed and regularly hosts community events called “Show & Tell.” Endorsed by the Association of Personal Historians, these events are now taking place around the globe. (The events I host take place once a month in Commack on Long Island.) The title speaks for itself… “Show & Tell”…yep, just like in second grade, except this time it’s for grown-ups. Everyone is welcomed to bring an item of personal significance, and “show” and “tell” about it. I’m especially passionate about this project because it brings people together, learning about each other through our stories. Stories of a ticket stub from a concert a “teller” attended just last weekend, or stories of a $2 bill another “teller’s” grandfather gave him when the “teller” was a tyke, making him promise never to spend it, assuring he’d always have $2 in his pocket.
How Does My Work Differ From Others Of This Genre?I spent 32 years as a court reporting agency owner, taking the spoken word and transposing it into written transcript form, without compromising the essence of individual conveying the story. Attorneys are rehearsed and specific with their questioning of a witness. Witnesses are sometimes nervous and typically completely unrehearsed. It’s an interesting dynamic. BUT, a dynamic which has translated seamlessly to the field of personal history preservation. I often equate my role as personal historian to that of an attorney during a deposition -- rehearsed with a list of questions, those questions to be answered by an unrehearsed witness, who is always passionate, often emotional, recounting an event from their life. The family stories I help preserve come from individuals who are unrehearsed, always passionate, often emotional, having witnessed history firsthand. It’s a remarkably-similar process. My former life as a court reporting agency owner gives me a unique vantage point in my role as personal historian.
Why Do I Write What I Write?I hope to help individuals (and their descendants) understand why they do what they do and say what they say, by learning of the triumphs and challenges their ancestors faced, using that knowledge to move productively forward through life.
How Does My Writing Process Work?For my blog writing, I sit down and…write. That’s it, really. I don’t give it much thought. What’s on my brain comes out on my fingers, and words somehow appear on my screen. It’s my hope that those who read my blog come away feeling good, better understanding their place in this world, and knowing their descendants are relying on them to be the best person possible. We should all be proud of where we came from. I’m doing my best for my descendants, so that they can be proud…of me…of themselves.
A quick “shout-out” to some old friends and new discoveries.
Purely Simple Words - Another colleague, Georgia Piazza, writes a wonderful blog, Purely Simple Words… What you will find on her blog are interviews of fascinating people who have secrets to share. You will learn secrets to success and living your dream. It’s a great study of different paths people have taken on their way to living a successful, fulfilled life.
Food Stories Blog - Another favorite. It’s our stories of…food. (I’m an Italian girl. I have all my grandmothers’ recipes lovingly preserved in cookbooks, together with dinner table stories. And lucky me, my maternal grandfather was a chef. So I have his handwrittten cookbook from 1947.) Check out this blog for scrumptious recipes. Be sure and preserve your own recipes and the stories that go along with them, or use some of the recipes found on this delectable blog and start your own traditions, with stories to be told for generations.
GeneaBloggers - I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this outstanding (and personal all-time favorite) blog site. It’s the ultimate site for your genealogy blog – an online community created by Thomas MacEntee. A compilation of outstanding blogs written by those passionate about genealogy and personal history preservation. There is something for everyone here.
So in closing, please check out the blogs I mentioned. Hopefully they’ll inspire you to start building your own personal history archive.
Remember: Don’t let your family history be a mystery. (Your descendants will want to know.)