Saturday, May 12, 2018

Have you worked some place special? 

If you have ever worked in a memorable or historical place, have you recorded things about where you work and the kind of work you did?  Have you had an ancestor that has worked in some place special?  What kind of work did they do?  Even ordinary workplaces can have interesting stories that could be recorded as part of your life history or your family member's history.

I had the privilege of working in the museum in our small town.  When I was first hired, I was asked to clean all of the items in the museum and their display cases.  I was asked to label each item and record identifying information about each item and enter it into a data base.  I would paint a small patch of an item with white-out liquid and then after it was dry write a number on it.  Then I would measure each item and record the measurements, what was written on the item, what it was used for and what we knew of its history such as the name of the donor.  Then I would use clear nail polish to seal the number so that it would hopefully remain on the item for years.  If the item was made of cloth or other materials that couldn't be painted on, I would sew on a small fabric label and write the number on it.  This was to make it easier in the future to find information about the artifacts in the museum. 

I learned a lot about the surrounding area working at the museum.  I did not grow up in that area so I didn't know that much of it's history.  I did find it fascinating.

I have wondered about what my ancestors felt about moving to a new area that they knew nothing about.  I think it would have been interesting if they would have recorded more about the area they lived in.

When you write your own story, include information about where you worked and what kind of work you did.  Write about the community you lived in and what it was like.  All of this very much affects your life story and the way you look at life.  Record what kind of work your ancestors did as well and what the communities they lived in were like.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Memories of Places You have Traveled

What places have you or your family traveled? Are there any special memories from visiting certain places? What do you remember?

 A lot of people take a yearly vacation to some place special. You may have pictures or even videos of the places you have visited. Pictures say a lot about your trips, but there are stories to go along with the pictures. Why did you go there? Was it as nice as you thought it would be? Who went with you? Did you spend a few hours or a few days there? Every trip has a story behind it. Write about your trips to add to your story.

 I grew up on a farm. We didn't travel very much. I don't think we ever went on a trip more than two or three hours from home. Usually we only went for the day, since my dad had to get someone to take care of the animals while we were gone. Most of our trips were to Salt Lake City since it was the closest big city. My parents may have needed to do some shopping there, but they usually planned something fun for us to do. We went to the zoo, the amusement park, the state capitol, Pioneer Village, and frequently Temple Square.

 My husband planned trips for our family to see some of the beautiful places around us. He took us to Yellowstone on a trip up to see his parents. He took us to see fireworks on the Fourth of July of the lake at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. He took us to see the Giant Redwoods and to see Yosemite National Park.

 We didn't take photos of many of the places we went. Remembering cameras and film and paying for developing the film was often not done when we traveled. Today with digital cameras and smartphone cameras you usually have a camera with you. The cost of developing film is gone. You just have to have memory to store the photos. You can choose to print the photos or you can keep them in a digital format and view them whenever you choose. Many photos of places are available online now. Seeing those photos can bring back memories. You can purchase photos or you may even find some photos available for your use without charge. Even if you don't have photos of you or your family at a certain place, you still have the memories that you can write down to preserve your story.

 Take time to write about the places you have gone and your memories of those places and add to your story.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Hair Styles

How did your ancestor wear their hair?

Hair styles change throughout the years.  How your ancestor wore their hair probably was affected by the hair styles at that time.  Both of my grandmothers wore their hair in a bun for their wedding pictures.  My maternal grandmother continued to wear her hair long and put it up in a bun throughout her life.  When I attended college, I was able to visit with her on my lunch break.  Some days she asked me to comb her hair and put it up in a bun since she suffered from arthritis in her hands which made it difficult for her to do.  My paternal grandmother had shorter hair in the photos of her later years of life.  The choice to have shorter hair may have had to do with the fact she had nine children.

Men's hair length and style plus whether they had mustaches or beards are also affected by the hairstyles of the time.  My paternal grandfather had a short hair and no facial hair in the photos I had of him.  Recently I found a photo of him posted online and in a book with a mustache.  At first I didn't think it could be him when I found it online.  Then when I found it in a book also, I realized it was him even though he looked different to me.

Of course the color of hair can be important in identifying someone.  Black and white photos can make it difficult to tell the color of hair.  You can tell the difference between blonde and black with some shades of brown in-between, but you can't tell red hair from brown or white hair from blonde.  When recording information about a black and white photo, it would be good to indicate the color of hair if you know what color it was.  You may also want to record whether hair coloring was used to change the natural color of the hair.

You may want to record how a certain hair style was obtained.  Did it require sleeping on curlers?  Was it braided?  Was it teased to create a bouffant or beehive hair style?  Was the hair naturally curly or was it permed?

Part of your own story could include how you wore your hair and why you wore it that way.  Did you have long hair because you wanted it, or did your mother or father not want your hair to be cut?  Record why you decided to change your hair style.  Did you try to wear your hair differently or were you content to wear your hair the same way each day?  Did it take a long time to fix your hair or did you just comb it and go?

Add more to your ancestor's story or to your own story with a description of the hair.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

What is your favorite time of day?
Do you wake up early so you can get a lot done early in the morning?  Do you prefer to stay up late?  Or is the middle of the day your best time to get work done?  Writing about what time of day you prefer to work can tell a lot about you.  The time you need to be at a job probably determines whether you are get up early or not.  Sometimes you may stay up late trying to get a little more done.  Your daily schedule may seem pretty boring, but in the future you may really appreciate knowing what you did at what time of day. 

You might have some information on some of your ancestors' work schedule.  If they ran a business, you may be able to find their store hours.  Writing about what your ancestor's day looked like could give insights into their lives. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Cards and Letters

Did you send out Christmas cards this year? Did you receive Christmas cards this year? Did you write a Christmas letter or receive a Christmas letter? These cards and letters may remind you of things you want to record in your story. What significant things happened during the past year? Did you travel anywhere? Did you attend a special event? Did a family member or friend get married or graduate or accomplish something else significant? Was there a change in where you live or work? At the end of the year we often reflect on the things that happened throughout the year. This can be a good time to write more of your story. Use your Christmas cards and letters as prompts about what to write. If you have kept cards and letters from the past, use those to fill in more details when you write your story. If you are writing the life story of someone who has passed away, you will be helped a lot if you have cards or letters written by them or to them. A lot of information can be found in letters. I am fortunate to have letters that my late husband sent to me while we were dating and living far apart. Those letters can trigger some memories of that time frame. A friend of mine gave me an idea in keeping letters. She put the letters in sheet protectors in a binder in chronological order. That is a great way to keep the letters so you can look through them without a lot of wear and tear on them. It also allows you to add additional letters if you find them later on and it will allow you to put them in chronological order. You can also scan letters in your computer and save them in a file titled with the name of the person the letter is from. If you have to downsize when moving, this may be the best way to keep those letters. If you have any letters or cards, use them when you write your story or the story of a family member. Save any letters or notes in cards physically or on your computer and add more details to your story.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Use Photos to Help Write Your Story

Look through your photos. Do any of them trigger a memory? Write what you remember about the photo or what you have been told about the photo. Who is in the photo? Where was the photo taken? Why was it taken? Was it a special occasion? Was it on a trip? When was it taken? Any information you have about the photo and the circumstances around it can help as you write your story. Sometimes we see a photo and we know the story behind it, but we are not sure if it is our own memory or if it is what others have told us. Still the photo does give us a window into our past that we might not have if it were not for the photo. We might want to be careful with the photos we take now. We might want to keep the original without editing it too much. After all removing all the freckles may remove part of our story of liking to play out in the sun a lot. You can edit photos, but keeping the original may be important in keeping your story. With the ability to take selfies now the photographer can be in the photo. Most of the photos of my family are missing the photographer. Timers on cameras made it possible to have one person set the timer and hurry back to be in the photo. Now with smartphone cameras and selfie sticks you don't even have to have a timer. Digital photography is much cheaper too. Instead of having to buy a camera, film, flashbulbs and then pay for the film to be developed, you can just use your smartphone to take as many photos as you want without additional cost unless you want to have a print made.
The above photo was taken on the day of my Kindergarten Graduation. I only went to Kindergarten for about 2 months the summer before I went to First Grade. Our teacher made hats for us and gave us special diplomas. From this photo I can see the hat and the diploma and the dress that I wore. The collar on my dress is to the side so it may have been windy that day. The truck behind me was the family's source of transportation. I don't remember everything from this photo like what the date actually was or if it was taken at the school or at my home, but it does trigger my memory of some of the things from Kindergarten. We had to bring a mat so we could take a nap at Kindergarten. I remember liking to look at my diploma. My mother put it in a metal file box with all the other important papers like birth certificates and titles and deeds. One time when I wanted to look at the diploma a few years later, it was not there. We didn't know what happened to it. As an adult my brother finally told me he had taken the diploma out of the box and had buried it because he didn't get a diploma when he graduated from Kindergarten. Try looking at some of your photos and see what you can remember to add to your story.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Solar Eclipse

What was your experience with a current event? Where were you when it happened? Did you see it yourself or did you hear about it from others? How did it affect your life or the lives of others around you?

Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse occurred across the United States. I live south of where the total eclipse would be. I had been sick for a couple of days and I didn't sleep well the night before, so I ended up sleeping in. After I took my shower, I opened the curtains. The sky looked strange. It was light outside, but there was a black mistiness to the blue sky. After turning on the internet and seeing the reports of the eclipse, I realized that was why the sky looked strange. I was grateful for the internet and that I could see photos of the eclipse even though I had forgotten about it. It was also nice to see the full eclipse which didn't happen here.

Some day in the future some of your family members may wonder what your experience with the solar eclipse was. Write about your experience for them and for yourself.