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.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

What kind of education do you or your ancestor have?

Education is a big part of our lives.  Recording when you started school, where you went to school, who your teachers were, what you learned in school is an important part of your story.  Some things may not seem significant like what time did you go to school, but it may be interesting to those reading your story.  It also may explain other parts of your life.  My family lived a mile outside of town, so I rode the bus to school from first grade through graduation from high school.  The high school I went to was thirty miles from my home.  I would catch the bus at 7:15 a.m. and wouldn't get home until 4 p.m.  In high school I spent about two hours on the bus.  I did a lot of reading and homework on the bus.  Because of the need to help with the family business when I got home from school, I wouldn't have been able to do as much of my homework without doing it on the bus.  

Did you continue your education beyond high school?  Did you attend college?  Did you get a degree?  Or did you learn through hands on experience like training on the job?  

There are many experiences that you may have in getting your education.  Recording your experiences will add a great deal to your story.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

How have you been involved in politics?

This year, 2016 is a presidential election year.  There is a lot of news about the election.  This year's election is especially controversial.  There is even a third party candidate who just decided to run in August who may win the electoral votes in the state of Utah.  Many people are not wanting the two major candidates to win.  Elections can affect our lives.  Things may change with a new president or new congressmen or even new local officials.  Writing about the political events can be a part of your story.  

Have you ever ran for a political office or has a family member ran for office?  Did any one in your family serve in a political office?  Answering these questions can add a lot to your family's story.  Write about your feelings about the elections and your participation.  You might want to record who you voted for and why for your posterity.  Some time in the future your family may want to know what you thought about a certain election.