Wednesday, November 12, 2008

As you collect and write down family stories, you may hear some pretty fantastic stories. Perhaps some of the stories sound like they might be made up or embellished. You might want to do some research to see if the stories are true. Still even with research you may not know for sure if the stories are completely factual. We do see the world through our own perspective. In one of my lines a father and a son fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill. A diary entry records the following: "In the memorable Battle of Bunker Hill, the 17th of June 1775, there they stood side by side and fought with about 13 Americans against 3,000 of the British for about two hours." When reading historical accounts of the Battle, the number of Americans fighting against the British were probably closer in number although the reported numbers vary in different accounts. Perhaps when writing the diary entry a couple of zeros behind the 13 were forgotten or not legible. But another explanation was given by my daughter after she moved to New York City. She explained to me that there are places in the eastern part of the United States where trees are so numerous that you can not see what is beyond the trees. Having lived in western desert areas all of my life, it is hard to imagine that many trees. She said perhaps it is possible there were trees blocking their view of how many fellow American soldiers were fighting in that Battle. I don't think the ancestor who wrote that statement intended to lie about the Battle. Perhaps from his perspective that was the way it was in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
As you record stories from you life, remember the perspective of future generations who may read your accounts may be very different from your perspective.
When you record stories of your ancestors, write them as they told them. You may learn something that will change your perspective and you may find their accounts are indeed true.

No comments: