A few weeks ago, I gave a presentation at a local public library about “Sharing the Stories of your Ancestors.” I collected and sampled some great ways to uncover and share your family stories, so I’d like to share a summary of my presentation with you!
Perhaps you have already done some genealogy research. Perhaps you have some great family photos and heirlooms sitting in the back of your closet. Perhaps you have some cherished childhood memories, or stories passed down from your parents or grandparents. And perhaps you are passionate about genealogy, but your family is not as interested in hearing the old stories.
You likely have some family stories or photos that you are eager to share with others, but with so many options available, you may not know where to begin. This post series will be a basic introduction to help you get started sharing these stories. I’ll share tips for sharing the stories that you already have, uncovering hidden stories in your research, describe some basic storytelling elements to help you share the stories effectively, and talk about some of the various platforms for sharing your family stories. The options are endless, and include writing and oral histories, using photo and video, using social media, and more.
I recently came across this postcard on eBay from 1906, showing the Kingston Methodist Church. It is a wonderful piece of local history! The Real Photo Postcard (RPPC) shows the parsonage on the right, and the church on the left. The Methodist Church is in its present-day location on First Street in Kingston. The building was originally built in 1861 near Pleasant Hill Farm, along Baseline Road on the southern edge of Kingston Township. It was moved to this location in 1875. The parsonage was built in 1878. Notice the dirt road, hitching posts, and narrow sidewalk! Today, the church has a basement and a new entrance, and the trees and hitching post has been replaced by paved street parking! The parsonage has also lost part of its covered porch, but otherwise looks very similar!
I recently had the opportunity to record the story of my grandmother in WWII for a storytelling class. It tells the story of how my Nana, Mildred Kaiser, joined the WAVES and served in the Navy during WWII. It follows the timeline of that part of her life. Click here or click the video below to view the digital story!
Thank you to Prof. Kate McDowell and my UIUC Storytelling classmates who inspired me to share this story in a new way! I had previously written about her time in the WAVES in a three-part series.
Personal interviews with Mildred (Kaiser) Drake by EvaAnne Weil and Emily (Drake) Weil, 1998-2015.
Photos from private collection, Mildred (Kaiser) Drake’s WAVES photo album, 1944-1946.