Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sentimental Sunday: Pages from the Story of Wood and Slatter

The Story of James Edgar Wood and Mary Slatter Wood is written, photos and maps are in place, and I'm going to bring the .pdf to be color-laser-printed in the local copy shop. In all, I needed 21 pages to tell the story of hubby's paternal grandparents James, Mary, their family backgrounds, along with a brief overview of what happened to their four sons (including my late father-in-law, who took these photos of the 1917 Ford).

Just in time for the June Genealogy Blog Party, here are two pages from this newest family memory booklet, and a few lessons learned along the way toward preserving this family history:
  • Maps help readers follow along as ancestors migrate or take a trip (as in the page at top, a 1917 trip from Cleveland to Chicago).
  • Photos personalize the story and bring readers face to face with faces and places from the family's past. I included lots of photos!
  • Include quotes from ancestors to keep their voices alive for descendants who never met them. I had quotes from interviews, letters, a diary.
  • Include a timeline to give descendants a better sense of what happened, where, and when. I constructed this last, after I pieced together the entire story.
  • Include sources for that rare reader who asks: "How do we know that?" The actual booklet has a few document excerpts but full documents are sitting in my files.
  • Caption all photos. I have 2 pages of captions at the end of the booklet, with lots of details, including a reminder of the relationships between people in the photo and the readers ("Mary Slatter's older sister" is an example, plus an explanation that Mary Slatter was my husband's paternal grandmother). 
Don't forget to include a family tree! I included one in the back of the booklet, showing this branch and how it extends back three generations on James's side and on Mary's side.

This is only one way I'm sharing my family's history with the next generation. More ideas are in my genealogy book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past.

10 comments:

Mary Nunn Maki said...

Congrats on finishing. Looking forward to seeing a copy. Will also mention your project in my presentation to show a family history doesn't have to be a long document.

Marian B. Wood said...

Thanks, Mary. The idea for including sources came from you, and I think readers will appreciate that verifiable sources add to the authenticity of the history.

Wendy said...

Will this be a bound book or pages in a binder?

Marian B. Wood said...

Wendy, this won't be either. It's going to be loose pages held together by a plastic spine inside a clear report cover. I can also insert the pages into protective sleeves and put into a binder, but that takes up more space and recipients wanted something more slender. For now, anyway! I'm already at work on the next one, about hubby's maternal grandparents. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

Elizabeth O'Neal said...

Congratulations on finishing your project! You've shared some great tips here that will hopefully help others who are embarking on a family history book project. And Thank you for sharing in the June Genealogy Blog Party!

Amy Urman said...

Great project. Thank you so much for sharing. The citations are a great addition, it sets the mood for the reader to embrace what you are presenting.

Mary Rohrer Dexter said...

This is a very cool idea to take one vacation photo album and make a book that uses it as a central theme including other information about the family in it. Great job!

Anna Matthews said...

Very nice. Great way to share the information without a huge expense. I'm still trying to decide what to do/bring for the family reunion in August.

Linda Stufflebean said...

How do you create your family memory booklets? Do you use a template or something like Word? I am envious that you have interviews with quotes. If only I had a few of those from a couple of my more recent ancestors.

Marian B. Wood said...

Linda, I use MS Word, with one font for the body and a different font for the headings. I wanted to also use color to grab attention, not just for photos and maps but also for headings. It's about 39 cents per page to print these on the color laser copier at the local office supply store, but I figure it's worth the money to catch the eye of the younger readers. BTW, some of my quotes are from letters, others from diaries and interviews. Maybe you can get other relatives to give you quotes about ancestors or give you letters? Best of luck!