|Sample page from my Wood/Slatter family memory booklet|
It's quite a story, with the Wood family's generations-old tradition of working in wood and their Mayflower connection, plus the Slatter family's Whitechapel roots and their illustrious bandmaster relatives. The family knew very little of this background when I began researching more than a decade ago.
Now, thanks to century-old photo albums, field trips side-by-side with my husband cranking microfilm readers and pulling courthouse documents, and a Genealogy Go-Over to double-check data and records, we know a lot about these ancestors. There's still a lot we won't ever know (exactly how and when Mary and James met, for example). But it's time to begin the writing process, and include plenty of photos to bring these ancestors alive for the generations to come.
The table of contents for THE STORY OF JAMES EDGAR WOOD AND MARY SLATTER WOOD currently reads:
- James Edgar Wood's Family Background
- Mary Slatter's Family Background
- What Was the World Like When James & Mary Were Born (circa 1870)? (To give younger relatives a sense of daily life before the automobile, electricity, etc.)
- James & Mary's Life in Cleveland
- James as Carpenter and Home Builder (see sample page, above)
- Driving the 1917 Ford to Chicago (documented in a family photo album)
- At Home with the Wood Family (with photos and quotes from descendants)
- How the Woods and Slatters Stayed in Touch (postcards to/from cousins, border crossings showing visits)
- What Happened to Mary and James (moving, later life, remarriage, burial)
- What Happened to the Wood Brothers (brief overview of their adult lives)
- Where, When, and Sources (timeline and sources used to confirm details)
- Photo Captions (names/dates/places or as much is known)
Rather than spend a fortune printing a bound book, I'll have the 20-odd pages of this booklet printed on good paper using the laser color printer at my local office supply store. Then I'll insert them into a clear report cover for presentation. If we want to add or change something later on, it's easy to remove the spine and switch out one or more pages.
As suggested by my good friend Mary, I'm including my sources. But instead of putting them in the main narrative, I'm relegating them to a section in the back of the booklet, to avoid slowing the flow (and to keep younger readers engaged).
My goal is to bring the story of Wood and Slatter alive for future generations with a colorful booklet combining facts and photos into a narrative that flows. It's part of my promise to "share with heirs," as I explain in my book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past.