Showing posts with label Tufts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tufts. Show all posts

Friday, April 20, 2018

Do the "Write" Thing for Genealogy, Part 3: Find the Drama

When you think about writing your family's history, look for the drama that may be below the surface (or in plain sight).

Remember: You know more than you think you know! Gather your Census data, vital records, Bible entries, photo albums, news clippings, and whatever else pertains to the person or people in the story you want to tell.

Jot notes about your memories and ask relatives what they remember about a particular ancestor or couple, a family occasion or situation, or a special photo (wedding portrait, for instance).

All of this will help you identify key points and people in your family's history, and uncover the drama that you can play up in your narrative.

If you're lucky enough to have letters, diaries, or interviews, go through and select quotes that add color and personality to your ancestors and reflect the drama in their lives.

Above, a quote from my late father-in-law, Edgar J. Wood, who said this 30+ years ago when my husband interviewed him about his earlier life and his love of playing the piano. The quote hints at the conflict between Ed and his father. It also explains why Ed had to play in so many jazz bands to make money for tuition, room, and board at Tufts, where he was in college during the 1920s.

The conflict came to a boiling point when Ed's mother, Mary Slatter Wood, died unexpectedly near the end of Ed's senior year. After Ed returned home for the funeral, he never lived at home again. He left college a few weeks later, not able to pass a language course needed for graduation. Then he moved to New York City and tried to make a living through his music. More drama!

What dramatic moments or conflicts are in your family's past? Look for them and use them to "hook" your readers.

This is an excerpt from my latest genealogy presentation, "Do the 'Write' Thing for Genealogy."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday: Edgar J. Wood, Tufts '26

Just a few days ago, a box arrived from my sis-in-law. Inside: The elaborate college scrapbook kept by my late father-in-law, Edgar James Wood, who attended Tufts College in Massachusetts, starting in 1922! Above is a close-up of the cover, showing Tuft's logo and Ed's name and expected graduation year.

I checked with Tufts, as suggested by Bryna in her comment below, and learned that Ed didn't graduate, although he attended classes and was active at the school until at least the middle of May of 1926 (graduation was in June, 1926). His major was economics, another fact the family didn't know.

College must have been the time of his life, because Ed kept all kinds of memorabilia, including dance cards (which I didn't know men even had), menus from banquets, ticket stubs from shows, photos, etc. He was a member of Zeta Psi fraternity, and much of the memorabilia related to his frat brothers, trips, shows, etc.  

What a treasure chest: My husband and his sibs don't remember Ed ever showing them this scrapbook. We're all mesmerized by the exuberant life Ed led more than a decade before he married and settled down for good in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. I'll be transcribing the names of Ed's frat brothers (and their home towns) in future posts.

Above are the cover from the frat "annual banquet" Ed attended on December 9, 1922, at Boston's famous Parker House, and the inside page where he is listed as "neophyte" of the 1926 class. More to come!