Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Family History Interviews

In my quest to research my family, I've been trying to track down living family members and talk to them about family. I'd like to hear their stories, share any information I have, and I always hope that there will be a few special treats like photos, letters, documents etc. So far I've been pretty lucky. The few people I have reached out to have been more than happy to help me. Today I reached my father's cousin who has agreed to let me interview him! 

This is my very first interview and there are lots of lists of questions out there. I’m putting together my own list, but I’d like to hear from all of you if you’ve ever conducted an interview like this, what did you ask? What do you wish you’d asked that you didn’t ask? What would you suggest that I avoid asking?

I'm hoping to get a recorder app working well on my phone so that I can transcribe the conversation. I've learned that sometimes little tidbits can get lost if you aren't paying close attention. 

He also mentioned to me that he still lives in his grandparents house and that there are some things that my grandfather made around the house. Apparently he was a budding potter in grade school and made some charmingly awful vases! I hope one day someone looks at my terrible art and thinks it worthy of keeping around for future generations!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I've been a very bad blogger.

Thank you to some inspiration from beyond the grave though, I realized that I needed to get back to this. I've been searching for my family members using the Access Newspaper Archive which is available for you to use free at your local family history center. I've been working on one chunk of family at a time trying to track down newspaper articles, announcements etc. I started with my dad's father's side of the family since it is one of the least documented lines I have in my tree. In my searching I've found a few little notes. Wedding licenses, polling notices, that sort of thing, but yesterday I found a real treasure. My Great-Grandmother, Marietta C. Stephenson Thomas published a poem in the Oakland Tribune’s Editorial Page on March 27, 1943.

He Shall Not Know

Why should I let him know
I cried when he went away:
‘Tis better to write of things
We did on another day.

I’ll write to him of starlight nights,
Warm rains and my cookie jar;
I’ll never write of gloomy things;
Some pleasure it might mar.

I’ll write to him of life at home;
The truth from him I’ll keep
That Oh! We miss him every day;
He shall not know I weep.

And so, I’ll write of pleasant things,
To bring him home a while;
And when I end my letter,
I’ll leave him with a smile.