All posts by Susan

Life is good.

The Art of Successful Letter Writing

A Letter from an Ancestor By Susan Phelps “In an age like ours, which is not given to letter-writing, we forget what an important part it used to play in people’s lives.”   ~ Anatole Broyard On May 9, 1887, the Reverend Charles Smith sat down in his home in Plover, Wisconsin, to write a ...

Storytelling: Painting a main character

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.”  ~ Sue Monk Kidd Storytelling is an important part of family history.  Passing down stories about our lives and the lives of our ancestors makes history real.  Characters make stories come to life.  ...

Family history: Storytelling with a theme or topic

Choosing a subject or topic to tell a story Day-to-day aspects of life 100 years ago or more When trying to capture what life was like 100+ years ago, it is difficult to know a person's personality or character from a photo. While photos may not reveal an ancestor's personality, we can come away with ...

Family history: Understanding relationships

Telling a story through family relationships One example: When cousins marry cousins Not allowed in every state these days, in our not-so-distant-past it wasn't uncommon for a cousin to marry a cousin. A look at populations and geography and one can better understand the reasons. How does this effect our understanding of family when, through research, ...

Ancestor profiling using memory

Moments in time One memory leads to another It has happened to us all. You walk into someone's home and you see something familiar, perhaps a jacket draped over a chair. You do a double take.  It's very similar to the one grandpa wore on that special day long ago. As you approach to take ...

Document and photo preservation

Preserving old documents and photos Documents, papers, photos and more I wrote about preserving photos and other old documents in IN A PREVIOUS POST. This one, however, takes a closer look at materials currently recommended. Take a look at Susan's article to read tips and tricks for preserving your documents. While it can be expensive ...

Family history: What’s in a (nick)name?

The significance of names in family history Considerations when naming children Have you considered your first, middle, and last names? Were you "named after" someone in the family? Perhaps you were given great aunt Grace's first name, or uncle James's middle name? Maybe you use a nickname or a derivative of a longer, traditional name? ...

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