31 Days to Better Genealogy by Amy Johnson Crow is a posting of daily suggestions with “tips, tricks and resources for discovering more” in researching your family history. On day 21 Amy suggestes exploring Genealogy Societies. I had checked out Genealogy Societies at different times when I lived in other areas. So I was not unaware of the resources often found through the local societies, but I am new to the Pacific Northwest and decided that I need to explore what was going on in my new locale, so I took her up on her suggestion. I immediately found several workshops that I could attend within a couple of hours drive and a society that meets on Saturday, very close by. Since I still try to work 5 days a week that was an important factor. So I joined the Jefferson County Genealogical Society and registered for those workshops that were of interest. The first one was in Chehalis,  Researching Your Irish & Scots-Irish Ancestors by the Ulster Historical Foundation, Belfast, Northern Ireland, presented through the Lewis County Genealogical Society.  I came away with lots to do and yet not really too inspired for a blog posting.

Todays workshop was on writing, specifically Writing Family Stories by Wendy Call.

Okay I have been posting my family stories for about 2 years, and I am just now looking at this? Maybe if someone wrote my story it would be that Ada always jumped in feet first then went to work to figure it out.

Writers always seem to say they are writing for themselves but that’s not realistic, otherwise why make your writing public. My goal for todays workshop was to learn how to connect to the reader with the story.  I found that Wendy Call was an engaging instructor who gave us some tools to use and then  an opportunity to write through several interesting exercises. I would definitely recommend her workshop to others.

One of the writing exercise from todays workshop was that we had to list on individual index cards 6 things we were curious about today and six things that we were curious about as a small child. We randomly picked one from each pile. We then had to write how they connected, using free writing or stream of consciousness.  In other words, start writing and do not stop until time is called.

Question: Am I related to the Founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth?

Question: Why couldn’t I have a kitten?

It seemed that every summer my sister and I went to Davis and stayed with my grandparents. There were a lot, and I mean A LOT, of feral cats there. It was a large chicken ranch. There was one large brooder house and at least 4 large hen houses, a huge two story barn, the pump house, with an apartment attached, and a pole barn that was used as a garage. Grandpa allowed the cats to remain to keep the mice population in check. While staying with my grandparents the first thing Madeleine and I did was to go out to the barn and find the new litter of kittens that Grandma was sure were there just waiting for us to discover. Maybe this was a ploy to keep us occupied and entertained on our first afternoon at the ranch. I always loved the kittens and wanted one at home too. But Mom always told me that Dad didn’t like cats (odd since after us kids all left home Dad got himself a cat).

Now one of the other ways to entertain us was Grandma would tell us stories. Some of those stories were about who we were related to. Over the years I heard various names but one that especially resonated with me was that we were related to the founder of the Salvation Army. It seems that my grandmother’s mother was a Booth and William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army. While staying with our grandparents there would often be a trip to the Salvation Army Thrift Shop in Woodland where Grandma would glean treasures. Grandma would put on her white gloves and hat to go into town. She would say how she was patronizing the Salvation Army because she was related to the original founder. Her treasures where crystal dishes, real Silverware, and real woolen sweaters.

Now this is a rather incomplete story but you might see where I was going with this. That both of these things that I was and am curious about stem from the great memories I have of my time with my grandparents during those idyllic summer days.


Leave a Reply