Why I Write the Way I Do

The more genealogy blogs I read, the more I feel that mine is unique. Not better, because it’s not, just unique.

I don’t think a single one of us got into genealogy because of names and dates. We got into genealogy because of the stories and the mysteries. But names and dates have become almost the genealogical standard.

We are so much more than that. I love history as much as the next person, maybe more. I can rattle names and dates off the top of my head like the complete nerd I am. But what intrigues me are the stories, the answer to the Whys and Hows, and not so much the short answer questions.

I abhor crafting sentences that start with “So and so was born on X date to Y parents.” My writing style has never been short, choppy sentences. I adore commas.

But most of it has to do with how I wish to be remembered. I don’t want to be known to my family as that boring, nerdy genealogist. I want to be the one known as the fun, engaging story teller.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t like or desire facts. I do. I just try to turn those facts into an engaging story of what probably happened. The records leave me clues to extrapolate into a story.

It took me a long time to find my voice on this blog. I called it “Adventures of an Untameable Genealogist” for a reason. It’s just as much about me and my reactions as it is about the people I’m researching.

I’ve gotten an email or two about the way I describe ancestors dying. Needless to say, they weren’t happy. They think I’m morbid and have a preoccupation with death. I hate to tell you this, but anyone who does genealogy deals with 99% dead people. I just think we all have this idea of people dying a long time ago by just closing their eyes and souls peacefully leaving bodies.  Hate to tell you, but that’s not what happened.

Death is an important part of life and it’s my job to make that as real as I make their marriage or their day to day activities. Truth is, people suffered needlessly before modern medicine. That suffering influenced the survivors and, in children, how they turned out. Our ancestors saw things that changed them and the people they would eventually become.

There is a reason why we do the things we do and that is what I’m interested in. I want to know what motivated the soldier to enlist and go far from home. I want to know how someone died, not just when. I want to know why Tilby Smith had his wife murdered. I want to know what it was like to watch your mother give birth multiple times only to lose her life after one too many. I want to know what churches our ancestors prayed in when hope was almost gone. I just want to know.

I hope you do as well.

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2 thoughts on “Why I Write the Way I Do

  1. I’ve had the same said to me, which is why I wrote the post. So much of what I write may not be true, but I base it on the records say and the history of the time period. And with my own family, I think about how I might react in a given situation because I reckon that my ancestors are a lot like me or else I wouldn’t be the way I am.

    Hey, we can be genealogy sisters or blogger sisters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely LOVE this! In the past, I have been gently chided by a genealogist that my job is to document the facts and source them properly. And I understand that, I really do, but what’s the story? My favorite two words since I’ve been old enough to speak? “But why?” You and I must be daughters of Allan Eckert. 😉

    Like

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