Story Projects Update

Volume 7 coverI know that posts have been sparse for the last several months. I’ve tried to focus on histories for my Mom with varying degrees of success. But I’m happy to report the next volume of our family history “Our Two Grandsons” is finished and distributed to family members. It covered September 1997 to December of 2001. This is the 7th volume in the history of my parents since they met and married in 1956. Based mostly on notes in my Mom’s planners with a few letters to her sisters, it isn’t a great read but the photos are fun and it does a good job of documenting my parents lives and important family miles stones. Yeah for getting it done. I gave it to my Mom on Mother’s Day and she was very happy.

Now I’m focusing on a project for my Dad. He spent 20 years in the Navy and really wants to do a history about it. I’ve worked on it here and there over the last few years in fits and starts. It will need to be a multi-volume history to cover everything. I talked with him for a couple of hours last week about what he wants to accomplish and why it is important too him. He shared several stories that I’ve never heard. I’m excited about this history but intimidated by what needs to be done in writing. While my Mom is super happy with just a factual documentation of her life, my Dad needs and wants something more. In order to do this I’m going to have to really learn how to tell his story. I’ve not done this before. We are focusing first on the years he was an instructor at the Navy’s Underwater Swimmers School in Key West, Florida. My Dad is going to a UWSS reunion next May and wants to take a copy with him.

So here is my plan. I signed up for the Armchair Genealogist‘s family history writing challenge in February. But between RootsTech and taking Dune to Oregon, I decided that it wasn’t the right time. Now I’m going to do it on my own. I saved all the emails and I’ve downloaded her The Companion Guide to The Family History Writing Challenge”. I’m committing to spending at least an hour each weekday to writing the narrative to the Key West volume. There are so many decision yet to be made to how to handle this project but I think that following the steps of Lynn’s challenge will give me a chance at tackling this project.

I think an important part of my commitment to this challenge is to share with you each day the progress I’ve made in first planning and then actually writing. I’m hoping to have the planning and research done by June 1st. Hopefully you won’t get sick of seeing my humble efforts but I think it will help me follow through with this challenge. Today I spent an hour reading “The Companion Guide” and completed the first two chapters and worked on filling out “The Vision Worksheet”.

I’ll check back in tomorrow and tell you how it is going. Wish me luck! I think I’m going to need it.

Our Family – Volume Six

I started a family history for my mom about 10 years ago. I finished Volume One in 2004 that covered their courtship and marriage. There’s nothing fancy about this series of histories. They are based on letters and journal entries from my mom and include photos. The are all printed on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, bound with wire binding and simple laminated card stock for their covers. My binding machine can only handle 100 sheets of paper so each history is limited to 200 pages. All of the volumes have the same format which speeds up the time it takes to put them together. Plus it gives a consistency to the volumes. Volume 6 covers 1994 through August 1997. It was supposed to cover more years but my mom wrote lots of letters to her sisters in those years so we have more text than we could fit in 200 pages. I’ve got all the photos placed. I still have final corrections on the text to do and I need to label the photos. Then it should be ready to print. Hopefully I’ll get that all done in the next week or so.

Doing a history like this isn’t hard. It takes time to organize, scan, enter in the text and decide on a format. It isn’t very exciting reading but it does a pretty good job of documenting our families history and it is a good source to go to for information.