Bringing genealogical data to life – Crafting a family tree document is important, but it’s also important to give life to the men and women they chronicle.
- Word pictures – Perhaps your great, great grandmother knew Carrie Nation. You know when they met, perhaps where the meeting took place and maybe who else was in the room. But, do you have an account of how others in the city, the state, even the country viewed what was going on? What else was happening over those few days that brings another aspect to the record? What would they have said to one another? Perhaps a relative perished at Bunker Hill or the Battle of the Bulge. Using your genealogical data and archival sources, a narrative covering a single hour, a single year or decades can be crafted into word pictures that enhance an interesting and perhaps provocative part of the genealogical record. It’s probably not possible to have transcripts of conversations, but it’s possible to “creatively image” what was said and how.
- Is there a book in it? Probably — All family histories are rich with birth, marriage and death documents, ship manifests, prisoner of war records and other data and images that give depth and understanding. Once the narrative has been produced, it could be centerpiece of a self-published book that could be shared with family and friends.
- Sound pictures — An audio file can be crafted from the word picture to add another dimension to the historical record. It could be as simple as a single-voice narration of the manuscript or a multi-dimensional “radio drama” that includes multiple voices and sound effects appropriate to the period and the main characters.
In both cases, a new depth is brought to your historical record. The word picture, supplemented by the audio version will be an entertaining and informative way to pass along the family’s legacy to coming generations who may never see the genealogical data in all its detail.
- Getting started — To find out if this is a meaningful way to supplement your work and the facts you’ve uncovered, let’s collaborate on the development of a short sketch, perhaps 500 words. If that shows promise, let’s work together on an audio version. If the try-out works for both of us, we’ll produce something generations will treasure.
- What’s it cost? — It depends on the challenges. The initial agreement will lay out time lines, submission deadlines and estimated fees. After that has been clarified, work will begin on the written narrative. Once it’s been completed, next steps will discussed. There’s no way to predict at this point what the fees will be: too many variables.
- Getting to work – It’s important for the family genealogist to name a single contact for the job ahead. The narration will be drafted and turned over to that person for edits and re-writes. Once there’s a “go,” the manuscript will be produced and handed over. The same procedure works for the audio version.