In a short period of time, I was emailed three sets of interview questions, each of varying subjects. The answers to two sets can be found in my previous post, Beloved. I currently wait for a Jackson, Mississippi reporter’s email alerting me of the publication about the resurgence of aprons. Not sure her editors will appreciate my tongue and check responses as an apron photographer, though.
Over the years of inductive Bible studies, Daily Corinthian reporters’ interview questions, and incorporating the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, why) and an H (how) in adult literacy tutor training, I favor this format of gathering information. It’s usually short, sweet, and to the point.
Consequently, as a way to introduce myself as family historian (and possibly genealogist); the question-answer format has been used.
1. What are your qualifications as family historian? Beats me. However, if you think about the task I’ve been given by family members— preserving century old documents, scanning a plethora of vintage photographs, organizing and compiling hundreds of German obituaries (not to mention the English ones), and have been told countless family secrets—someone must think there are skills lurking somewhere. Genealogy 101 I’ve not taken nor am I a certified genealogist, but standing over a copy machine for hours on end or squinting blurry-eyed at dark microfilm should count for something, shouldn’t it?
2. When did you become involved in genealogy/family history? The first family history project occurred in 1980, at a young age of 28. Scrap paper jottings strewn across the kitchen table, the arduous task of transferring scribbles to readable data began with the first edition of my maternal ancestry. Fingers glided gently across the electric typewriter’s keys each afternoon after work. Spell check nonexistent, white liquid eraser a godsend, and carbon paper a nuisance. Page after page typed in outline format, no genealogy software utilized. In the late 1990’s a Nebraska cousin revealed she had taken a final copy of this 80’s family history book to Strackholt, Germany, when families on either side of the waters shared pertinent information.
An extensive updated version also published in 2002 with the expertise of a beloved printing employee’s photography formatting skills, a much-used genealogy software program, Microsoft Word spell check, a home printer that spat out reams of paper like the pink Energizer bunny, and a three-hole punch that worked miracles with each 100-page publication. Did I forget to mention collating?
A willingness to preserve, to compile, and then to share has led to a lifetime as a self-appointed information gatherer. The 1980’s family history book was the stepping stone into genealogical areas now felt across two countries, something I couldn’t have imagined as a 28-year old typing at her kitchen table.
3. Would you consider yourself a genealogist? No. If I have any expertise in the world of genealogy, it would be in compiling data. Mulling over microfilm for hours, searching for one date, just isn’t for me. Anyone who has followed CorinthRose since its inception in January 2011 would with careful inspection themselves arrive at the same conclusion.
Tying loose ends together, bringing information together in one location, organizing photography subjects, or even showcasing a family project were frequent topics over the past two years. Examples: Excerpts from an Airman’s Letters Home, Hands, Visual Expressions of Life, and Arkansas Glass Chapels.
4. Why are you interested in preserving the past for the future? I’m a traveler in so many ways, one who goes just beyond the summit or over the hill, or even stops along the wayside for a glimpse of the world around. So it is with life’s endless ever-changing pathways and histories. Just a little look past the curve and over the family history hill might reveal something of interest pertinent to life as I know it now.
Devotional: Streams in the Desert by Cowman “Nothing ever happens but once in this world. What I do now I do once and forever. It is over; it is gone with a still eternity of solemn meaning.” Lord, spare nothing in me that would hinder the flowing of the rivers of water of life. Carry Your cross to every link to deep root and corner of my secret being as a faithful steward.
5. Are there family members also interested in genealogy? Only one comes to mind…a sister-in-law, who is a certified genealogist/researcher, stickler for documentation, and one who focuses upon family history a little differently than her brother’s wife. We both want just the facts, but I lose patience somewhere in the archival research. Although one of us would enjoy creating a database of deceased ancestors’ obituaries and the other researching 12th century German script baptismal records, we complement each other in our genealogy endeavors.
A quick read of this post will explain where I’m currently at with my family history projects. It also foreshadows future publications at CorinthRose. In addition, an excellent article at MowryJournal expands upon the subject of digitizing genealogical documents.
6. Have you ever upset or even angered anyone over the years with family history projects or requests? Definitely. I’m a fact gatherer, not a secret agent. Neither am I an intruder into personal matters nor a manipulator of statistical information. Just the facts, Madam, plain and simple.
Overall, the reaction of others has been supportive and positive personal experiences.
7. Have you ever considered writing your personal story? Yes. Slowly but surely over the past two years of blogging, the attempt has been made. Posts such as Gaining Wisdom and Exhibiting Integrity and Our Daughter…a Woman of Character as examples.
I would highly recommend the book, To Our Children’s Children, by Bob Greene and D. G. Fulford as a beginning point, still available at Amazon.com. If you’d rather read link after link, go to http://genealogy.about.com/cs/oralhistory/a/interview.htm
I hope you have enjoyed a peek through my family history window, glimpsed a bit of my own history in the making, and turned a few dog-eared pages from the past.
Don’t be alarmed now, since you’ve being given fair warning about upcoming blog publications at CorinthRose. Why you might find yourself reading early 1900s Golden New Era newspaper articles (Illinois), Ostfriesen Nachrichten obituaries (Breda, Iowa and Ostfriesland, Germany), or even visiting Nebraska’s southeast area fondly known as Hannover. Oh, a post or two about Making my own History could be sneaked in once and awhile as well. Can’t forget the photography, now can we?
If you’re exhausted after reading this publication, welcome to the world of the all-consuming hunt for deep roots, elusive relatives, and an occasional dark secret.