Thursday, 4 June 2009

History vibes

Here's a fun little fact about yours truly: 

I like history. As in, the history of my family. 

I've been tracking down (it seems like) details on my background for a looong time. Yesterday evening I finally got some facts confirmed and straightened out, and I'm going to sit here for a minute and happy. 

Say hello to my great-great Grandpa on my mother's mother's side: 

His name was Thomas Stone, and he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. This is what I really dig about researching. For instance, we knew on her side there's lotsa old well-off lawyerly guys...and we knew vaguely that there was someone like this, coming from one of the first blokes off the Mayflower. But seriously, to actually have it confirmed, and then be able to read about him,  it just somehow feels more ... real. 

In addition, I have information on another dear-to-me relative that I've always had trouble discovering information on...a Belle Haughey, a Choctaw that married my great-gramps back when that really was frowned upon. (There's a book in that one, so details will be slim here). 

What does that have to do with writing? 

Well, if you look at the top of it, not much. I mean, they're dead and gone, right? They certainly can't help me get a publishing contract. 


The longer I do this and the better I become at it (and it's only a slow improvement, heh) I come to realize I write books with themes that are important to me. I don't really get the theme or question when I'm writing it, or right when I get the idea...I get it later, when (for instance) I'm talking to my critique group and something just pops out, or I'm running and something falls into place with a click. 

I end up writing about things that I puzzle over, things that make me a better person once I get them out and on paper, and for that, for that history that spills over and out into a more satisfied Jen, I'm happy. 

Now my plan is to track down Ms. Haughey on the rolls, or try to, and see what I find out. If you have a recommendation on how to do this, I'm all ears. 

(I'll cross post this to Adventures for Friday)


Heidi the Hick said...

this is so fascinating! Hi Grampa!

I really will head over to your part of the world some day to find some history. I have it back to the boats landing in the U.S. but beyond that it's murky.

My husband's family has some uh, colourful history. Bloody England!

Heidi said...

I have a great-something grandpa who came over on the Mayflower and one who signed the Declaration of Independence too!! Maybe our ancestors were friends!! How cool would that be??

You think maybe yours and mine sat in Independence Hall arguing over how the declaration was written? What words were best? They could have been the original critique partners! :)

I love family history. Even when it is, as Heidi said, colourful!

JKB said...

HTH - Gramps is waving. :) LOL!

Heidi, that cracks me up...them in tight leg hose and white puffy wigs, all discussing the correct placement of the verb tenses...'How can we make this more snappy, Thomas'


Patti said...

I got the whole idea of my book from family history. They wrote about hidden people in Iceland. So I think family history is an invaluable resource for ideas. My mother-in-law's story is great but I might have to wait until she's gone to write it.