I got the comment from a client the other day “I have so many good ancestor stories, I have trouble picking one to tell.”
I can relate!
When it comes to picking out an ancestor story for your first video, it’s best to go for the low-hanging fruit on your family tree.
Here are three ways to decide on a story for your first video:
Go with the photos. You may have lots of photos “showing” a story or specific time from an ancestor’s life, or perhaps even a scrapbook. Digitize the photos and tell the story behind the pictures. It’s ok to use your smartphone if you don’t have a scanner.
Got an ancestor who shared the same interests as with a grandchild? Maybe a great-uncle who was an athlete, like your niece or nephew? Or show your teenager a story of their teenaged ancestor. Today’s eighteen-year-old may be amazed at what their great-grandparent was doing at eighteen – working in a factory, moving to a new country, or helping in a war effort. Is there a memento or object from an ancestor’s childhood, like a stuffed animal, toy, or book? Photograph or record video of the object and use it as a touch point for the story.
Listen for the ancestor who calls out to you. Discovering their story gave you chills going up and down your spine. You find that person so intriguing, you keep digging and digging to find out more about their life.
That’s how I felt with my great-great-grandfather, William Hunter Davis. His photograph haunted me with his piercing gaze. I researched his Civil War experience and was amazed at what I found. So I made my first Ancestor Story Video about him. Here’s a link to that video, W. Hunter Davis: A Civil War Journey.
Even if you feel you have more research to do, by sharing what you know now, the process of telling the story sometimes helps you discover more clues. Plus, there’s the chance a cousin could see your video and share more brick-wall-busting information with you!
A great way to discover more images from your ancestor’s world is to explore digital images in online archives. My free eBook No Pictures? No Problem shows you websites rich with historical photographs, video, and other visuals to help you illustrate your ancestor’s story. I invite you to download No Pictures? No Problem for free and start your family history treasure hunt!
DKrue. Old Photos. Pixabay.com.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Girls’ Basket Ball at the University of Illinois” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed September 30, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-bbdd-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Hope, “successor to M.H. Kimball, 477 Broadway, New York.” William Hunter Davis. circa 1865. Personal collection of Margaret Eves. Marietta, Georgia.