Family History, I Am Doing It

You know where you can find some really amazing stories?

Your grandparents.

Your great-grandparents.

And so forth.

I’ve been up to my elbows in family history work lately, formatting a life history of my grandparents, typing up various life sketches from generations back, translating German letters from my aunt’s ancestors, scrapbooking, and exploring the endless documents available on

The longer I work, the better I get to know these people who came before me, and the more interesting stories I find and file away to tell my children later. The boy who stole his teacher’s whip during church and chopped it into tiny pieces, the man who was shot through seven times and survived to pass on his faith to his family and countless others he served throughout his life, the woman who kept a tenuous balance between association and enmity with an aggressive Indian as she established a home on the plains.

If you’re looking for some good material to hack apart and reform for your own creative purposes, take a look into your own family history. Talk to your parents and grandparents, great-grandparents if you’re lucky enough to have them. Take a look at family history websites. Google people. You’d be surprised what you can find about your ancestors in this day and age.

Have you done much looking into your family history? Any good stories that you like to tell? Anything you’ve stolen from ancestors past for your creative writing?


  1. Family history is so interesting! Years ago for an assignment I interviewed my mother-in-law and heard some great stories about my husband’s predecessors. As for my own family, it’s a bit hit or miss, since my mother never really had any grandparents and neither did her mother. I’ve never stolen any stories for my own writing, but I’ve been intending on writing down some family history at some point. Now, if I can get the procrastination monkey off my back…

  2. I will admit that I haven’t looked into my own family history much. Some of this is due to time and place. Most of my still-living relatives are in other states across the US with no computer access and our schedules don’t match enough to call one another with the time differences and work.

    Every once in a while, I’ll hear a snippet or two about past events, and they always fascinate me. Maybe one day I’ll actually look into it further, but at the moment, I’m OK with the small snippets.

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