Sunday, April 7, 2013

Family Chronicles: Everyone has a story

I  posted the following on my personal Facebook page:

In Piedmont, MO: Headstone Dedication for my great-great grandfather tomorrow! And the motel has Wi-Fi! Cell phone coverage still exerting negative pressure but Internet seems pretty good. Yes, I will take pictures and post when possible. :) I'm a little excited! Henry Marthad died in 1906. The same year my grandfather married his first wife. I just realized that. But for one hundred and seven years his grave has been unmarked. Now it will be. I may never find my great-grandfather's grave or my grandfather's so I like this very much. I like a sense of continuity. . .history. . .and family. And everyone. . .everyone has a story. :)

Skimming through the web pages of agents and publishers I noted what they were looking for and what they weren't looking for. Family chronicles seemed to make the "don't want" list at very frequent intervals. I guess they've been inundated with such offerings. It kind of makes sense to me. I've remarked before about writing down stories of that nature to my own family and some of my friends.

I can also see, to a certain extent, why such stories bring on a glazed look in the publishing world. At least, I think I can.

Henry David Thoreau said

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

My ancestors did not live extraordinary lives. I've done enough of a search on to know that. They were farmers, fishermen, and factory workers. They may have participated in history or simply been alive during historical events but they didn't write down their stories and, the bold truth of the matter, the only ones who are interested are their families. . . and that interest is held only by such curious descendants as myself and a few rare others. We don't know the true stories either, just simple facts.

My ancestor served from the beginning to the end of the Civil War as a Confederate volunteer in the Kentucky Calvary. At the end of the war he became a Mason and remained one to the end of his days. He had two sons and three daughters. He farmed and grew old. In his old age he lived with one son and then the other. He died in the home of a family who either simply took him in or was hired to take care of him.

For a man of his time it's probably a very ordinary life story. There is not much I can add to it. I could do more historical research and probably find a story to write but in the simple facts of his existence? I don't think so.
Such a story would only interest me, a few distant cousins, and possibly my older brother who is an amateur Civil War historian. But  there is probably a story there somewhere.

I know--everybody has a story.


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Go ahead--- list your website. I'd love to visit.