Thursday, 22 August 2013

Unlocking family stories - books

Exploring libraries and bookshops for relevant General Nonfiction,  Biographies and Fiction might provide context and / or facts for unlocking your family story.
The examples above are all books from my collection that provide background information about events experienced by family members. Sometimes they mention specific information about the person as well.
My father was a journalist at The Argus newspaper so The Argus, life and death of a newspaper is an important resource. One of the stories recounted by my father about the Second World War involved the evacuation of Crete, a story covered in Diggers and Greeks. With twelve convicts in the family The Rum Rebellion is an event that would have impacted on all their lives, especially Simeon Lord, a signatory of the petition to depose Governor Bligh. Another of my convicts, Uriah Moses, was Jewish so Australian Genesis  provides information about the lives of this minority group in the Sydney settlement. As my mother was a schoolgirl living at Rose Bay when the Japanese midget submarines entered Sydney Harbour in 1942 so Battle Surface provides interesting reading about these and other sightings of Japanese vessels off the Australian coast. 
When using non-fiction books for family history research always check the index as well as the contents and don't forget to investigate any relevant notes for further clues as well as appendices and the bibliography.
 Two of the books used when researching George Hutton's story about his first few years in Australia were Saltbush Country, a history of the Deniliquin area where George spent a few months in 1869 and Lillydale providing the area where George's father purchased a property and built a home for his family in the 1870s.
With family links going back to the Normans and Plantagenets it has been useful to read biographies about individuals and families. Many novels have also been written based on the lives, or supposed lives of people living during this period. The relationship between John of Gaunt and Katherine Roet has attracted the attention of a number of authors of romance novels - some well written and researched while others are unreadable.
Family milestones and / or reunions may promote the distribution or publication of  family histories while sometimes a family member may write and publish a story about an ancestor.

A word of caution: When using information to add to your family story always check the sources used by the author and, if possible, refer to a number of resources as not everything in print (or online) is necessarily factual.

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