Maintaining a family tree gives you a real good chance to imagine what each person could have been like. Each individual chapter playing a role in a long plot of a family history. Well written books include great plot lines with exciting scenes the good authors write using an imagination loaded with visual images that find a way to be written onto the page. But for me what makes a book great, or a movie also, is the character description along with the dialog use to move the story along.
For example, Keeping our family tree gives me a chance to imagine what the character of John Henry Murphy was and how I could describe him in different imagined settings alone or with family members. Perhaps a scene from 1914 where our grandfather John Henry was looking into buying the family a motor car and perhaps being the first in the neighborhood to contemplate buyinga car. A scene where he has to seek his wife’s Rose’s approval to put their limited savings toward the purchase price of the car. We all can relate to a scene where negotiation is used to buy something-even the young begin negotiating with parents for various wants.
Of course, with the lives of our ancestors living through terrible times of diseases and troubles it’s easy to think of a character from our tree having to discuss with the family the prevailing dangers and threats to his or her’s children.
I imagine a scene from around 1855 where , one of the earliest ancestors in our Tree , the couple, Anton(Michael) and Ursula Bartelmess have to try to help their children understand the awful results of ongoing diphtheria epidemic that had gripped areas throughout the eastern US. They had emigrated to the US and had settled in upper New York State probably sometime in 1850. Except for Anna Justina, the three other sons were old enough to observe the dying all around them. I imagine Anton with Ursula trying to explain what is happening with the spread of the disease from family to family. In the opening pages of Dorothea’s book “The Murphy Family Tree” she describes the situation in Obenberg, New York where the diphtheria plague occurred.
Dorothea begins the part of our story by saying that she doesn’t “know what happened to Anton and Ursula” but she seems to reach the conclusion that these two ancestors perish as a result of the diphtheria outbreak.
But back to my main point of this post: the numerous stories to be told and even written, with characteristics of the people and the times to be included. We are all students, whether formal or not, and we all can study the history of our families and tell or write stories that describe the fascinating individuals.
I’m sure this idea wii lead to a future post. Have a great day.