It’s been awhile since I’ve put finger to keyboard for a new blog post. Where the heck have I been? Well, let me tell you…
I put out a family newsletter at the end of the year. This isn’t your typical “what we did last summer” kind of thing. It’s a family history newsletter for my Portuguese side of the tree. The first section is dedicated to current news and family happenings from cousins in my Pacheco-de Braga tree. The second section is family history, recaps of research I’ve done, and sharing of family stories. The whole newsletter is 4 pages long. I’ve been writing it for 14 years.
It takes considerable time for me to put it together. I usually keep some notes throughout the year (but I’m not that organized). Then, around September, I do some searches in the Social Security Death Index to see who has passed on. I do some Google searches, check a couple newspapers near where most of the family members live, etc. Then, I send out emails to about 50 or so cousins to ask them for any news they might have. This part is the most difficult. It’s hard to convince people they have something worthwhile to share. I think sometimes they think they must really achieve something to be included. In reality, it’s just the regular comings and goings of daily life (vacations, new jobs, retirements, classes taken, new homes, children born, etc.)
I finished my part in the newsletter the first week of December. Proofed, corrected, rewrote, and then proofed again. Then, I let it sit a bit. There is always someone who pops up just as I am about to print the darn thing with info on a marriage or death.
This year I surpassed myself. Meaning, I screwed up and wrote way too many stories! LOL I keep the newsletter in MS Works in two files so that the header only appears on page one. If I put all four pages together, it screws up the spacing. Well, I forgot the second file was supposed to be 3 pages, not 4. So, I kept writing. I wasted a lot of time putting together that extra material. The good thing is I’m already started on the 2014 newsletter! 😀 I’ve got almost 2 pages ready to go.
You might wonder why I go through all this effort. Several years ago, it dawned on me that many people were sharing their family stories with me, but I didn’t have a way to reciprocate. I began to feel burdened with all the stories and information I was collecting. Family history really doesn’t mean much if you don’t share. This is my way of making sure as many people as possible know our shared history and that it stays alive.
I sent out the newsletter Wednesday. Now I can focus on Christmas and then getting back to my other writing. I really need to get caught up on the Book of Me post. I’m behind by 4, I think.
Hope your holidays are merry!
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com