My A2Z 2016 theme is how to pursue an interest in family history/genealogy – I’d love you to join me on the journey.
J is for Journals
Journals, letters, diaries…how we wish for such genealogical gold! Sadly most of us aren’t lucky in that regard.
Having said that all is not lost. Once again, ask family members if they hold any of these treasures. Even old address books can be helpful in pinning down extended kin at a particular point in time.
Let’s make a likely assumption that our often illiterate ancestors left nothing of this nature behind. What do we do now?
THE CROSSING-THE-LINE CEREMONY ON BOARD THE TROOPSHIP “PORT SYDNEY”, WHICH LEFT MELBOURNE ON 1917-11-09. (DONATED BY MR C.W.L. MUECKE.) This image (out of copyright) from the Australian War Memorial, gives me an insight to my grandfather’s voyage to France during World War I.
.Check your national or state library’s catalogue to see if anyone else on the voyage took photos or wrote a journal about the voyage they were on. Oftentimes you will have to visit the library to read the journals but increasingly out-of-copyright images are being digitised…but not all of them. Remember the ethics and cite your sources.
Academic journals can also have information which puts your family’s life in their historical context – look not for their personal name, but the place name or a topic eg illegitimacies in Scotland in the 19th century. These will all help to inform you about your family’s circumstances, tell you whether they were typical or atypical, and add richness to your story. The JSTOR facility, available through reference libraries, is another fantastic resource and you may be able to read the journal articles from the comfort of home if you have a membership card to the library (note, not your local library, if such a thing hasn’t been done away with, thanks to government cuts).