Write about a day in the life of one of your ancestors.
Whether you choose to write about an extraordinary day or just a typical one, writing about a day if the life of your ancestor will help you envision them as a real person, instead of just a name on your pedigree chart.
Think about telling someone you don’t know about a day in your life. What kinds of things would you tell them? You might tell them where the day took place, who you were with, when the day happened, how you did what you did and why you did it that way.
Who? Describe the People
Who were they with? What did the people look like? If you don’t have photographs of your ancestors, you could still base your description on what clothing and hair styles were typical for the time and place you were writing about. Was your ancestor a farmer? They no doubt spent a lot of time outside, and their skin would have had a weathered look. Was your ancestor a miner? They likely had coal dust embedded around their fingernails and had long since given up trying to scrub them clean.
Where? Set the Scene
Where were they? Describe the place. Use old photographs, old maps or descriptions from letters, diaries or books contemporary to their time and place. What sounds did they hear? What did they smell? What could they see?
When? Describe the Period
What was the weather like that day? Look it up in an historical newspaper. What were the events of the day? What news was on everyone’s lips?
How? Fill in the Details
How did your ancestor make a meal? What food was available to them and how would they have prepared it? How would they have performed their daily chores? How did they cope with what was happening in their lives?
Why? Figuring it all Out
Why is always the hardest question to answer. Every day brings choices from what to have for breakfast to making a life altering decisions. What decisions did your ancestors make and why do your think they make them?
Example: A Day in the Life of Jessie Bond
My great-grandfather, William Bond, was a Bombardier with the Royal Artillery and my great-grandmother Jessie followed him to Delhi India when his regiment was sent there soon after their marriage and the birth of their first child. Within less than a year, they had lost the baby. Their son had failed to thrive in India and had wasted away, dying before his first birthday. This is my story of the day of his funeral.
Share a link to your story in the comments below.