I love to study my family’s history. It all started when I discovered the dilapidated photo of my great-great grandfather Britton (see below) who was a private in the Civil War. I also discovered a booklet written by a great-great uncle; he chronicled his many adventures in the Civil War. Several ancestors fought on both sides of the that great war. Suddenly, history became much more personal.
If you enjoy writing like I do, your family history can also be an inspiration for your stories. The ideas for my novel, The Guide and my short story, The Better Country, were born from studying my family’s past. You’ll notice a major theme in my writing being the outdoors. And at some point, all of our ancestors were outdoorsmen. We can learn so much from our ancestors and the trail they have blazed–even if it’s just a deep appreciation for the life they lived. It has forced me to consider what legacy I’m passing down to my descendants.
Anyway, I wanted to pass on a couple of great free resources that will help you with organizing your family history and restoring old family photos.
- https://familysearch.org/products I’m not a Mormon, but my Mormon cousin shared this free resource that you can download and keep track of your family history. I have used this tool for organizing and storing my family records.
- http://www.getpaint.net/ This graphics/photo editing program can be downloaded for free. This program took the old picture of my great-great grandfather and transformed it into the picture below. I used the cloning tool to remove the tears, the cracks and to fill in the missing parts. I loved this picture so much that I made it the cover for my eBook short story, The Better Country.
After I restored the original picture, I hired a graphics designer and he created the final eBook cover below.
If you’d like to download a free copy of my short story, The Better Country, click here and then use the coupon code FY37Q. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed writing it!
What about you? I would love to hear how your family history has inspired you.