Monday, February 10, 2014

Writing Prompts


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There will be no blog posts from the 14th -17th

Genealogy tip for the day: Writing Prompts

Would you like to have a written family history, but don’t think you can do it? Or, do you want to do it but don’t know how to get started? Maybe you have that typical “writer’s block.”  Did you see the last post that gives you information about a Family History Writing Challenge? Check out that last post and get your pen in motion. …If you can.J

 Sometimes, that’s just the problem, thought, getting started. So let’s look at some ideas that may get you started:

          How long has your family been in America? Some families can trace their family line back to the days this continent was being settled and explored. Others trace them back to the years after the US was founded. Some folks’ ancestors were here when the foreigners arrived! Whatever your situation, it will determine what kind of story you write.

My family, on my Dad’s side (paternal line), only go back 5 generations counting myself. In that case, I am a fifth generation German-American. There are 2 lines that I haven’t been able to get past the 4th or 5th generation, so I don’t know when the first ones came to America there. The rest of them came before 1776, some even on the Mayflower. If you estimate 4 generations per century that’s about 16 generations ago!!

You might want to play a little movie in your head about the arrival of your ancestor, what they went through, time period, their experiences in getting settled in a new country, what was happening in history at that time. Sometimes that's a big factor to their coming to America - as in the Irish Potato Famine.

You may not know all the answers to these questions, but it will get you going and maybe you can think of others points as well.

Here are some more suggestions:
          Write about a family reunion or party.
          Write about your favorite Christmas as a child.
          Write about introducing your intended to your family.
          Write about a special event such as graduation, wedding, child’s birth...
          Write about your favorite teacher or subject in school, or childhood friend or playmate.
          Write about your favorite vacation-where you went, what you did, how old you were.
          Write about foods - what you liked, disliked, your mom's cooking, having a garden or not, favorite recipes.
          Write about childhood illnesses or hospitalizations.

And one tip that always stuck with me, write just 15 minutes a day and you will be surprised at the end of the week you may have a complete story. Over time you will have written a surprising large amount of pages of your history.

Maybe this will get your started. Tomorrow we’ll post where you can find helps and suggestions to writing your story.

“History is who we are; Genealogy is who I am” sg

If any of these posts are helpful drop us a line in the comments section below. We just want to know if the information we provide to you is beneficial in anyway.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's wedding

February 10

Huegu, a Mongol leader, seizes Baghdad, bringing an end to the Abbasid caliphate.

Supporters of Marie de Medici, the queen mother, who has been exiled to Blois, are defeated by the king's troops at Ponts de Ce, France.

The Treaty of Paris ends the French-Indian War. France gives up all her territories in the New World except New Orleans and a few scattered islands.

Napoleon Bonaparte leaves Cairo, Egypt, for Syria, at the head of 13,000 men.

Napoleon personally directs lightning strikes against enemy columns advancing toward Paris, beginning with a victory over the Russians at Champaubert.


Led by religious leader Brigham Young, the first Mormons begin a long westward exodus from Nauvoo, Il., to Utah.

P.T. Barnum's star midgets, Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, are married.


President Wilson blasts the British for using the U.S. flag on merchant ships to deceive the Germans.

Japanese occupy island of Hainan in French Indochina.

London severs diplomatic relations with Romania.

Iceland is attacked by German planes.


B-29s hit the Tokyo area.

Bell Aircraft displays a fixed-wing vertical takeoff plane.

Adolph Coors, the beer brewer, is kidnapped in Golden, Colo.

Protester David Miller is convicted of burning his draft card.

The Metropolitan Museum announces the first major theft in 110-year history, $150,000 Greek marble head.

The largest Mafia trial in history, with 474 defendants, opens in Palermo, Italy.
Born on February 10

Boris Pasternak, Russian novelist and poet (Dr. Zhivago).

Jimmy Durante, American comedian and film actor.

Harold MacMillan, British prime minister (1957-1963).

John F. Enders, virologist.

Bertolt Brecht, German poet and dramatist (The Threepenny Opera).

Stella Adler, actress and teacher.

Walter Brattain, physicist, one of the inventors of the transistor.

Dominique Georges Pire, Belgian cleric and educator.

Larry Adler, harmonica virtuoso.

Alex Comfort, English physician and author (Joy of Sex).

(Mary Violet) Leontyne Price, opera singer.

Jimmy Durante

Advanced civilizations, intelligent machines, interplanetary travel, and beyond -- science fiction is fascinating. This is fiction based on science, not myths or fairy tales.

The imagination of science fiction has prompted scientists to turn some of the fiction into reality, whether it's artificial satellites orbiting the earth, digital personal assistants answering spoken questions, or doctors transplanting critical organs.

Many everyday terms, like cyberspace, were coined in science fiction. This week we'll see five words that arose in science fiction and have now become part of the English language.



verb tr.: To understand deeply and intuitively.

Coined by Robert A. Heinlein in his science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land. Earliest documented use: 1961.

In Stranger in a Strange Land, Heinlein describes grok as a Martian word meaning "to drink". That's the literal meaning, however, figuratively it means to understand something in a profound way. To grok something is to be one with it in a way that the observer and the observed become merged.

"Any first-time Apple user immediately groks the nature of the device."
Melvin Bukiet; Me and My Mac; The Chronicle of Higher Education (Washington, DC); Oct 16, 2011.

What is laid down, ordered, factual is never enough to embrace the whole truth: life always spills over the rim of every cup. -Boris Pasternak, poet and novelist (1890-1960)

Today’s Recipe
February - Chocolate Lover’s Month

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups (20 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
3 extra-large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Grease and flour a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a bowl set over simmering water. Add 2 cups of the chocolate chips, remove from the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts. Set aside to cool completely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, coffee, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cooled chocolate. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the walnuts. Fold the flour mixture into the batter until just combined. Pour into the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is puffed (the top may crack). The inside will still be very soft. Cool to room temperature before removing the sides of the tart pan.

Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips with the heavy cream and drizzle on the tart.


Now You Know!