Monday, December 5, 2011

My Newbie Status Revoked?

Am busy collecting tidbits of information about my 5th GGF Nehemiah Newans and weaving them into a narrative of his life. I've constructed a timeline (see tab at top) that's been indispensable for ready reference as I plow through information that may or may not be relevant. That was a good and useful idea.

That done, up pops the desire to weave a narrative out of it, put flesh on the bones so to speak. So off I went to do that. But I got bogged down with the story of General Braddock and set the project aside for a while. Best to let it cool off.

When I returned to the project I saw how big it was, and rambling too. Who'd want to read that mess? And that was the purpose: to have a document that captured what I'd found out, citing sources, enfolded in relevant history, for others to read. It had to be readable. That was job one! Cousin bait, descendants bait... whatever you want to call it.

In writing there's a maxim: I didn't have time to write you a short letter so I wrote a long one. Long essays and letters usually suffer from TMI Syndrome... too much information. Therefore I knew if I could write a cogent short story about Nehemiah's life, it would be less daunting to flesh the short one out  than it would to simply try to build a skyscraper of a document.

Funny thing is that at about the fourth draft of the short story I saw that it was really the little book (see tab above, Ancestral History, etc.) that drove the engine of the narrative. So that's the way it went.

When the short story was finished and Mom gave her seal of approval, I thought what the heck, I'd send it off to the newsletter editor of the Genealogical Society of  Allegheny County, Maryland.  What's the worse that could happen... they'd say no thanks. Harriet couldn't have been nicer! She replied to my email pretty fast and my article is going to run in the Old Pike Post.

So... is my newbie status in question as I'll soon have a published article? No, I don't think so. I think "newbie" is a state of mind... I really don't know very much about this genealogy stuff. I'm just doggedly persistent with way too much focus on one tiny detail at any given time. I have no clue, mostly, as to what I need to do next. I get lost in the forest of the trees and can't see what's what. And citing sources is the bane of my life. Yup, I'm still a wet behind the ears newbie!

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