Writing Personal Histories

I’ve been focusing my genealogy on the Cook line recently, on William Henry COOK in particular. To help guide my research, I’ve been compiling a list of dates and events that happened in William’s life.

As I compiled this list (and in the past, as I compiled other similar lists), it occured to me that this list of names and dates and places really doesn’t tell anything about the person themselves. And I got to thinking of what my life would look like, were it broken down into small, documentable dates and events.

It would be pretty boring:

22 April 1976 – Diana born in Medina, Medina County, Ohio. No birth father listed.

1980 US Census – Diana, four years old, living with mother Suzanne and grandmother Jessie LOWE in Medina, Medina County, Ohio.

Fall 1981 – Diana enrolled in Medina City Schools.

April 1984 – Diana baptised as LDS at Medina Ward, Medina, Medina County, Ohio.

[note: any future genealogist could well miss the fact that my family moved to Riverview FL from the summer of 1984 to June 1987]

June 1988 – Diana’s mother Suzanne marries Thomas STREZZE at the LDS temple in Kensington, Maryland.

1989 – Akron Beacon Journal lists Diana as a contestant in the regional spelling bee.

1990 US Census – Diana, age 14, living with mother Suzanne and stepfather Thomas STREZZE in Burbank, Wayne County, Ohio.

1991 – Suzanne divorces Thomas STREZZE. Residence given as Medina, Ohio.

June 1994 – Diana graduates from Buckeye High School, Medina, Medina County, Ohio.

August 1994 – Diana enters Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Wood County, Ohio. Major listed as Music Education.

Fall 1995 – Diana placed under Academic Suspension from BGSU.

October 1995 – Thomas STREZZE dies of a heart attack in Millersburg, Holmes County, Ohio.

Fall 1996 – Diana changes major to Visual Communication Technology.

2000 US Census – no record of Diana in this census. [note: I never sent in my census form]

May 2001 – Diana earns Bachelor of Science from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Wood County, Ohio.

24 May 2003 – Diana marries Aaron SCHNUTH in Bowling Green, Wood County, Ohio.

30 May 2003 – Diana’s grandmother, Jessie LOWE, dies of complications from lung cancer.

March 2004 – Mortgage recorded for Diana and Aaron in Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio.

OMG, could my life be any more stripped down? Maybe there are other things that might be documentable, but these are the kinds of things I’d be likely to find about my own ancestors.

Kind of makes me want to leave a legacy or something. Something to make me *real*.

Kind of makes me want to find what makes *them* real, too. I can find out all I want about where they lived and what they did and where they died, but it doesn’t necessarily tell me *who* they were.

That’s going to take a little more research.

3 thoughts on Writing Personal Histories

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  1. A list? Well yeah life is pretty boring when just broken down into a simple list. To someone outside of your circle, who knows nothing about you, that list my appear to be pretty mundane. But to know the stories that go along with “a list”–that’s another story. Will any of us leave a legacy? That remains to be seen. I am rambling so I’ll shut it.

  2. I suppose if I were to boil my life down to a list like that, it wouldn’t even be as telling as yours. I might need to leave a time capsule or something. A time capsule big enough to fit a tuba into.

  3. Your list is relly just starting and this is part of it.
    Keep taking photos keep writing keep being you and there is no way future generations won’t know who you are.

    YOU are my legacy