Faith is almost the bottom line of creativity; it requires a leap of faith any time we undertake a creative endeavor, whether this is going to the easel, or the page, or onto the stage – or for that matter, in a homelier way, picking out the right fabric for the kitchen curtains, which is also a creative act.
Julia Cameron – Teacher, Author, Artist & Poet
I wanted to tell you how important it was to me to have started my blog, how scary the thought of doing something like this was, and why I stepped outside of my comfort zone and took my “leap of faith” to create the Keeper Of Stories.
Towards the end of last year I was researching the life of a long lost 3rd cousin and I stumbled across a scintillating story of betrayal, lies, disappearances and deceit. The story had me fascinated and I couldn’t let it go, but after researching this single event in my family member’s life I found she moved thousands of miles away to South Africa – and I can’t trace her family anywhere. She has just disappeared from our history. It took a couple of weeks, but the thought finally occurred to me how very sad it was to be remembered for ones indiscretions in life, and not for all the wonderful things she might have done for her family and friends, the funny stories she may have told, the talents she would have displayed or the magical moments that dotted her lifetime.
I started my blog for 2 reasons. Firstly, I wanted to make a difference in the way our family looked at and remembered itself. Secondly, I didn’t want people – anybody – to forget the wonderful men and women who have contributed to our family story just by living their very normal lives. I don’t want my family members to disappear into the nothingness of time. To my way of thinking no-one deserves to be summed up on their headstone – Here lies Joe Bloggs b. ??? d. ??? . Good old Great Uncle Joe could have been a hard worker, a brilliant horseman, a talented poet, a brave soldier, a loving parent or an accomplished but unknown artist – but who would remember those things 100 years later if they weren’t recorded somewhere.
The way I see it, if my blog helps just one person in their quest to research their family history then I will have fulfilled my life’s dream, whilst living a very ordinary life.
During the last 12 months, whilst my blog hasn’t set the world on fire with it’s scintillating content it has, to my way of thinking, served its original objective – my original objective. The other day my “leap of faith” in starting a family history blog payed off for the 4th time this past year. I was contacted by a 2nd French family who were trawling the net and realised that the Mary Whiteman I had featured was in fact their great, great, grandmother. They knew nothing about the Australian family of Whiteman’s, and I was able to help them with information on their “Aussie Connection”. The Whiteman family was not all my own research as I have been helped with my research by some wonderful family members over the years, but some of the research was mine and I took pride in handing it all on. In return I have gained information on a line of the family I didn’t even know existed! In total 2 Australian families and 2 French families have now made contact with each other as a result of The Keeper of Stories.
And now I have been bitten by the bug!! I can’t wait to put more on the blog. Stories about tragedy, love, hardship, adventure and endurance. I can add favourite recipes, interviews with living family members and my views on world politics – well, maybe I won’t go that far! There is just so much to tell people about, that I can hardly find enough hours in the day to type!
This month we will celebrate our first birthday by branching out a little. I will add a comprehensive story on the first convict to be found in our family history adventure. Rowland Allsop arrived in Australia in 1838 and I have written about his life in three parts. He is my husbands great, great, Grandfather and I do hope you enjoy the story of this man’s turbulent life.
I’ve come to believe that greatness is not achieving world fame or having your name splashed across glossy magazines. Greatness is about following your heart, reaching for your dreams and exploring your talents whilst living a very ordinary life. I haven’t invented history changing devices, interviewed any of the worlds most influential people or written world best sellers, but in my very ordinary life I have managed to help connect family from around the world, and with their help I have added branches to my own tree that I never knew existed. Everyone is, and rightly deserves to be, a great person.