The Clarity of Hindsight


Ol’ Blue Eyes had a few, and I’ll wager that you do too.

While certainly not part of a traditional genealogy, writing about your regrets – whether missed opportunities or how you would do something differently – makes for a rich family history worth reading.

By their nature, regrets tend not to be pleasant memories to reminisce about around the dinner table. They can, however, serve as powerful stories to pass along warnings, encouragement, or merely understanding of a complex personality.

Now, I’m not talking about momentary regrets, as in “I shouldn’t have had that third margarita after eating the entire plate of nachos.” If we’re going to craft a narrative around regret, we need to be able to draw a larger lesson out of it, to give it the perspective that typically only comes with a few years’ hindsight.

Patience Please

We've made it through January with our regular posting schedule, but some external complications are frustrating February's posts.

Until things get sorted out, The Family Yarn will be on hiatus. We'll see you all soon.

I encourage you all to check out The Family History Writing Challenge being facilitated by Lynn Palermo. I'm planning to participate, if I can find the time!

Thanks for understanding!

Fifth Friday Focus: Vacations

When was the last time you took a vacation? It could be a trip to visit family or an excursion halfway around the world (maybe it was both!). Where did you go and who did you take with you?

Good Travelers!

Have you ever stopped to think about the economic luxury that a vacation belies? A few generations ago, most families could not ever hope to afford a large trip even once, let alone on a regular basis. The demands of agricultural life and its seasonal rhythms prevented a farm family from leaving for any extended period of time.

Today, thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of technology, many of us can afford to have leisure time and take a week or two for a “get-away.” Sometimes the trip is long and far away; sometimes a staycation is in order and you become a tourist in your own hometown.

Dust off that photo album and spend a few moments reliving a recent vacation. What new experiences did you have? How did you travel: train, plane, car, boat, or foot? What were the favorite memories made by the people with whom you traveled?

Write down the story of your vacation, share it with your family, and include a copy with your photos. The stereotypical post-trip slideshow may be a tired annoyance, but I can assure you that someone will be interested to read about your travels – leave them a great story to enjoy!

Types of Narratives: Timelines

Here at The Family Yarn we encourage you to pursue Narrative Genealogy – recording in written form the unique story of your family so that future generations can read with interest about where they came from.

Narratives can take a number of forms, and throughout January, we’re talking about different types of narratives and how they can contribute to your family’s story. Catch up with our previous posts on autobiography & memoir, journals & diaries, and vignettes.

While not narratives per se, timelines can be invaluable in helping to craft a narrative for an individual or family.

It Runs In The Family

Some families have rich stories to tell of the first child to get off the farm and go to college, or the machinist's tools passed from generation to generation. Occupations and work can prove to be very interesting themes for your narratives.