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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree Christmas 2017 > It’s the way we tell ‘em

It’s the way we tell ‘em

Flex those neurons to regale others with some of the wonderful tales from your own history, says Diane Lindsay


Using your memory

As I never cease telling both my family history and my creative writing students, when all else fails, your finest source of inspiration is your own memory. One of the first things I’ve had to convince folks of over the years is that the longer we live, the fuller our memory bank of stories grows, that all lives are interesting and the minutiae, the bits we don’t think anyone would be interested in, are often those that are most productive. For instance, last week, arising out of a session on the gems to be found in school log books, and the historical background to mass education, I amused the class by describing how my first C of E classroom was arranged in tiers with the top class at the back and the ‘babies’ at the front on benches, writing on slates with chalk. It looked exactly like a photograph I have of the same room in the 1880s. I promise you that, though I’m not quite that old, the truth of the matter is that much of the school had been bombed, so my first years were in the 1877 building, over a century old. So, despite the 1944 Education Act, its curriculum was a delightful melange of Norse legends, Hereward the Wake, bits of the Old Testament which today might need parental guidance controls, and lots of music played on a wind up gramophone with a horn or on the fiddle by the headmaster. And no sums other than tens and units.

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About Family Tree

Welcome to the Christmas issue of Family Tree – we’ve got festive family history treats galore in store for you. Dive into our delicious feast of digitised documents – rare historic collections for you to enjoy browsing and researching on your device. Enjoy some genealogy jollies: a family history crossword, quiz and memories of Christmas traditions from centuries past. And last but not least, this issue sees the launch of the Family Tree Academy – this is your opportunity to hone your family history skills. In part 1, this issue, we’ve got documents for you to decipher, old handwriting for you to transcribe and a research case study for you to pit your wits against. Join in with our learning experience today to become a better family historian!