Posts from 2019-04-05

Structuring my book; bringing 'A Country Squire' to life

I have thought hard about how my book should look and be structured. I did not want a traditional book, but something that was more of a collection of stories and able to tell about the lives of our ancestors. There are some twenty ancestors who came to Adelaide with their families, plus many more surname lines in England and Scotland who contributed to the gene pool, and many branches of these families in the generations after arrival. It is easy enough to write about these families in a chapter structure, but I also want to make it easy to switch between these groups as a reader follows their own particular journey through time.

On my family history website (, I have a database with each person having a page of information about themselves, with links to parents, partners and children. These pages contain key dates, anecdotal stories, newspaper articles and obituaries, and transcripts of source information. Unfortunately, there is no simple automated way to collect this information into narratives for my people, so I have chosen to write stories about each person/family one by one.

The easy part is that I will have a Chapter for each surname group, in alphabetical order. In the initial writing, there is around one page of the basic story of the key person who arrived in Adelaide, but including their origins from the other side of the world. I also am including an ancestor list and a descendant list of these people from my family history website. Later, I will revisit my work to add maps, source information, newspaper clips when appropriate, and any new information I discover or is provided by others.

Stage two will continue with written narratives about each family that has a connection to my existing narratives.This could add hundreds of new surnames to my list of narratives. One of my challenges that is not yet fully resolved is how I will be able to provide linking information to connect the many different surnames so that it is easy to track lineages from a distant ancestor to one's parent or grandparent. Each of my 20 key arrivals will have thirty two great great great grandparents (640 surnames), and those 20 people could each have more than one hundred living families. The size of my project is terrifying.