Earlier this week, I came across an interview on the Yes and Yes website with personal historian, Rachael Rifkin. What is a personal historian, you might ask? She talks about it as being “part ghost writer, part historian”, hence the term ‘ghostorian’. She interviews people about their lives and puts together a chronicle in book format, complete with photos, to help preserve family stories. It’s almost like writing a biography, but about a regular person. And as it turns out, there is a marketplace for this type of work.
People love family stories, but often the stories tend to disappear when our relatives pass away. And while it might seem simple enough to jot down the details, it can be more complex to make the story into something comprehensible and available to other family members. Personal historians will interview people, whether it’s a grandparent, a celebration of a new baby, or another important event, and then put everything together into a book format. They’ll take the time to organize photos and really pull out the important bits of information to make the history sound like a great piece of non-fiction. It might take months for a small project, or years for something larger, but wouldn’t it be worthwhile to protect something that could be passed down for generations?
If you do genealogy, this could be a really interesting way to branch off and focus on one of your immediate family members. Or if you had letters from a great-grandmother, it might be a nice way to show her story from beginning to end.
There are plenty of places online where you can find a personal historian, including the Association of Personal Historians . You can even check out Rachael’s own website to see what she offers. She even has samples of some of the books she’s put together.
Are there people in your family you’d love to do this with? Don’t wait until it’s too late!
Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the historic invasion on Normandy’s beaches June 6, 1944. At the library, we have a fascinating display of articles from that time period, as well as a number of books on the subject. We even have a poem by our very own Joe McNeill which tells a heart-felt story about his father and the D- Day invasion.
Best of all, you can pop over to our sister blog, Carleton Place Local History, to read a fascinating commemorative article about this moment and history, and see more of the photos. If you don’t visit this blog on a regular basis, you might want to take a few minutes to really look through past posts. This is your best spot to find out more about the history of Carleton Place and the people who have lived here. History is fascinating!
Our young library patrons LOVE the “ology” books….Dragonology, Egyptology, Monsterology etc. Each book comes with items like envelopes stuffed with secret treasure, magnifying glasses to look at encrypted papers, pieces of topic-related memorabilia to really give kids a hands-on exploration of each subject. At first, we thought these books might be a lost cause…losing any of the items in the books would make for disappointed readers, but for the most part, our youngest readers seem to treat these books like they are actual treasure and care for them with the utmost respect.
So when I heard about this new book from Brad Meltzer, straight from the History Channel’s show History Decoded, I got excited! It’s called HISTORY DECODED: THE 10 GREATEST CONSPIRACIES OF ALL TIME. It’s got all of the great conspiracies…from who shot JFK to the question about what’s inside Fort Knox. But the best part is that each chapter includes a custom-designed envelope, made to look like something from the time period or case, and inside are facsimiles of relevant evidence. how about reviewing the will of John Wilkes Booth, or taking a close look at JFK’s death certificate. Each envelope is meant to provide the reader with hands-on items to help them understand the cases better. Doesn’t this sound like fun?
Whether or not this is a new trend, we’ll have to wait and see.
In the early morning hours of April 15th, 1912, the RMS Titanic sank into the cold Atlantic ocean after striking an iceberg only a few hours before. It was one of the worst nautical accidents in history, and has been the center of many books, movies, and websites. We even had a special Titanic Craft Night at the library on the 100th anniversary of the sinking, where we all made our own Titanics to take home.
Today is Titanic Remembrance Day, and if you’re interested in learning more about that fateful voyage, we have lots of fascinating new books at the library about it!
TITANIC LOVE STORIES by Gill Paul, has thirteen true stories about honeymooning couples who sailed on the Titanic.
John Welshman’s TITANIC: THE LAST NIGHT OF A SMALL TOWN chronicles the stories of crew members and passengers of all ranks and status aboard the Titanic.
and VOYAGERS OF THE TITANIC : PASSENGERS, SAILORS, SHIPBUILDERS, ARISTOCRATS, AND THE WORLDS THEY CAME FROM by Richard Davenport-Hines
Of course, there are many more to choose from, in the adult section as well as the juvenile area, so drop in and ask us where to find them. This will remain a fascinating topic for many years to come.
The library is closed today for Remembrance Day.
It’s always interesting to see what people are reading…whether they’re famous or not-so-famous. But how about what our ancestors were reading? At the library, Shirley is compiling a great series called “What Were They Reading?” on the Carleton Place Local History Blog.
Find out what people in our community associated with our library’s history were reading back in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. Did they enjoy fiction? Historical non-fiction? Political books? The classics? Keep up with this fascinating series which begins here.