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Journals & Diaries

The Kilted Ancestors prompt for June 2023 in line with the Annual Genealogy Challenges & Triumphs topic was in relation to Journals & Diaries.

Sadly, in my own research I have not had the fortune to have been passed any family Journals or Diaries. I was passed a really small pocket diary that was owned by an uncle unfortunately it did not contain much more than dates of birthdays etc.

You may wonder what the difference is between a journal and a diary & this is a debated topic, so I will try to expand on it.

A diary is for recording feelings on a particular day, for example, what you did where you went. In Short Day to Day Activities. It will not however, go in-depth into your feelings surrounding those activities & it may also be kept much longer than a journal.

A journal on the other hand can be formed from exercises or topics and can delve into the feelings and emotions surrounding a particular event. Finally, in a journal development and growth milestones can be identified. This wouldn’t really happen in a diary in other words, a diary is less purposeful. this can be confusing as often diarists’ works are referred to as journals, so think more as a journal being something that captures a specific time period & a diary being a more permanent part of your daily life.

Diaries as I mentioned are things that detail your day-to-day activities & appointments, as far back as I can remember my mother has kept one. These detail everything from how we got on at school to places we went on holiday & perhaps what we had for dinner on a particular day. Check to see if any of your relatives wrote a daily diary. They are a great way of placing a person or family in a particular place at a particular time.

Fairly recently I completed a course in Journal Therapy & although this is used a lot these days in promoting better Mental Health, I tweaked the concept to produce a Genealogy Journalling Presentation.

Why not make your own Journal to record your Family Memories?

We can perhaps draw inspiration from some famous personalities such as Anne Lister, Anne Frank or Queen Victoria.

Writing in a Journal is an amazing way of getting your thoughts & feelings down onto paper. More recently I have come to realise that in jotting down notes in relation to my own family history it can make seeing gaps in your research much easier.

How nice would it be to pass your own Journals relating to you research down the family?

Journals could include the following: -

  • Detailing your Genealogy Research Journey, what you found & where & how it made you feel.

  • Writing lists of things, you need to do to progress your research, books you want to buy or courses you want to take.

  • Unsent letters, if you could write a letter to an Ancestor who is no longer living what would you write to them about?

  • Capture moments in your Journal, write about the important milestones in your own life.

  • Write about each of your relatives your memories of them & what your relationship was like.

  • Write about your earliest memories, what events changed you as a person?

  • Create Biographical Summaries for yourself or your Ancestors.

The list goes on! You can find a lot of Journalling prompts via our Pinterest pages.


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