Histories in the making
Were any of your ancestors involved in the rail disaster at Straffan Station in 1853 when a goods train smashed into a stationary passenger train, killing 18 people?
Or perhaps you have family who lived through the greatest prison break in Irish history, when 149 anti-treaty POWs managed to tunnel their way out of Newbridge prison camp in October 1922.
You may be surprised at the times in which your recent ancestors lived, according to a new company which aims to make the past a present for future generations with a revolutionary new way of compiling family histories, which will prove a boon for those planning upcoming celebrations.
A unique new service, Histories In The Making, presents people’s family research in a readable and informative way, putting that information into a wider historical context and delivering it in a way that is readable for all the family.
They also deliver that research in more tech-friendly way by offering their clients updatable, interactive web pages that can be sent to family members all around the globe.
Most families have an amateur historian – the one person who provides information on the family tree if a milestone celebration or gathering is planned.
However, with the oral tradition dying, and many families now connected digitally around the world, there is a fear that this information will become stagnant or lost.
“We want to package the past for families. Very often, people will either have scraps of information about an ancestor or they might have a vast tome of genealogical research that is difficult to read,” said David Lawlor, of Histories In The Making.
“We knit their stories together and package what people have discovered, putting it into a broader historical context.
“We produce printed posters and brochures, and also offer clients a secure digital file, which is easily updated to the entire family network in real time, allowing the family history to grow organically as time moves on.
“Once you have sent the file to family members, any subsequent additions to it will automatically update on the original file received by relatives.”
David Lawlor, a journalist and history blogger who has written six novels, likes nothing more than to tell a story.
“I want families’ ancestral stories to be personal and not dry pieces of information that people struggle to relate to,” said David.
“Histories In The Making brings family histories to life and gives people more of a sense of both who their ancestors were and times they lived in.
“As the country starts to wind down its centenary celebrations for 1916, one thing is for sure – the past has never felt so present in all our lives.
“Over the course of the year, families here and abroad have looked back at 1916 and at broader events in World War I to see what their ancestors did during that seismic time in history.
“An industry has grown up around people’s search to understand who they are and where their ancestors came from.
“With more and more families migrating to far-flung lands, the bonds that tie relatives together are being stretched to breaking point.
“The oral history that was once passed down from generation to generation about our ancestors is being lost.
“Thankfully, there are family members who will step forward and try to retrieve their pasts through genealogical research.
“The downside to that lies in the dry, uninspiring report that is usually the product of such work – which is where we come in.”
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your own stories or let us know here at the Leinster Leader.