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Written Relatives: Family History Workshop – 7 December

Another enjoyable and informative session of Ayr Writers’ Club was held at the Mercure Hotel on Wednesday 7 December. The large gathering was addressed by Linda Brown and Kathy Wallace who focussed on giving us advice on finding our roots along with the added bonus of discovering the numerous untold or forgotten stories about one’s own people and thus potentially realizing a hitherto untapped wealth of tales and ideas which could be used as fodder for writing our articles, short stories, non-fiction pieces, blogs, novel plots, biographies, plays, and so on. The list is endless as are the possibilities.

 The ladies also spoke about the discipline of tracing roots not just as a new hobby or writing prompt, but as a means of filling that need and hunger in all of us to know who we are and where we are from.

 However, most hobbies require some financial outlay and ancestry researching is no different but Linda and Kathy prepared a list of web sites for us, some of which are free, and have forwarded them to each of us by email. They also mentioned purchasing credits which can cut costs considerably by allowing one to spend practically the whole day working on library systems for a few pounds.

 The talk given by the two ladies was both moving and inspirational. They shared stories about their own searches. We empathized with the sadness of some of the characters’ endings. They also demonstrated through their stories, the “in your face” reality of exactly how hard and unforgiving life can be.

 But, throughout the evening, the sheer enthusiasm and pride displayed by the two speakers when discussing their peoples’ stories and escapades was highly contagious and I am sure many of us will be motivated to pick up our pens with intentions renewed. 

 Marie Whiteside

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