A Family Character Becomes A Book

Gayle Gresham offers a guest post that follows the theme of genealogy as research training ground for writers. 

          Thanks for inviting me, Cynthia. I caught the genealogy bug at a young age when my parents drove to Fairplay, Colorado searching for tidbits in newspapers about my g-g-grandfather, Wilburn Christison, who was a judge there in the 1880’s. Later, I wrote a paper for my Colorado history class about his son, Ernest Christison, who was a cattle rustler. Another history class taught me how to research primary sources and I was hooked for life.
          Tracking down the elusive ancestor gives me a thrill, but what I really love is getting to know that person. To me, it’s not about how far back I can go or how many charts I can complete. Instead, I want to put flesh on the bones; I want to know everything about that person and what made him or her tick. Perhaps this is where genealogy tips over into historical research.
          I’m fascinated with connections. For example, Wilburn Christison had an Indian trading post at Cash Creek and his obituary mentioned that Chief Colorow and Chief Saguache were his friends. These connections weren’t just a one-time deal, but lifetime relationships. They experienced good times and bad times together. I want to know more.
          My years of genealogical research resulted in a desire to share what I’ve discovered. I am writing a book about Ernest Christison, the cattle rustler, and I have plans to write one about Wilburn Christison. I will also be presenting a paper, “The Cash Creek Miners” at the Pikes Peak Regional History Symposium in Colorado Springs on Saturday June 6, 2009. Visit my blog http://ColoradoReflections.blogspot.com to learn more about my family history journey and to find research tips for Colorado family history.

Published in: on January 15, 2009 at 11:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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