Then my mind gravitated to the use of "color" in genealogy. Basically, genealogy is colorless, unless you think that black, white, grey and sepia represent the entire color spectrum. Think about it - documents are almost always black and white; gravestones are almost always grey; and most photos before the 1950's or so were almost always black and white, with a bit of sepia thrown in here and there.
If you consider that words portray a "color", you have to agree that the writing in many family history websites (and books) are somewhat colorless. For example, many of the words in these websites/books include wording like this:
"So and So was born in some location on such and such a date and married Mrs. So and So on some date in some location, and then So and So died on such and such a date in some location and was buried at some cemetery.
I don't know about you but that language doesn't float my boat or entice me to read more.
So what can we do to add color to our genealogy work and writing? Here are some suggestions:
- For gosh sake, write about more than the dates of the events in your ancestors lives. How about some stories, or photos?
- Most documents, including newspaper articles are in black and white. But some have some color, for example recent death certificates. My Mom and Dad's for example are blue and black and one has a pink border. Scan them in color and display them that way in your writings.
- When you scan photos, scan n color unless it is purely black and white. Retain the sepia tone if it is an old one and don't convert to black and white. Even older color photos can be faded and have lousy color, but there are lots of photo enhancing software packages that can bring the color back and make it look better.
- When you scan old letters - if they are yellowed from age - retain that coloring - it gives the letters a sense of history.
- When you write about your ancestors - remember that you are not writing for yourself - you are writing for an audience. Don't worry if you don't consider yourself a great writer. Make the writing and images enticing to the reader so that someone will actually read it.
All of us know the glazed over look we get from our relatives when talking about our family tree. But ears perk up when we tell them that they were murdered, or were a murderer or a rum runner, or a war hero, or committed suicide, etc. etc. Or they died at Andersonville or at Auschwitz (two true examples from my own tree). Make sure that these examples of "color" get into your writings.
Make "orange" the new black, white, grey and sepia in your genealogy!