A very significant day
Today is a very significant day in my family.
On this day, 27th October 1841 my ancestors set foot on Australian soil for the very first time.
I was not aware of this special date until recently. Last weekend we had a huge family reunion, something that was 166 years in the making. My great, great, great Grandfather and his family left their homeland in Prussia (now Poland) and travelled on a perilous journey to the new colony of South Australia. The fledgling settlement was not even five years old. They left their homeland behind forever because of religious persecution. The new land offered freedom, opportunity and the promise of a new beginning.
It was a brave move indeed. On the long journey to South Australia my great, great, great Grandfather died on the ship, along with one of his children. Another family from the same village also travelled on the same ship. The mother and four of five children also died on the voyage. It seemed that their brave adventure would come to an end before they had even arrived.
Within the first year of their arrival, these two families merged into one through marriage. The rest, as they say, is history. The descendants now number over six thousand and the family has had a significant impact on the development of this state, and of other parts of Australia.
With the launch of the family history book last weekend, the bare bones of the history and heritage of my family has been well documented. I enjoy reading historical accounts but this book could only tell part of the story. During our celebrations last weekend I couldn’t help but think that the story of my family’s epic struggle for survival would make a wonderful novel or series of novels – even a film.
I didn’t really need another writing project, but this one is just begging to be written.
I am told I have a talent for writng stories and poetry but it just needs to be tailored. I have for the first time started to branch ou into a larger story rather that 3000 words.
Turning family history into a novel or two seems like a wonderful concept. It made me think that fiction and non-fiction could be combined into something the reader would have to decide what was and what wasn’t.
Thanks for your comments Steve.
Turning history facts into fiction has some advantages and some pitfalls as well.
One of the advantages is that you basically have the plot line already. In many cases historical accounts are full of drama and lend themselves to retelling in fascinating ways that only a novel can achieve. It may well bring the story to life with real characters, real events and a totally believable story line.
One of the dangers, however, is that the facts may need to become blurred at the edges in order for the story to remain interesting. This may upset the historical purists, especially where family is concerned. It may be expedient to tamper with the truth for the story to remain consistent, or for the plot to be believable.
Novels and films that are “based on a true story” often raise more questions than they answer.
[…] few weeks ago I wrote about the family reunion we recently […]