Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Writing

Stripper Girl

CNF is challenging enough, but when it’s about ancestors and family history it adds a whole new layer of challenge. This subject sticks with me as I try to construct my own familial literature.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

A guest post from Melissa Ballard:

Family history. Why would anyone waste their time with it?

In the summer of 1993, I agreed to do just a bit of ancestral research, at the request of my great-uncle. I was quickly lured into the mysteries of century-old handwriting, sepia-toned photographs, and the personal details in local newspapers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

I began to write essays about my ancestors, who were much more interesting than I’d thought. My publication record for these pieces is scant, but I persist. At first, I had to go to libraries or historical societies and do battle with microfilm machines. Now I can do most of my research online, from my home office.

So when the newspaper database I use added two decades of issues from Muncie, Indiana, I set aside some time to search. I already knew a line of my…

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