Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Published Author---- Who Me?

It was the week before I left for my trip to Kentucky when I received an email from Don Rightmyer at the Kentucky Historical Society. He told me that my story about Simon Pryor of Grayson County Kentucky would be the lead story in the Summer issue of "Kentucky Ancestors". This highly respected magazine is issued four times a year from the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, Kentucky. I felt honored and very surprised.

In February 2011 I had submitted several stories about my Kentucky ancestors. These were the usual "Pat Johnson" style, lots of stories but no sources. My philosophy had long been that my descendants probably didn't really care where I got my information. I usually write for my family so I don't really document anything.

I know, this is the genealogists worst case scenario, but I figured if my descendants are at least twice as smart as me (which they are) they will find the sources themselves. That is, if they are interested someday. However, Don Rightmyer replied that "Kentucky Ancestors" does not accept stories or articles that don't have endnotes that follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition.

Oh dear, I knew someday I would have to figure out how to do it right, and here it was. I could have just forgotten about it, but it was a challenge, so I decided to give it a try. I spent a weekend studying past "Kentucky Ancestors" to find the correct formula for various types of sources. Don had marked my Simon Pryor story for me so I knew how to fix the grammatical errors, but the sources were a bigger challenge. Actually it was a fun weekend, fun that is if you are into that sort of thing.

Finally, I was satisfied that I had everything as good possible, so on Monday morning I emailed the story back to Don. He was so very nice and kind and told me that it looked good. He said he would send it on to the review people that make the final decision about what appears in the magazine.

I more or less went about my usual business and didn't think much more about "Kentucky Ancestors". It was a fun exercise and I figured that was about the extent of it. That was until Tuesday, July 26, when I received the email from Don Rightmyer. He said he was sending me some complimentary copies of the Summer issue. Of course, they would not arrive before I left for Kentucky but that didn't dampen the mood of the day.

On Friday, August 5, I made my first visit to the Kentucky Historical Society. I did the usual looking in the library stacks and vertical files. Then I went to the area that holds the reading material for guests. I can't tell you what a thrill it was to see the Summer issue on the rack and I quickly picked it up and read my story.

During my three weeks in Kentucky I gathered so much material I can write stories for a long time. I can assure you though, there will never be a bigger thrill than seeing my first published story resting on the magazine rack shouting "Read me, read me". I can only hope Simon Pryor and Susanna Morgan are smiling a bit to know they are no longer unknown.

I have already heard from another descendant that read the story and requested some material. I have sent it to him, and with pleasure, because that is what it is all about. Ah yes, I can not imagine not being a genealogist.

Please note, most Public Libraries subscribe to Kentucky Ancestors so these magazines are available to read there. It's the best thing for those of us that are Kentuckians at heart. patj

1 comment:

Amy Coffin said...

Congratulations on publication! My own library (Clayton Genealogical Library in Houston) subscribes to Kentucky Ancestors. I'll be sure to take a peek next time I'm there.