Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cars, Cars, and More Cars...

Little did I know, when I chose the topic for the 45th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, what a delightful challenge I created for myself. "Cars as stars of our family history" is a topic I've been wanting to write up for a while now. It's information that I am intending to include when I get around to writing up my family history as a printed publication. I've been mentally tinkering with how I might present the information in my book for a while now.

I started out thinking I might just write an overview article and maybe include a photo or two. But where to start? I could start with the first car in the family, my maternal grandfather's Model T, but where would I go from there? I don't know anything about any of his other cars and my paternal grandfather never owned a car.

So then I thought I'd start with my dad's first car and work my way forward in time. But I don't know much about the cars my dad owned before I was born or when I was a baby. Fortunately, we were invited to my brother's house for Easter dinner and that gave me the opportunity to ask him about the cars in our family (he's older than me). He was very helpful and together we put together a chronology of sorts.

The more information my brother shared the more questions I had (you know how that goes ;-). Some answers he knew, some he didn't. When I got home, I jumped on the internet and started doing some searching. The more information I found the more questions occurred to me (you know how that goes too ;-). For the past week I've been busy researching the cars in my family's history and now I have enough information to write an entire book on the subject! LOL!

I looked up each model of car our family owned and was surprised and delighted at how much information was available about them. From paint chip colors, to official Auto Show photos... technical specs to collector's club tributes, I found it all and spent a good bit of time reminiscing while I was at it. I don't have many family photos with cars in them, in fact I only have two from before 1980. I know, terribly sad for a gal born in the Motor City who grew up in the home town of Henry Ford isn't it? Why did no one think to take photos of the cars in our family, myself included???

So now I have all this information but I'm still not certain how to present it. It's definitely too much for one overview article but I don't want to write a whole book about it either. At this point I'm thinking it will be a chapter of my family history book with photos of each model, a brief memory or two, some basic information about the model, and a few specs thrown in for good measure. This is the kind of information that I think will really appeal to my descendants reading the family history in the future. It's got me excited! Can you tell?

That brings me back to writing for the April 4th edition of the COG. How do I choose what to write? I've been giving this a good bit of thought and finally settled on writing up the story of my first car and including a scrapbook page showing all the models of cars owned by my family. The problem with that is, the photos I found on the internet are too low-res to use for scrapbooking. So I'm going to have to write up the story of my first car for the COG without the scrapbook page and will make it my photography project for the summer to go out and find and photograph restored models of each of my family's cars. Sounds like a great photographic challenge to me!

Stay tuned!

Here's a list of the cars my family owned up until the time when I moved out and started a car genealogy all my own...

1949 Ford; 1953 Olds Super 88; 1954 Cheverolet Bel Air; 1959 Chevy Impala; 1960 Chevy Impala, 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle; 1966 Chevy Impala Super Sport; 1967 Olds Cutlass; 1968 Ford Fairlane; 1968 Chevy Nova; 1970 Ford Maverick; 1973 Olds Omega