When most people think of “Historical Fiction,” they think “dry recitation of facts with a fictional twist.” Or, for the romance readers, they think “fictional romance set in historical times.” Historical fiction is a wide genre with many different shelves from which to choose your favorite flavor of history, as well as your favorite flavor of fiction, whether it be paranormal, ancestry, romance, and more.
John had a different vision. He wanted his family’s history to read like an adventure, one that encompasses his family’s historical, biographical past with their struggles and joys, while filling in the blanks with what he believes in his heart is true to the spirit of his family and their Roman Catholic values. He did his best to capture that wonderous feeling of adventure when creating the first chapter, An Cinneadh, or in English, The Decision. He wanted Patrick and Mary’s story to be a vivid glimpse into the past, showing their excitement, love, and the trials and tribulations they faced when they decided to leave their beloved Ireland and sail to Boston, Massachussets.
Then he decided to focus on one “character” from his family’s past. He chose his paternal great grandfather, Michael J. Murphy—Patrick and Mary’s son—and Our Immigrants’ Son was born.
When John Francis Patrick Murphy began researching his family tree, he was not prepared for just how much he would discover about his Murphy forebears—or just how much the story of his family’s early years in America would inspire him.
Based on his teachable research strategy, Our Immigrants’ Son is a full-hearted celebration of family as told through the story of the author’s Irish-American great-grandfather, Michael Joseph Murphy.
In 1845, Michael’s story began when his parents Patrick and Mary immigrated to America from misty Ireland, undertaking a dangerous ocean voyage across the Atlantic. Born three years after arrival, Michael grew up in what would be a tumultuous period in American history. At sixteen, he would enlist as a private in the Civil War. In his forties, he would become the police chief to Lawrence, Massachusetts, and its quickly growing population of immigrants who, much like his parents, came to these shores desiring a better life. And at age sixty, he would become the chief inspector to the Lawrence, Massachusetts textile industry during a time of great labor unrest.
In addition to a compelling look at Irish-American life in nineteenth-century New England, Michael’s story—which incorporates elements of prose poetry, which is a creative conjecture to bring the era and its dilemmas to vivid life—is meant to be an exercise in teaching you how to write your family’s story. Part two of this book shares how this story went from research project to completed narrative work, providing step-by-step writing strategies, ideas for where to begin your own research, and how to make the process rewarding and creative for you and your family members, both now and through the many generations to come.
Everyone has a rich history, whether your family has never left your home country in their extensive memory, or whether you’re descended from an immigrant to another country. Wars were waged and joyous occasions broke up the devastation. Whether you believe in the same values and religious teachings of your forebears, or if you have forged your own, there is a story there.
You just have to pick your protagonist.
Will you write your own personal story, or will you write about your ancestor’s life or the lives of many? You can sprinkle historic facts in with your personal story to make it a vibrant tale. Or, you can add your own narrative to that of your great-greats. The possibilities are endless, and John wants to help you get there.
By using ancestry sites, historical records from the library or historical societies, and numerous other avenues, you can gather the facts to get you started. And if you’re unsure of where to start, John is open to teaching. He offers workshops, lectures, and is open to the idea of one-on-one or a small, intimate group teaching sessions.
If you want to do it on your own, John has a workbook in production to help you achieve your family ancestry goal, no matter what it is—a fun, historical story for future generations to share, or a historical account of your family tree just for you.
Whatever your ancestry-related goal is, John can help you get there. After extensively using professionals, libraries, scouring newspaper clippings, and digging through old family albums and treasure boxes of family photos and heirlooms, John has solid, knowledge to share, giving you a firm grasp on what to do first, and leading you through what to do thereafter.
All you need is drive, motivation, and a clear idea of what you want. Everything else, let John hold your hand and guide you.
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Life is Filled with Adventure!
“Our Immigrants’ Son tells my story with a unique combination of known facts, historic fiction and prose poetry. You can do that too. I’ll show you how, no matter what “family” means to you.”
“Part One of Our Immigrants’ Son serves as a living example of how I turned my family story into a work of creativity and inspiration, while Part Two is exclusively dedicated to showing you how I went from research project to completed narrative work. I provide step-by-step writing strategies, ideas for where to begin your own research, and how to make the process rewarding and creative for you and your family members, both now and through the many generations to come.
“I firmly believe you have an inspired family story to tell. Now let’s tell it.”