Chicken or the egg?

What ignites the storytelling fuse for you?

Frances Moore and James Needham in the 1800s

Something in a photograph inspires us to search for some sort of secret.

Crowdsourcing stories is something that I’m becoming quite familiar with. Using Ponga Pictures as the fuse to sizzle it’s way into the memories of my family has been perfectly successful.

Having reached out to my tier one and tier two relatives , siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, with invitations to the storyboard albums I’d created, I’ve experienced pure unadulterated joy. The comments, remembrances and reconnections have been beyond amazing.

Then… I remembered Myrna.

And the fuse was lit!


old woman sitting in a chair with a cane
Mary Ann Shier - the shared ancestor

Inside every genealogist is a storyteller waiting to be set free

When I first embarked on my family tree journey over 18 months ago, I started with a free family tree collaboration site. All I had at the time was an old faded Xeroxed copy of research done by a cousin, 2 x removed, back in the 1980s.

As I poked around for my ancestors, a contributor’s name kept popping up, Myrna. I unashamedly reached out to Myrna, as I do…I knock on doors…and low and behold Myrna and I share a 3 x great grandparents, we’re actually 3rd cousins.

When and how to reach out with an invitation

It made sense to reach out again, to invite Myrna to my growing family story. Following the best practices that I knew worked, I went “a knocking” again.

Not only was Myrna at home, but she RSVP’d to my invite pretty much straight away.

She needed no assistance or directions on what to do to access her guest invite, I’d covered off on the process in my pre-email to her. By the time I knew it, she was my registered guest and was Ponga-commenting like a true Pongster and well into it.

I enjoy pushing Ponga, making it stretch it’s creative boundaries

I’d uploaded a jpg image of pages from that faded Xeroxed family tree from the 1980s. That was the image that ignited the story for Myrna, not a photograph.

She went one better, clever Myrna. As my personal guest, she isn’t able to upload images directly to the album I’ve shared with her, but she had no problems what so ever understanding how to upload an image in the comment section. And what a story she shared.


man and woman in 1800 dress, portrait
James Needham and Frances Moore - perhaps an engagement photo

Sometimes it’s the egg

Since this interaction, Myrna has sent through this wonderful photograph of my 2 x Great Grandfather’s sister and her husband. Myrna’s direct ancestors. Now, that wonderful photo is ready in my Ponga album for more storytelling magic to be written.

The journey is about the story.

A document, words and dates on a page, are what expand on the storytelling, while the photograph will always remain the true characters.

Be my guest, and do as Myrna did… explore and comment.

Click on this link and we’ll get that invitation to you.