Call for Stories: Family Ghosts

Photo from “Hours with the Ghosts or, Nineteenth Century Witchcraft” by Henry Ridgely Evans, 1891

Are there ghosts in your family’s stories? Do you have a relative who enjoys telling a tale of the unexplained, an ancestral home that seems to hold some trace of the past, or another family mystery that you just can’t seem to lay to rest? We want to hear your stories! Your submission may be featured on the blog in an upcoming post this October.

Submit Your Story

Though not everybody believes in ghosts, most of us know—or are related to—someone who has seen something they can’t fully explain. There are also practical ways in which the past can haunt the present, through the stories, objects, and mysteries our ancestors leave behind. Family history is its own kind of ghost story: a record of those who have died, what happened to them, and how their legacy continues to live on in the present.

Of course, for family historians, uncovering the verifiable truth where possible is mission-crucial. But another aspect of family history lies in preserving the stories which our ancestors pass on, true or false, as an honest reflection of their priorities and personalities. (Jeff Record recently explored this idea in his post about verifying a family celebrity encounter.) The ghost stories we pass on to the next generation contain information about the fears, hopes, and beliefs of the people who came before us.

And, not for nothing, ghost stories are lots of fun to tell and retell.

Please submit your stories via the survey at Please do not submit your story in the comment section of this post, as it may be lost. Submit using the survey to ensure that your story will be read.

Submit Your Story

About Thomas Grebenchick

Thomas is the current editor of Vita Brevis. He writes copy and creates media for use across American Ancestors' digital platforms, and assists in communications strategy. He has been part of the digital communications team since 2017, having originally come to American Ancestors/NEHGS as an intern and freelance writer. Thomas has experience in writing, web design, and digital marketing, and holds a B.A. in English from Brandeis University with a concentration in creative writing. He is interested in genealogy as a method for understanding how ordinary people lived in the past, and as a way to contextualize one's personal relationship with the history of America.

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