Document your Family Stories

You have defined your family and begun to share your family history. Wouldn’t it be great to capture that history and all the stories that are part of it, so that future family members will be assured of having it preserved for them?

Here are some ideas on ways to capture it.

Build a family tree.

If you or someone in your family has already done some research, build a family tree. There are a multitude of products and services to use for both the research and the documentation.

  • Use (fee based – but if you have access to a public library you may be able to use their services to look things up).
  • This site allows you to build your tree online and make it public. It also has products you can buy – such as family tree posters or self published books on your family.
  • Use Family Tree Maker (software to organize your information) or a similar package
  • Use free and for fee web sites such as family lobby

Ways to gather story material.

Define a family role of ‘Historian’ and have that role write down the stories that are told at family gatherings or meetings.

  • Define a family role of ‘Recorder’ and have that role electronically record verbal stories at family gatherings.  Use your computer or the libraries or copy shops to scan in old letters and post cards that may have family stories on them.
  • Build a web log or forum online and let all family members contribute their stories to it.
  • Formally interview the older generation family members, using video or audio taping to capture the interview.
  • Have each family member write an autobiography to share with the family group and future generations.
  • Write a play and perform it as a family tradition – each new generation taking on roles in their turn
  • Build a book of stories (maybe editing it so that the stories told uphold the family legacy) and publish it electronically or in print.
  • Remember to use pictures or illustrations to go along with the stories.
  • Keep the documented stories in multiple copies spread throughout the family members and store a central copy where all members can get to them.

Be safe with information stored online where it could be accessed by non-family members.

Sources include:

” How Important Is Your Family Legacy?” by Linda Weaver Clarke September 04, 2009 As published in The American Chronicle


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