5    Jul 20113 comments

Memories: Start recording them!

Do you want to begin recording your family history, but just don't know where or how to start?

Or, have you been researching your family for a long time and are now experiencing writer's block?

This post may help everyone interested in recording family history.

Many researchers want to do more than just record names and dates. What we'd like to do is "add meat to the bones," or flesh out our ancestors as we learn about them as individuals.

Amy Coffin of the WeTree genealogy blog has organized 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, which offers a weekly prompt on a different topic.  Readers can also access this list at Geneabloggers.com.

We think that this list is as valuable for recording your own life for your future descendants as it is for those considering interviewing older relatives.

It doesn't matter if you start in the middle of this list, at the end or at the beginning. The essential thing is just to start.

How you record your answers doesn't matter:  Use "notes" on an iPad, a document on your computer,  write your ideas longhand in a leather-covered journal, an ordinary school notebook, or on plain white paper. Just begin. However, recording them in a nice journal that can be passed down through the generations seems a good idea to us.

As you start recording this information for yourself - and that notebook may become a prized possession for a great-grandchild in the future - you will find more information useful when you interview senior family members.

It is also a great suggestion for your family members at your site at MyHeritage.com. Ask your relatives to contribute their own memories of a topic each week.

I've included a bit about my favorite stuffed animal - in the toy category - but you'll need to read on to learn about Wolfie!

Some warm weather topics:

Week 27. Vacations. Where did your family go on vacation? Did you have a favorite place? Is it still there? If not, how has the area changed? July 2-8

Week 28. Summer. What was summer like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc. July 9-15

Week 29. Water. Do you have any memories of the sea or another body of water? Did you live there or just visit? July 16-22

Among other topics: New Year's memories, winter, cars, home, favorite food, radio and television, toys,  technology, sounds, disasters, illness and injury, movies, sweets, spring memories, sports, restaurants, pets, weather, bedroom, fame, commercials, books, clothes, neighbors, songs, employment, grandparents, dinner time, nicknames, smells, weddings, road trips, earliest memories, hobbies, least favorite foods and more. Click the link above to see hints for each topic.

Each week focuses on a topic that everyone can relate to in some way.  What was your favorite song? The least-favorite food (spinach?) that your parents forced you to eat? What do you remember about your neighbors at different stages of your life?

Did you have a favorite toy or stuffed animal?

Since, we are writing about this as suggestions, it may be time to share some of my own. In a blast from the past, there was my favorite stuffed toy and longtime companion, a wolf - named appropriately - Wolfie, with longish legs and arms (do stuffed wolves even have arms?) . I remember dragging him around by an arm. No wonder one of them fell off!

Now that I am thinking about him, I remember he was basically brown, wore a red vest and - I think - yellow short pants. He went everywhere, on a long train ride to Florida, car trips to Niagara Falls.

Eventually, an ear disappeared, that arm fell off and his stuffing began to come out in clumps. My mother made emergency repairs, but finally it was time to retire Wolfie. It is strange, but for a stuffed animal that went everywhere with me for a very long time, I cannot remember when or how old I was when he vanished from my life.

Whether we are talking about our favorite winter memories, a favorite toy or song, or even our childhood neighbors, each topic helps us think about certain aspects of our lives.

It isn't just for professional writers requiring ideas to keep going, but will help all those interested in family history organize their thoughts, ideas and information.

Do check the links above and begin recording these personal aspects of your life.

We'd really like it if you would share some of your memories with us as comments below.

Search for your ancestors:

Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Thanks for spreading the word!
  2. I would like to have news about my family coming both lines, from mother and father from western Europe, i.e. Spain, Germany and France.
  3. I wish I could recover information about my ancestors who came from Spain, Germany and France.

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