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:
Voices from the past are an integral part of family history. These voices may come through in diaries or letters written by ancestors.
Today, however, there's another way.
To put it another way, every story matters.
Individuals can record interviews with relatives, friends or community members via the non-profit StoryCorps, which has scheduled its third annual National Day of Listening on Friday, November 26, the day after Thanksgiving.
The Day encourages Americans to follow a new holiday tradition which promotes listening and understanding to share their stories on the day following Thanksgiving, which itself is an essentially family-oriented holiday.
Participants use equipment found in many homes, such as a computer, mobile phone, tape recorder or even pen and paper.
To learn more click nationaldayoflistening.org for a free instruction guide with equipment recommendations, suggested questions and ideas for preserving and sharing interviews.
Of course, another great way to preserve your family interviews is on your own MyHeritage.com family site, so all your relatives can them.
Imagine preserving an interview with your grandmother that would be available for future generations to hear.
“In an era of fierce political and cultural divides, we hope that the idea of listening to one another during the holiday season resonates with many Americans,” says StoryCorps Founder and MacArthur “Genius” Dave Isay. “Through our National Day of Listening, StoryCorps hopes to remind Americans of all stripes how much more unites us than divides us.”
Although a US-based day, the idea is certainy appropriate for people in all countries around the world and - as an additional benefit - encourages talking about family history and connecting families, which is exactly what MyHeritage.com is all about.
Although the Day of Listening is celebrated on the day after Thanksgiving, you can record family members, friends or community members on any day of year or in connection with any holiday.
Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants. Each is recorded on a free CD to share, and is also preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (Washington, DC).
The project is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind.For more information, or to listen to stories online, visit storycorps.org.
Have you recorded interviews with any of your relatives?
If you have a senior relative, remember to record them as soon as possible so that interview will be preserved. This is truly voices from the past!
Who have you recorded? Where and how have you preserved that interview?
Let us know via comments to this blog.
Journals and diaries are excellent resources for family history research.
Don't you wish your ancestors had recorded their daily lives and thoughts in a format that has come down to you as a treasured keepsake through the centuries?
I know someone whose ancestor left a journal written several hundred years ago. The writer describes the family's everyday life in difficult new surroundings, how they celebrated holidays, the writer's wishes for her descendants far in the future and much more. It is as if the writer knew it would be treasured and passed down through the generations, as it has been. It is a priceless heirloom.
Put yourself in the shoes of a great-grandchild who finds your journal. What do you think will interest him or her? What is happening in your life now that you want future generations to know about? Do you want to include advice for future generations?