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How Do We Organize Our Family Memories?

Where do we begin when discovering and documenting our family history and tree? If we start our search on the internet, there are hundreds of web sites on the topic. Some of these sites suggest we use questionnaires with older family members to discover interesting family facts and stories.

How Do We Organize Our Family Memories?

Jeanne Hansen is the author of My Life, My Family, My Memories. Her book has helped countless people record and organize their family memories. You can find out more about her book by visiting her website: http://www.mylifemyfamilymymemories.com

Where do we begin when discovering and documenting our family history and tree? If we start our search on the internet, there are hundreds of web sites on the topic. Some of these sites suggest we use questionnaires with older family members to discover interesting family facts and stories. These may focus on lifestyles, such as, how many miles they walked to school or if they listened to the radio with their grandparents, laughing to “Amos and Andy”, or watching a black and white television. Other questionnaires focus on medical histories, looking for genetic predispositions to certain diseases, such as cancer. Some articles inform on how to research our ancestors as far back as possible, including military records, and the dates of immigration to the United States. Some articles suggest that we video tape our grandparents, so we will have living memories of family history.

What happens when you have much of this information? What will you do with all of the photos and data? How will you organize it? Will you put the photos and papers into a box for the generations who will follow? Will you self publish a book or write an online blog of your family history? Will you look on the shelves of bookstores, or online for books to “connect the dots?” Are you able to create a photo album with sufficient information for your children and grandchildren? How do we find time to sort out everything that we would like to save and share?

Definitely, this is a personal decision. We also have the option to put all of these memories into one place. We can document stories of our lives and family, to include some photos in a Memory Book that also contains a family tree. The remaining photos and documents, such as the military records of our grandfather, can be scanned into our computer and onto CD’s. We can have family videos saved on DVD’s. Some information will be too sensitive to put online, but we can save it all in a memory box/photo box, along with our CD’s and DVD’s. We can include our Memory Book in this photo box to summarize our lives and that of our family. If we make a point to include as much medical history as possible, it will be even more valuable for our generations that follow.

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