Record Your Family History: (Do It Now Before It's to Late?)
Get Interested in Your Families History
How much do you know about your family, your immediate family, your extended family? Do you know how and where your parents lived? Do you know how your grandparents lived?
The time to find out about your family history is now before it is to late and those who can answer all your questions are gone. Who you are is all about where you came from. So if seek to know more about your family history here's how you go about getting the answers you seek.
Get out a pen and a notebook because you're going to want to write everything down. Next it's time to visit some relatives.
First, Seek Older Living Relatives
The first and best way to track your family history is to go right to the source, your nearest living older relatives. Sit down with them, have a beverage of choice and talk. Ask them as many questions as you have come to mind, then sit back and listen. You might be amazed by the stories you hear., the things you learn about your family.
Most older relatives want you to pick their brains about what they call the good ole days. A lot of older relative won't freely give out details about their lives because they figure nobody it interested enough to listen. The truth is they want to talk. I learned so much from dad about our family and it was only because I asked him questions. So again, take the time to sit down with you relatives. Ask as many questions as possible. As you' go along your questions will spark more and more memories. They'll enjoy the company and the talking.
One word of warning though most family members will talk faster than you can write and they don't like to repeat themselves.It might be helpful if you take along small tape recorder may be in order to get all the details you can.
Another good source for finding out information about your family lineage is to use sites like Ancestry.com to research your family history. This site offers many options for entering you family name and then researching the name. There are only two drawbacks to the site.
One you have to pay for a yearly subscription and the second you can only go back as far as the information the site draws from. Still if you don't mind the fee you might be surprised by some of the things which turn up.
Other Sites Like Ancestry.Com
While Ancestry.com is the most well known of the genealogy websites there are a couple others you may use in doing your family research.
My Heritage.com is like Ancestry.com in the fact that they offer you a free trial but once you get to a certain point in your research you will have to pay a monthly fee.
Genealogy.com - Is a branch of Ancestry.com You can look of family tree info but for more detailed work you can use Ancestry.
A good article on finding other genealogy websites can be found at Family Tree Magazine.com
You probably don't like them, especially those of you who are young, but family reunions can be a good source of information about your family. Think about it you have quite of number of older relatives in one place at one time. It is a veritable treasure trove of family information.
You will find at these events one family member will love to give up the dirt on what your parent or parents were like as a children. As before it might be a good idea to record your conversations and then transcribe them later when you have the time to listen and write.
You could also ask someone at a family reunion if someone has put together a family history binder containing information about your relatives. If so ask to borrow the binder or get a copy for you to look through.
Start Now Before It Is To Late
A family history is always great to have around. Right now you might not find it to interesting but as family members pass away you will find yourself browsing through it to remember what it was like back when.
The key in remembering those who have passed is to have as many memories written down as possible, including old photos and stories. But when they are gone it will be to late, so start now and talk to as many relatives as possible. Happy hunting.
Books on Writing A Family History
Writing Your Life - Putting Your Past on Paper by “Lou WIllett Stanek PH.D. Is a book of prompts which are primarily geared to getting to write about your own life. The prompts can also Be used to ask other family members about times in their lives.
How to Write Your Family History: If you don’t do it who will? By Katie Funk Weibe is a book I read in preparation for rewriting this article. It is full of useful information like how to together the puzzle of life into a cohesive family history and much more. i highly recommend the book as a starting point.
Old Friend Form Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg. I read this book a number of years ago and like Writing Your Life it is primarily a book about writing your own history. Still, the principle ideas in the book will transfer over to someone trying to record a family history.
These next few books I haven't read but are highly recommended reading.
How to Write Your Own Life Story: The Classic Guide for the Nonprofessional Writer by Daniel Lewis
Writing The Family Narrative by Lawrence P Goldrup
You Can Write Your Own Family History by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack
Family History Poll
Have You Ever Traced Your Families History
© 2012 Timothy Whitt