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How To Start Your Family Story - Get Started Today

Updated on August 30, 2017

One Smith family, attending a wedding in Oregon, a number of years ago

Source

Start with brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles - got pictures? You have stories!

FOR YOU, the important lesson I want to share is that getting started with YOUR FAMILY STORY is something to do TODAY - whether you are young, medium, or later in the aging process. Take pictures, talk to your family about their stories and their lives, now. Write them down, record them, if they are not.

Many people today are worried that young people are not getting involved in their family history. But, we are MAKING our family history, every day. Frankly, if we keep it simple enough, young folks will love family stories, and pass them on, as well. When they do, down the road, they will continue to have interest and dig back into further family history stories and details.

This lens is the confluence of an IMMINENT Quest and the Story Telling emphasis I have been reading about at RootsTech 2013 this past weekend in Salt Lake City. RootsTech is an annual conference of technology and genealogy folks to share and learn together - something like 7000 people converged for that conference.

NOTE: You do not need to go back many generations to find GREAT family stories... that is the point here! ;-)

Read on to learn more about "How to Start Your Family Story" now!

All the photos in this lens were taken by me or on my camera - like this one, since I'm in it! ;-)

Michael Maglio shares "The Story is the New Metaphor"

What do you think? Interesting stuff... Will new technology make it easier?

Family Stories on Amazon - Here are a variety of aids to telling family stories that may be of interest to you and yours

BECAUSE EVERY PICTURE HAS A STORY TO TELL Vinyl wall quotes family lettering ...
BECAUSE EVERY PICTURE HAS A STORY TO TELL Vinyl wall quotes family lettering ...

Which of these do you find most useful? How would you use them?

 

My father and his siblings

1954 Dad's siblings
1954 Dad's siblings | Source

Aunts and Uncles on the Smith side

These were the aunts and uncles of my Dad's side of the family - their kids were my Smith first cousins. I didn't spend as much time with them as I did with my cousins on Mom's side. Did you find that to be true, as well.

Does this remind you of stories you should be telling your kids about your first cousins and family connections and relationships? I hope so. This is how we get them started, and keep them going.

Do you have a family photo like this? I'll bet you do. These really get us going. Do/did you children know all your aunts and uncle? Are they all still living? Do you have photos of each of them? When and where was the photo taken? What do you remember, if you were there?

No spouses, here, but they are important, as well.

And, one more thing!! Front right is Irene. She never married, had no children. She helped in many ways with her brothers and sisters, her nieces and nephews - but, she was very sensitive about not have her own descendants. Be sensitive to these concerns as you tell your stories! ;-)

Do you and your family share family stories? - Do your children know what you and and your spouse do for a living?

Do you have a good understanding of the lives of your parents? Their brothers and sisters?

Share your thoughts, in the comments!

Does your family regularly share stories about your family, now and in the past?

My wife's mother and her siblings

Aunts and Uncles - my wife's mother's side of the family
Aunts and Uncles - my wife's mother's side of the family | Source

Aunts and Uncles - My Wife's Side of the Family

When we say "Family" - who do you think of?

Theses are my wife's uncles and aunts - and her mother, of course. Did/do uncles and aunts play important roles in your life? A photo like this, sitting down with young people, for instance, can start a long story telling session, just talking about what you have done with them, how the acted and treated you, about their children, etc.

Their children are/were your first cousins. First cousin stories are normally rich and often fill a life-time of story telling. What first cousin story of yours do you think of first?

Amazon Spotlight Personal Review - 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories - Don't feel confined to just telling stories - there are many sharing venues and forma

13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories (2nd Edition)
13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories (2nd Edition)

This Updated 2nd Edition was recently released, just FOR YOU. Available in Print and in Kindle Editions. Very affordable for your family!

 

And the little ones in our family - the grandkids and their parents - making new stories at the lake

And the little ones in our family - the grandkids and their parents - making new stories at the lake
And the little ones in our family - the grandkids and their parents - making new stories at the lake | Source

Family Scrapbooks on Amazon - Some people tell their stories through scrapbooking. How about you?

Family Scrapbooks: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Family Scrapbooks: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Are these the ones you can use? I love the titles... I think you will like them lot!

 

All three daughters were much younger then

My family in early years
My family in early years | Source

Our family in the earlier years

The little one seems a bit shy. That went away. Above, you already saw her with her husband and our two grandchildren, in Austin, Texas, on a weekend outing by the lake.

See, there is a story in every photo. And quite a few in-between.

This photo was taken in Baton Rouge, LA, visiting a brother of my wife - one of those uncles to the kids... And, they have seven of our kids' first cousins. Talk about a few stories. They are all grown with children of their own, too, now, of course. More stories.

Halloween costumes on display

My family in Halloween Costumes
My family in Halloween Costumes | Source

Our family in costume

I included this photo image to remind us all that these kinds of family photos - they always have stories - sometimes great, sometimes just interesting.

This was when I was in the Iowa Governor's office, and the Halloween Costume Party was at the Governor's Mansion. Unforgettable memories from the event - and surrounding circumstances.

What was your most memorable costume party?

What was your most memorable job?

Family stories all around! ;-)

Anniversary celebrations are great times to gather family stories

Maternal grandparents and sibls
Maternal grandparents and sibls | Source

Maternal Grandparents with siblings

As I chose photos for this lens, I just couldn't pass this one because it shows a family where some are there, some are not - some live in other states and missed this 40th Anniversary celebration. Some, and some spouses, are already deceased, of course.

This is more typical than the photos where "everyone is there."

Again, more stories to tell. Do your children know where all your sibs and aunts and uncles? Even those who live in another state? Do you know where they all are, and what they are doing? What are their interests? What 'turns them on' - 'turns them off?'

Family stories

Families are Forever! ;-)

Maternal Sibs and Spouses - Mom's Parents on 40th

Maternal family on 40th
Maternal family on 40th | Source

A 40th Wedding Anniversary Celebration

This is a fun photo, on its own - but, when little Cindy slipped in there, on the left, it really made it gem! Agree?

On Mom's side, these are the aunts and uncles - parents of first cousins that I grew up with. They are now scattered across the country, of course.

Uncle Buzzy and his wife, Colleen, on left, are still with us and reasonably active in their 80s - having many, many great-grandchildren as we speak!

Leo and Ida, on the right, are in their mid-nineties now, recently celebrated their 75th Wedding Anniversary, and seem to be doing fine! [As I update this, Leo and Ida will celebrate their 77th on October 17, just 11 days away…]

Talk about family stories. My Mom and Dad, and Grandpa and Grandma, have all been gone for many year. More stories, some lived long, some far too short. Do your kids know all those stories?

Family Photos as prompts to Great Family Stories - You have them, too. Make the most of them

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Dad on the right with all his sibling. 1954.40th Anniversary of my Maternal Grandparents with a few brothers/sisters of each.Mom and Dad with her parents and brothers and spouses on parents 40th AnniversaryOur youngest daughter, her husband, and their kids, our grandchildren.Our three daughter, all grown up, with us, at a Portland wedding of one of those first cousins!Our family when the girls were young.Halloween Costume party at Iowa Governor's mansion when our daughters were young.My wife with her parents and five siblings, early on.That's me on the left, with my parents, and four younger brothers.My mother-in-law, on left, with her four sibs
Dad on the right with all his sibling. 1954.
Dad on the right with all his sibling. 1954.
40th Anniversary of my Maternal Grandparents with a few brothers/sisters of each.
40th Anniversary of my Maternal Grandparents with a few brothers/sisters of each.
Mom and Dad with her parents and brothers and spouses on parents 40th Anniversary
Mom and Dad with her parents and brothers and spouses on parents 40th Anniversary
Our youngest daughter, her husband, and their kids, our grandchildren.
Our youngest daughter, her husband, and their kids, our grandchildren.
Our three daughter, all grown up, with us, at a Portland wedding of one of those first cousins!
Our three daughter, all grown up, with us, at a Portland wedding of one of those first cousins!
Our family when the girls were young.
Our family when the girls were young.
Halloween Costume party at Iowa Governor's mansion when our daughters were young.
Halloween Costume party at Iowa Governor's mansion when our daughters were young.
My wife with her parents and five siblings, early on.
My wife with her parents and five siblings, early on.
That's me on the left, with my parents, and four younger brothers.
That's me on the left, with my parents, and four younger brothers.
My mother-in-law, on left, with her four sibs
My mother-in-law, on left, with her four sibs

This lens earned Purple Star March 26, 2013 THANKS! ;-)

This lens earned Purple Star March 26, 2013 THANKS! ;-)
This lens earned Purple Star March 26, 2013 THANKS! ;-)

Your Comments are Appreciated! - Thanks for stopping by! ;-)

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    • ReviewsfromSandy profile image

      Sandy Mertens 3 years ago from Wisconsin

      I have a few family stories on my other accounts here. This is very nice with the photos and family stories.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 3 years ago from Kansas

      I enjoyed the photos. Photos are sometimes neglected by some genealogists. Family stories are what brings all of those names and dates to life. I agree that if you haven't started, it is something to do today. I've been working on mine, since my grandparents were alive, and don't think I'll ever be finished.

      Hope people take your advice. If this page just inspires one person to start their family story, it was worth the time to make.

    • Lynn Klobuchar profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 3 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      You have assembled quite a few lenses to sharpen our "focus," sir, and I thank you.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      I'm glad you got a purple star for this, well deserved. Finding out about ancestors is really great, although not so easy to find information.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @darkflowers: Thank you. Sharing about family is fun! ;-)

    • darkflowers profile image

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      What a great Lens and lovely photos, thank you for sharing your family story, I enjoyed it a lot. Sweet old memories are like treasures!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @Aunt-Mollie: You are very kind... It was a work of love and appreciation! ;-)

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      You have a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing so much in this article.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @Ann Hinds: Thank you! ;-)

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 4 years ago from So Cal

      I have lots of photos and lots of stories. Congratulations of the purple star.

    • profile image

      storytimesam 4 years ago

      Great lens... enjoyed.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @rkhadija96: It certainly can be... but much, much more! ;-)

    • profile image

      rkhadija96 4 years ago

      Can turn out to be a great hobby !

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @siobhanryan: Thank you, very much! We should each celebrate and share our family stories. ;-)

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 4 years ago

      Great lens-you have a lovely family

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @hmommers: Thank you. That is very nice! ;-)

    • profile image

      hmommers 4 years ago

      Great lens! It goes splendid with my Life Album lens, so I have put yours in the sidebar there :-)

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @DefinitionLife LM: Thank you. Raising awareness is my goal. It worked! ;-)

    • DefinitionLife LM profile image

      DefinitionLife LM 4 years ago

      This was inspiring. I normally am too busy worrying about now to think how important it is to keep a record for the stories. I love hearing the different ideas.