Thursday, October 31, 2013

Family History Month Wrap-up

Busserach, Switzerland
I am wrapping up Family History Month and the month of October by taking all the notes from my recent Family Tree Tours trip to Germany and Switzerland and putting them into Scrivener. If you are unfamiliar with this writing program, I posted about it a while back. While I tried to stay organized on the trip, sometimes I made notes in a small notebook because I didn't have my iPad readily available, but there are also notes on the iPad. In addition I emailed home almost daily, and I tried to post frequently on my other blog. So I want to pull all of those things together and have them in one place. It is easy to copy and paste the documents into Scrivener, and then I can go back and remove any duplicate information and clean things up. Once I have done that my plan is to go back and do a little research on the towns and the historical buildings I visited so that I can add a little more "meat" to the story of my trip.

photo book cover
I have almost completed the photo book I am preparing about the trip, as that will be a nice way to give my family and friends an overview of the experience. I know for a fact that none of them want to see and look at all 2,000+ photos that I took! But for myself, I want something that will be more comprehensive. What the end result of that will look like, I am not sure at this point. Once I determine how long it is, I will figure out if it just remains in Scrivener or sees the light of day as an e-book or print book.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Family History Month

Did you know that October is Family History Month in the United States? A resolution was introduced by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch on September 12, 2001 to designate October as Family History Month. Following the September 11th attacks on the U.S., the words of the resolution resonated with Congress. "We look to the family as an unwavering symbol of constancy that will help us discover a future of prosperity, promise, and potential," the legislation read. "Interest in our personal family history transcends all cultural and religious affiliations." It passed by unanimous consent.

Family History Month is a great time to begin collecting and writing your family stories. I think most of us listened to the tales of our older family members when we were children, and rolled our eyes at having to hear the same story yet again. But now, how I wish I had the opportunity to hear it told once more! Take advantage of the time you have with living relatives to ask questions about what their life was like when they were younger. What kind of family life did they have? What was school like? Where did they work? What did they do for entertainment? How did they meet their spouse?

I have begun to videotape my relatives as I interview them, for a couple of different reasons. First of all I am not distracted by trying to write down every word, and second I have documented both the face and voice of the person telling the story. Later I can select parts of the story to include in my written narrative.

But whether you decide to write the stories or record them orally, capturing them ensures that the people and events in your family will not be forgotten by future generations. Most people think that their lives are boring, that no one would be interested in what they have to say. But we each have our own unique experiences to share. Everyone has a story - are you writing it down?