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?

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