There is no time like the present to record your family history or personal history. If there's anything we've learned during the pandemic, it's how fragile life is. We all want to be remembered for our contributions and to honour those who've passed before us. Each of us has our own memories and perspective of our personal experiences and our family history. Recording those memories now will make sure your point of view is saved for others to understand.
Benefits of recording your family history include:
Perhaps you would like to discover more before you record your family history. I can help you with that. In my role as genealogist, you can consult with me or I can do the research for you. In the course of discovering, it is important to record the information on "paper" (either literal or digital) and organize it for easy access.
Ah, yes. If you're like me, you've been researching for years and you have piles of paper that you've printed out and notes and information from other people, original documents and photos, photos, photos!
Me too. When the pandemic started, (I know, we all want to forget about the worst of that period) it occurred to me that I had mountains of paper and files, folders, and photos somewhat organized. But...God forbid that I got sick and the information would be left to my kids to sort out. It would be too overwhelming for them and they wouldn't know what was what. I know what would happen to it: dumpster. They can't see the value in something that is not organized and clear. And maybe they're not yet at the stage in life where they are interested.
In 2020, my organization project began in earnest. I'm partial to binders over folders. Here is what part of my system looks like now.
The binders on the upper shelf are dark blue and represent my mother's side of the family.
The lower shelf holds black binders which represent my father's side of the family.
The beautiful caligraphy names were created by my daughter with her cricut.
Although I still keep paper files, all my documents, photos and trees are also digitized and organized on my home computer and saved to the cloud and large genealogy websites. Digital files are so much easier to share.
No matter your position in life, your economic situation or career, your life story has value in helping people know who you are, what experiences you've lived and survived and how you have found love and joy and grown through the years.
It's so easy to tell your story orally, to talk to me and I'll transcribe it for you (put it in writing), or help you put it in another format that can be easily shared.
Nell Shill, (my grandmother), the youngest Shill daughter who immigrated to Montreal in 1908, left us an oral history with stories about living in Montreal through the important events of the early 1900s. She shared stories about the family's homes, jobs, education, church and community involvement, Montreal transportation, entertainment and social life and marriage. Her story is a piece of social history.
When I hear her voice, I am reminded of the strong, energetic, bold woman that she was. I am proud to be her grandchild and to have been influenced by her. Thanks to my brother for recording her story on video.
Wouldn't you love to give that to the grandchildren you love or even the descendants you haven't met yet? Leave them a taste of who you are.
Jim Waddell, my grandfather and the future husband of Nell Shill, arrived as a 22 year old, in the spring of 1921. His upbringing in Glasgow, Scotland, and experiences as an Imperial soldier in World War 1 formed a foundation for his future in Canada. Unfortunately, those experiences were not recorded by him in his own writing or voice. He did save much memorabilia from important life events and he took many pictures which give a glimpse into his life. I treasure these mementos.
A 78 rpm record remains on which he recites a poem and tells a joke in French. This is the one and only recording that I know of where I can hear the sound of his broad Scottish accent. You can listen to it and read along here.
How I can help you discover your family history, record it, and share it with others?
Do you need help gathering your past research and photos together and organizing them so they won't be lost when you're no longer here? Digitizing them? Saving them to the cloud? Creating a shareable book of your best images and the stories around them?
Do you want to put your family stories together in a book or document with or without photos?
Do you want to tell your own and your family's stories? Have them written out and save them for your family?
I can help you!